Traditional Hens

April 18, 2014

As some of you know I’m getting married soon.

I’ve always had quite strong feelings about marriage. I’ve been strongly opposed to getting married. Not opposed to other people getting married, but opposed to being married myself and opposed to the idea that some people weren’t and in some countries, still aren’t, afforded that right.

But this blog is not about that.

I wanted to share some thoughts I’ve had since my ‘Hen’s night’.

We weren’t really sure what to call it, and my buddy, who helped organise the event, ended up calling it ‘Celebrating Karin’ which seemed a rather sweet way around it.

I had mixed feelings about it. I wasn’t sure initially if I needed one, but then I decided that I wanted one. Why not? An opportunity to sit with friends and drink some drinks. My friends were keen and their enthusiasm was contagious. However the only examples of hen’s nights I had ever seen were gaggles of drunk girls in New York City 80’s clubs.

The wedding is to have a Rockabilly theme so a hair and make-up person was booked to show us some tricks and friends arrived with 50’s themed food. (Devilled eggs and lavender champagne if you’re wondering).

The night was so much fun, marred only by the absence of some of my dearest. We laughed while I had my hair curled and teased and victoriously rolled. The experience of getting thoroughly ‘done up’ was fun and novel and surprisingly entertaining to watch. Even though I worried that it was too ‘girly’ for my generally down-to-earth attitude and friends, it turns out that, in this case, being ‘girly’ was fun.

But what followed was even better.

We sat around and chatted. We talked about how my buddies had met their significant others and the host show us the most beautiful photo I’ve ever seen of a bride from her own wedding day. We swapped stories and secrets and there was a feeling of openness, of sisterhood which I only experience rarely.

It’s led me to acknowledge that some traditions may appear unimportant but that their true value may only be revealed once you’re immersed in them or even after they are over.

I imagine that the bachelorette night was once one of the few events when multiple generations of women gathered to swap stories and secrets, advice, warnings (Yes hun, it’s supposed to look like that) and recipies.

The opportunity to gather with women and talk frankly about matters that are most personal are few and far between. There is something special about these spaces and they are deserving of our time, effort and almost veneration. They are sacred, not as a result of a connection with a god or gods, but because of the connection to one another in those tender conversations.

This is tradition I can get behind. I’m glad I didn’t have a wild night on the town at an 80’s club with a fake veil and other embarrassing paraphenalia. Oh I’m sure that is fun for some, it’s just not my kind of fun.

Give me the quieter conversations, the honest exchanges, the genuine connections where we can appreciate ourselves and our various journeys, truly reflecting on and appreciating all we are and have to offer.

Give me those anyday.




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