A few days ago I had cause to email the following sentence to an acquaintance:
“I would rather be bent over by Rolf while burning myself alive than ever get involved in any kind of fancy dress.“
I’ve managed to reach 37 years old without ever having to wear fancy dress. As far as I know I never wore fancy dress as a child – not so much as a spaceman costume to Richard Knightley’s ill-fated 7th birthday party or a white sheet on Halloween.
It staggers me that grown adults feel the urge to dress up like patients on day release from the local IQ-deficiency ward. If someone could explain to me the fascination with making oneself out to be a cowboy or a centurion or fucking Cleopatra, or some similarly tragic character from times we’ve long moved on from for the good of the race, I could perhaps understand why I’m now being asked to dress like a fucking Frenchman for the stag weekend of a 38-year-old man.
On a Friday night, in fucking Newcastle no less. I’ll just start punching myself now, save the locals the bother.
Clearly there’s something in the make-up of specific cretins that demands people pay them attention. Personally, my imagination works perfectly well without me having to actually become Batman or a Power Ranger. I can well imagine what it’s like to be shot by a Canadian hunter without having to dress up like a grizzly bear. No, I will not wear that Hawaiian skirt and do a little twirl for you just because GO ON IT’S A LAUGH.
It’s parenthood, mostly, I know that – parents who get little or no attention from anyone because their children have become everyone’s entire life consider one day a year dressing up like a fucking vicar to be their quite literally God-given right.
But those of us without the need to be pointed and stared at, then laughed at and kicked shitless in turn, shouldn’t have to be roped into such an appalling parade of childishness when trying to celebrate the end of a man’s freedom in Newcastle on a fucking Friday night. Some of us want to dress normally and get alcoholically strengthened so there’s at least a slim chance of surviving the first round with the half-naked nutter who spills our pint and then demands we buy him one for unwittingly dripping it down his effortlessly sweating beer-gut.
The groom in question is half French, which is what makes the whole thing so thoroughly hilarious. Not for the groom, obviously, who has already threatened to leave the moment anyone produces tying-up material to go with their dressing-up material. Last year on a stag weekend in Dublin, another poor bastard spent the entire day dressed as a leprechaun, only to be told his evening’s endurance involved dressing up like a female leprechaun. With two simple words – ‘Fuck that’ – he sat and remained implacable. He will forever be my hero, perhaps more than the best man, who decided to wear the outfit in the groom’s place to the bewilderment of many a congratulatory Dubliner. “Someone’s got to wear it”, he said. Do they though?
This debacle has so far cost me £20 as I’ve had to change my train to Newcastle to a later one, to avoid three hours of ‘oh go on you have to join in go on’ from friends of friends I see once every six months. I’ll likely have to find a way to fuck off somewhere that night with whoever else refuses at the first, and if it ends up just me so be it. It might sound out of order but it’s not as out of order as making me dress like a comedy Gaul in fucking Newcastle on a fucking Friday night. I already have to wear your stupid ‘shirt and shoes’ combination on the Saturday, that special outfit that gets people into places in the extremities of the UK where they’ve yet to establish that what you wear doesn’t relate to how likely you are to smash the place up come 3am.
There’s an episode of Seinfeld where he winds up having to wear a puffy, piratical shirt on live TV, and he’d really rather not. His “But I don’t wanna be a pirate” is one of the funniest lines of the entire show. I feel his pain like a blade to the calcaneal.
And whatever happened to the word ‘fancy’? Didn’t that used to mean posh, or refined in some way, as opposed to ‘like a cunt’?
I received a reply to the email.
“Right chaps, we’re gonna go with the French man theme for the Friday night. If we all get navy or black stripey tops and beret, we can pencil moustaches on (or you can grow your own Dan!) Apologies to Chris who would rather have intimate relations with Rolf than dress up, but we’ve got to do it.”
But I don’t wanna be a pirate.