I’d only been at the office for a short while on Friday morning when I received a phone call from Neil (one of my college friends). I knew he was going to be in Amsterdam for the weekend on other business and we had been planning to meet up.
“It’s already started.” He stated over the phone. It was a very strange greeting but I had a good idea about what he was trying to say.
“We’ve only just landed and we’ve already had our first drink.” There seemed to be a slight tone of worry in his voice.
He was in town for a stag weekend. Not his own. Another of his friends (who I did not know) was getting married. Neil is not afraid of a drink or two himself so when he had told me a few days before about his worry that the weekend could get ‘messy’ I knew he was not over exaggerating.
Stag and Hen nights are a common sight in Amsterdam. Its reputation as the party city of Europe makes it the ideal place for some people to visit on their last few days of freedom. They usually come in costume and are easy to spot due to the recurring themes. Girls on a hen weekend will often dress as fairies (wings, wand and maybe glitter), Cowgirls (pink cowgirl hats) or little devils. Boys on a stag weekend will often make the stag dress up as a prisoner, a super hero or a woman. T-shirts with nicknames are also common and L plates for both hen or stag are optional.
The group Neil was traveling with had decided to stick with the classic T-shirt look as I discovered when I was later invited to join them. I didn’t know anyone else in the group and I thought I was going to end up being cast as the tour guide for the weekend. As it turned out my duty as tour guide mainly involved pointing in the correct direction when asked where the red light district was. They were happy to walk around laughing and drooling for hours on end and stop of at bars in between to talk about the things they had just seen. It was probably a good thing that we did not go to any bars I might have even the vaguest desire to return to one day but there were so many other better bars we could have gone to. However, it seems leaving the five meter radius around the red light district does violate some kind of stag law.
As the night went on and we got more intoxicated we started to get separated from each other. Neil wanted to go to a coffee shop so at one in the morning we ended up sitting in a place called ‘Free Adam’ smoking weed. This is only the third time I have done so in my whole five years of living in Holland.
After that it’s hard to say if the things I remembered happened quite as I remember them. Thinking back about it the singing bar staff was a bit strange. However, when it came to guiding us back to the hotel I knew clearly where I was going even if neither of us could stop giggling like little school girls. They had already said I could stay in their hotel room and I had no trouble falling asleep. The rest of them carried on for the whole weekend but I bowed out so I could rest and recover. I don’t know if anyone ended up hand cuffed to a lamp post or adrift on a canal raft but it is always a possibility.