“Can we have your boxers?” An embarrassing line delivered with alcohol-fuelled determined composure.
Looking at the dare card still unsure of whether this request is to be taken seriously the lone vulnerable-looking unsuspecting male, who has already been assessed as an “easy target”, asks: “Are you serious?” Realising this to be the case, he calmly and most obligingly trots off to the men's toilets returning with the sought-after “treasure”.
This is the first truly traditional Hen night I have ever been to - naturally members of the Hen party who are the Hen's oldest and dearest friends have decided to supplement her original plans with Hen games and dares. Our night begins with a disastrous round of that old classic, “Mr and Mrs”. Our hostess seems to be struggling to find the correct answers - something I can sympathise with having not so long ago played this game myself; I made a legendary faux pas involving a confusion of comedians called Bernard – something I am clearly never going to live down. Enough said.
Moving on from the hotel in our 70s and 80s attire, we're a brightly-coloured brood walking through the streets of a slightly bemused Manchester in broad day-light. Our destination for the entire evening is Tiger Tiger who apparently offer reasonably priced “Big Night Out” Hen packages that we are due to take advantage of. A mere £23 gets us a two course meal, comedy show and night club “entry”. On top of this all drinks are half price until 9pm – arriving at 5pm this is surely going to be a messy night. Somehow, knowing all of this, doesn't quite prepare us for our fellow clientele.
Sitting behind us is another Hen party and on my way back from the cash machine, I spot our nemesis group - all clad in black t-shirts especially printed with the Hen's name and each reveller's, this group are also staying in our hotel and checked-in at the same time. As the meal comes to an end, the number of Hen parties around us increases. For an all inclusive meal, it wasn't bad, it's just a shame the comedy “show” is more of a trial than a treat.
The majority of the audience are rival Hen parties all decked out in their selected theme – army, princess, space, bunny, glitter... Incorrectly the compere and “comedians” all decide sex is the theme to satisfy such a crowd and the opening description of the make-up of a typical Hen night is thankfully a far cry from our good-humoured unslutty crew.
The first act has us with our heads in our hands as he delivers corkers like “Call him Mr Bond and he'll have you squealing like the slut he wishes you were.” He seems to think it's acceptable to encourage rape and paedophilia, bragging about “all the pleasure of paedophilia without the social stigma.” He considerately remembers the few male members of the audience: “Guys, one piece of advice... if you get the chance to have sex with someone, just say 'Yes' – it's the only way you'll discover what your type is” and leaves with a hearty round of applause as we all celebrate his departure.
The next act intersperses appalling sex gags with a barrage of gingerist “jokes” but is mildly less offensive. The crowd is thinning - those who can, have discreetly left. After the first act a row behind us have disappeared and another have turned their chairs to face the back wall, quietly chatting throughout - by the end of the second act, both rows are empty.
As 9pm draws near, we stock up and brace ourselves for “the piece de resistance”, presumably how the organisers of this painful “comedy” club view their final act. Three of us chip in and get two bottles of wine, a cocktail jug and a Gin and Tonic (all for £28), having to request glasses for the cocktail. Although equally as unfunny as the first two “comedians”, this final stand-up is harmless in comparison, preferring to joke about buying a locket for his Gran's Birthday engraved with “I leave everything to...” Finishing up, he gets loud cheers as his audience have been getting steadily more inebriated and are sincerely grateful it's all over.
Outside near the bar there are a disturbing number of wigs resembling my David Bowie style Labyrinth ensemble. Heading out into the dance floor, we're surrounded by girls so when the dares begin, it's hard to spot likely male victims. In the “club room” the male/female ratio is seriously unequal and we decide Tiger Tiger's “Big Night Out” presents single males with the optimum pulling conditions - before 9pm, they can generously appear to buy targeted ladies a drink without stretching the wallet and after 9pm the quantity of females wearing high prescription beer goggles is likely to be up.
Our clan manage a a drama-less evening and safely make it back to the hotel, passing the aftermath of a stabbing, without coming to any harm ourselves, although there is one casualty of the night - we do have to convince one “liability” to abandon the donated dirty pants to the floor of Tiger Tiger.