Phrase of the day: on the town

As you may have read in yesterday’s post, I spent the weekend in Elche in Spain. I flew out to Alicante from London Stanstead on Friday morning at 6.30am and, as is often the case, my flight was depressingly full of people going away for a weekend on the town. There were two stag parties – groups of guys going away to celebrate because one of them is getting married sometime soon – and one big hen party – the female equivalent. I guess you might be wondering how I know this, right? Well, these groups are always easy to spot as the groom – the man who’s getting married soon is usually dressed up in some ridiculous costume (one husband-to-be was in a large adult nappy, the other was in a shiny pink catsuit!) whilst his friends usually have matching T-shirts of some kind or are wearing some other kind of outfits that make them easily identifiable. With the hen parties, the bride-to-be usually wears some kind of white wedding costume and her friends often have matching pink T-shirts with their names – or nicknames – printed on the back; they’ll also often be wearing pink bunny ears on their heads as well! Oh, and the other way to easily spot these groups is by how drunk they’ll be . . . even first thing in the morning!

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Now, this isn’t to say that every stag or hen party that happens here involves this kind of alcoholic excess. Far from it. I mean, a friend of mine recently had a stag party  that involved a visit to a comedy club, a very civilised evening meal and then a few cocktails in an upmarket bar. Oh, and no silly costumes or hooligan behaviour! However, it’s also fair to say that there are plenty of English people who do love a weekend away somewhere on the continent drinking cheap booze and getting messed-up! They’ll check in to their hotels, maybe have a kip – a little afternoon sleep – for an hour or two and then go out and hit the town! Technically, a night on the town could involve things like going to a show – a musical or a play at the theatre – but even if it does, it will also involve drinking. It’s just the way things are here!

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I suppose it’d be more accurate to say that all of these people were going to Spain for a weekend on the piss – or on the lash. In other words, they’re basically going to spend their entire time in the bars and clubs of Benidorm, drinking as much as is humanly possible and getting incredibly drunk. Of course, you don’t need to go abroad to have a night on the piss / on the lash – as anyone who’s ever survived a Friday night in any small English town will tell you! Perhaps because of our peculiar licensing laws, which mean most pubs still close at around 11 o’clock, we’re socially conditioned to get as much booze down as we can before last orders is called at five minutes to eleven! It often results in total carnage in the high street as all the pubs kick people out at the same time and the streets are full of drunk, angry, frustrated people!

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Anyway, as I was cursing my fellow passengers on the early morning flight to Spain, and getting increasingly annoyed at the fact their shouting and screaming and laughing was stopping me from sleeping, I started wondering how Brexit will affect all of this. If Brits have to pay to get visas to visit Europe, will they still flock to places like Spain in such large numbers or will they turn to the fading seaside towns of their own country and go and destroy Blackpool or Brighton instead? I suspect the residents of many European cities can’t wait to find out!

Want to learn more about English language and culture? Try our ADVANCED LANGUAGE AND CULTURE course this summer.

  • Are stag parties and hen parties common in your country? What do they usually involve?
  • What does a normal night out on the town involve where you live?
  • What do you think of the licensing laws in your country? Would you change them in any way?
  • Do you ever have an afternoon kip?
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4 Responses

  1. Ovsanna Storozhik-Arakelyan says:

    As for stag parties or hen parties in Russia they are just the same way as you described)))
    I wonder what BRIDE SHOWER is??? Is it the same thing as HEN PARTY but more formal???

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