The last time I went to a hen night was 10 years ago.
The bride-to-be wore a French maid's outfit and poppers on her head. She was well known for her inability to hold her drink and, after lorrying into numerous vodka and cokes, she went to the toilet and never came back. After about 20 minutes, a couple of us went looking for her.
There was some detective work required (ie standing on a cistern and looking into the cubicle), but we eventually found her asleep, her head between her knees and her poppers looking decidedly the worse for wear. The barman was not pleased at having to unscrew the lock on the door to get her out.
Patsy's hen night was a more sober affair. During the Celtic Tiger she had oft mentioned that if she ever did have a hen night it would be in Las Vegas, the highlight being a Celine Dion concert in Caesar's Palace. We didn't get to Caesar's Palace. Instead, Josie booked the Royal Palace, where you could eat all the Chinese food you wanted for €20. Maggie and Patsy ordered four starters just to be going on with.
Patsy was in her element as she held forth on the merits of her future husband. Gnawing through honeyed spare ribs she extolled his virtues as a chef. Pouncing on the duck pancakes she lauded his attributes as a full-blooded man . . . It was as she was motoring through her chicken satay that she started to cry. As she licked the peanut sauce from her fingers, tears rolled down her face like a biblical deluge.
"What's wrong?" we all shouted. Blubbing like a baby, she blew her nose into her linen napkin before shouting, "I'M SO HAPPY!"
And so it continued. She bawled her way through her chilli prawns. She sobbed her way through her Singapore noodles. All the time, her mascara was running down her cheeks like black-bean sauce. The staff kept asking if there something wrong with the food.
Eventually, the owner came out to see what the fuss was all about. "She's getting married," we explained.
"I cheer up," he said, pointing at Patsy. He returned carrying a huge karaoke machine. He then launched into a version of Suspicious Minds, gyrating his hips like a pole dancer with arthritis.
He had a voice like an angle grinder. It wasn't long before we were all crying.
"I'm so happy!" Patsy cried over the din. At least she was.