I HAVE NO PROBLEM with the ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour’ mantra. Myself and my friends go away regularly and, while we have a great time, we would never get up to anything that would get us into too much trouble," says Melissa Walsh, presenter with the radio station Beat 102-103.
It’s in reply to the question of whether the code of honour — ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour’, sometimes referred to as the Lambay Rules — applies to women as much as men. That if anyone behaves naughtily while away with the girls, nobody at home gets to hear about it. It used to be that women were seen as having a civilising effect on the men in their company, and that it was only when away from women that men misbehaved.
But the question is whether women are now equally likely to let their hair down when away from the lads, and then keep schtum about what they got up to when they return to the fold.
Continues Melissa: "We would definitely have a laugh, engage in harmless flirtation and probably end up drinking too much. The flirting is usually done in the hope that it will get us a free drink. It's all very innocent, but we get a great kick out of it."
And she says: "A lot of my friends are quite settled at this stage, so when we go away, they would always let their hair down. Our view is that no one knows us, so we can get away with a lot more than we would when we're at home.
"And what's wrong with having some fun and flirting with the handsome guy at the bar? It never goes any further than that, but it's a laugh at the time," she says.
Having a bit of fun and unwinding is, after all, what a gals' weekend away is all about.
Especially with the amount of stress women in their late 20s and early 30s find them- selves under -- whether it's organising a wedding, working long hours in the hope of promotion, or juggling a young baby with a demanding job.
But is it all just harmless fun and flirtation at the end of the day, or could it all be different in a sunny climate after a few vodkas?
Anne Sexton is sex columnist with Hot Press magazine, and feels that whether women do or don't tell tales about what happens when they are away from home depends on a group's closeness, and womens' attitudes to fidelity.
Anne says: "Yes, I do think that 'what goes on tour, stays on tour' does apply equally to girls' holidays.
"Yet, having said that, I think it does depend on the 'culture' of the group and the nature of the friendships."
She goes on: "If there is a belief in the importance of fidelity within the group, or if there are personality clashes between friends, or one-upmanship in the group, then there is a good chance that gossip will get around.
"However, if it's a group of close friends, everyone will keep quiet," she says.
So, if a friend annoys you, are you more likely to divulge their stolen kisses with an Italian waiter on the Amalfi Coast to their possessive boyfriend?
And can relationships crash on the shores of recrimination following a drunken flirtation on holiday when a friend turns into a frenemy, and maliciously lets the cat out of the bag.
Life coach Tracy Ryan says: "It's a really hard one because while people travel within a group, they are at the same time individuals, and will have their own moral compass.
"I can see there might be a bit of flirtation but it is still, I would think, uncommon for a woman to leave her group of friends and go off with someone. I mean, think of how women group together when away, it would be hard for any man to infiltrate a group of women to begin with.
"And because it is still so uncommon, I can see a woman pulling up another woman on something like that.
"I feel it would become an issue between friends if one did behave a certain way while away. But would she tell her friend's partner? No, I don't think it would go that far."
Tracy adds: "I wonder how much of this 'what happens on tour' attitude is really a matter of bragging. It adds a sense of mystery and intrigue to what otherwise may have been a fairly straightforward holiday."
The question is whether women choose friends on the basis of sharing the same moral code.
Charlotte constantly picks Samantha up for her promiscuous behaviour in Sex and the City, but would a friendship in which two women are so poles apart actually endure in real life?
Or would real-life Charlottes be likely to drop a friend who goes AWOL or, worse still, drop them in it?
Bestselling author Anna McPartlin considers the dilemma of confidentiality -- and decides that over-spending is in fact the issue that women holidaying abroad often make a pact to conceal on returning home.
Anna says: "There are four of us old friends who embark on a city break from time to time based on a whim or upon the promise of a cheap fare.
"In the middle of a hot city we'll chat about our worlds, including our work lives, children or attempts to have children, our guilt, worries and joys.
"And we'll reminisce about the days when life was a series of nights out and hangovers were but a mere myth. And then we'll shop and when we come across that one-in-a-million clothes shop which seems to cater to all our tastes, that's when things become slightly manic.
"Out come the credit cards and a pact is made to keep the secret of our over-spending from our respective partners." HQ