A weekend cluck-cluck-clucking

When roses are red
And violets are blue
They party, the unwed
Before their “I do”


Much to the amazement of many Exeterites: Yes, a man on a hen-do. A gay one to boot.

One group of ladies thought we hadn’t noticed so kindly pointed it out. Our shock and amazement! We needed Jägerbombs just to process it. I especially did ’cause I thought I was a girl.

It all started with a road-trip to Torquay. I’ve never been to Torquay, let alone driven there, and it’s very hilly. Very narrow. Very Jackie scream-inducing.

We arrived at her sister Tanya’s on Friday night, went to her local park to play on the slides, and had a midnight McDonalds.

On Saturday, we took a walk through Torquay and watched the coastguard helicopter rescue or practice rescuing someone out in the bay. I then followed Tanya’s car to Exeter where we checked into the hotel, left Bertie, and went back to Torquay.

Putting up balloons, re-putting them up, re-re-putting them up, setting the tables, laying out booze. 9 months of Jackie’s planning was a’coming — success or failure? She naturally assumed the latter. She’d found the joys of hen-do organising to be at the mercy of other people, and other people are annoying. Despite the months to organise themselves, they don’t. I had the same issues when organising Shaun’s stag-do. It was an absolute honour and something I would never rush to do again. I told her. I said, this was her lot in life as a hen-do organiser: a perpetual headache.

At 6pm, Jackie’s main surprise knocked on the door. It was ingenious in its meanness. Jackie had hatched a plan with Tanya’s best mate, Chelsea, to create the illusion that she couldn’t attend. (She had an actual valid reason that she could exploit.) Chelsea was very convincing, go so far as sending Tanya a ‘thinking of you, have fun’ text earlier in the day. Me, having seen an opportunity to amplify the surprise, suggested that Jackie tells Tanya that it’s a bailiff at the door when Chelsea comes knocking. Well, that’s exactly what happened. Tanya was expecting a bailiff and SURPRISE! It worked like a charm. She needed a stiff drink afterwards.

I was dreading the party games but they weren’t at all bad. Sitting on a balloon and making up shit, two things I can do. My dare, which was to photobomb 3 strangers that evening, was never going to happen. I would’ve worn the granny knickers, though.

At 830pm, all dressed in our t-shirts (mine declared my name as Throbbing Tomos), we climbed into our limo for Exeter.


I’m used to funeral limousines, a party one is a lot less sombre.

We arrived at the unfortunately named nightclub, Rosie’s. First impressions didn’t dispell its namesake. As a former nightclub manager, I understand the opening hour is the quietest. Staff costs, blah blah blah. But it does pay to have 2 on behind the bar so they can serve all the cocktails the few people are ordering. I also noticed that the spirit displays were not uniform but haphazard. I watched the lone barman stand there searching when he could’ve been helped so easily. It’s hard to take the nightclub manager out of me, especially when the venue is unfortunately named.

Whilst waiting to be served, a man who stank like an ashtray, and who arrived after us, said we could get served first. He was insistent. Very nice of him. And that group of ladies who pointed out I was gay pointed out a lot of other things because they were caring people. They wondered if Jackie realised she had knickers on the outside. All heart. They cared like knobs but you can’t take their care away.

We got served and heard that The VIP lounge (our destination) wasn’t open until 11 so we found a table and sat. We roped a man who used a torch to aid the camera’s flash into taking some photos. We should’ve asked somebody else. There was no direction. No dressing. Totally unprofessional.


On our first dance, Jackie broke her shoe and had to go to Tracy’s house to get it fixed. Tracy’s the middle sister who lives nearby. This left me, Tanya, and Chelsea, dancing and drinking cocktails. It’s a hard life.

Whilst I was bobbing to a tune, this lady in flowers walked by and slapped me. Nonchalant as you like, SLAP! It reminded me of that night in Bristol when I got headbutted by some deranged bird. I thought I recognised her and she wasn’t very ladylike. So Miss Floral heads on her merry way. Tanya got her stopped by a bouncer, and the excuse her friends came out with was, she’s drunk. Well, if she’s that drunk that she thinks it’s alright to hit people, then she has really shit friends. Their duty of care is for her and FAILURE! She should be long home. And one day, she’ll slap someone who’ll spark her out. This’ll be the same day she’ll become a victim. I can’t help but wonder if our actions can help ourselves out. Because who would be to blame when she loses a tooth?

Soon after, Jackie returned and we blagged ourselves a booth in VIP. Once up amongst those who’d paid the premium, it was clear that those we’d met downstairs were steerage. They were ruffians. All female ruffians, which I hadn’t expected. The men seemed in favour while the women were hostile. And it’s a point proved a few hours later when Jackie got hit in the face by some blonde. Twice. She didn’t know she was doing it.

But upstairs, amongst the Jägerbombs and a better class of people, we had a whale of a time. I spent most of the night flitting between the dancefloor, booth, and outside terrace. I got chatting to this lady who kept putting herself down. In like 5 minutes she made 6 attempts. I struggle to stand for that bullshit so I told her frankly that she was wrong. I’d noticed all these things about her, and by the end, she thought I was grand. A little while later, I proved I’ve still the skill with straight men. Well, I’m not called Throbbing Tomos for nothing. I even received a free Jägerbomb from the tray-lady all because of my charm.

Rosie’s may have started off on a rocky footing, and amongst the ruffians, it may have proved my slight, but upstairs it redeemed itself. It gave us all a very good night.

This was Tanya at breakfast:


Just like I’ve been saying to Jackie’s deaf ears for 9 months, the hen-do fell into place. It worked itself out perfectly.

After a little stint of not doing much on a weekend, this is the second in a row where I’ve done something and enjoyed myself. That’s balance. You need balance in everything. Unless it’s standing and you’ve vertigo migraines, then balance is overrated.

Tomos James