Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Jennie's Hens' Night 2010: She who has the biggest boobs, has the most fun

Our dear friends Thor and Jennie are getting married in June on a small island in Norway. Though we, their Sydney friends, adore them, a trip across the globe just isn't feasible (especially not with this volcanic ash business). So, of course we had to send them off with really spectacular Bucks' and Hens' parties.

I initially envisioned a marathon day of girly fun: spa treatments followed by cocktails, dinner out and an old school sleepover at a hotel suite with junk food, truth or dare and bad movies. As delicious as that would have been, we simply couldn't ask Jennie's friends to fork over hundreds of dollars for a Hens' Night. My more budget-friendly agenda went as follows: optional cocktail making class at Cruise Bar in the rocks, dinner at a dosa restaurant in Darlinghurst followed by games at my house and finally dancing at the Retro.

About two weeks prior to the party I read a brief interview with Sofia Vergara in People magazine. "Who has more fun?" People asked, "blondes or brunettes?" She gave the following playful answer that was to become the catchphrase of the night: "who cares?! It's the one with the biggest boobs that has the most fun." I found this silly quote particularly appropriate and printed it on the buttons I custom-made for the party.

Unfortunately, it was hard to notice these buttons because of the other Hens' Night accessory I forced on the girls: cheap feather boas in a rainbow of different colors. Purchased at the discount store for $4 a pop, these feather boas were itchy, but made for some fun photos. Upon bestowing each guest with a boa, I made no promises about the feathers not dyeing one's skin or clothes, but fortunately the only thing the boas shed was feathers. Indeed, our gaggle of girls was like Hansel and Gretel with their trail of breadcrumbs; we could trace our path backward by following the feathers.

The cocktail making class was excellent considering we didn't actually get to mix any cocktails. There were rules preventing us from getting behind the bar so the master bartender basically demonstrated technique while we drank. At the end we decided that 'cocktail appreciation' would be a more accurate title for the class. Still, we learned a few new tricks. The instructor explained the importance of using the right ingredients and how to spot a good bartender. He also explained the difference between Scotch and Bourbon (there is none, really, both are whiskeys, but created in certain styles named for their regions of production) and revealed that Southern Comfort is not whiskey at all, but merely a peach liqueur marketed as a whiskey. His catchphrase, though almost nonsensical, could also have been printed on a Bucks'/Hens' button: "never turn your back on alcohol."

As we were finishing up, we were delighted to see Shannon pop in with her newborn baby James. I'm not sure that he enjoyed the smell of alcohol on our breath while we tipsily cooed over him, but he was a pretty good sport about the whole thing. He patiently endured our amateur photo shoot near the bridge and Opera House until we bid his mommy goodnight.

We hopped in some cabs and made it to Malabar on time for our 7pm reservation. We devoured dosas and samosas while the other guests arrived. Jennie was pleasantly surprised to see each new face because the RSVPs were mostly unknown to her. Malabar did a brilliant job of accommodating our vegetarian and glutard diets so I was pleased in the end with this choice of restaurant. By Sydney standards it was pretty affordable and we all managed to chip in to the total bill without awkwardness and consulting iPhone apps. Someone commented that that never happens when we go out with the boys. 

The girls wandered over to Wow Cow (fro yo) and Messina (gelato) for dessert while I made a beeline for my apartment. I strung up a clothesline full of panties for a racy guessing game. Each guest bought a pair and Jennie had to guess who brought which one. If she guessed correctly, she could take them off the line, if she guessed incorrectly, she took a shot of Polish vodka. After a couple minutes of this game we learned two things: 1. Jennie believed (erroneously) that her American friends are more inclined to purchase cow-themed underwear and 2. Jennie has a mind-bogglingly high tolerance for vodka. She is from northern England after all.

We followed that with a Mr and Mrs Quiz (so sweet) and a Hen-friendly version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey: Plant a Smooch on Johnny. We took turns applying harlot red drugstore lipstick, being blindfolded and spun in ten agonizing circles before fumbling toward the wall and attempting to leave a lip print as close as possible to Johnny's own perfect pout. After taking my turn, my friends asked if I always go in for a kiss chin-first; I laughed so hard.

A couple of bellinis later, those among us with children or early mornings made tracks for home, while the energized other eight jumped in two cabs and headed for the Retro. Jennie initially vetoed the Retro idea; Michael Scott-esque trivia host "Blades" (who we see every Tuesday, but who also deejays at the Retro) was to have no part in her wedding celebrations. Who could blame her? She eventually caved to peer pressure, though, because the rest of us had an itch to go dancing. And we weren't the only hens out for a night on the town. No, Jennie was one of maybe a dozen brides to be celebrating with girlfriends that night.

Still, we had a great time sweatin' to Whitney Houston and oldies mash-ups. Jennie good-naturedly let us drag her to the dance floor where Blades is king and snap a photo of the two of them in the deejay booth. A good time was had by all and Jennie walked away with new undies so I can't complain.

Now the Bucks' Night that Mickey organized for Jennie's other half Thor, well, that's another story.

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