Carnage. Utter carnage.
My healthy, non-smoking, gym, swim and cycle lifestyle (which lasted 2 weeks) got exchanged for three days of cigarettes, booze, drugs, zero exercise, a series of unfortunate incidents and ABSOLUTELY NO SEX.
We were bound for Newquay, a Westcountry town that, for the uninitiated, tries to make amends for all those Spanish and Greek places we've blighted with hordes of blind-drunk Brits vomiting freely down their ancient cobbled streets. And we've succeeded. Newquay is the Stag and Hen Capital of Britain, a once-pleasant land of pasties and pensioners, now boosted by enormous cash injections from drunks in fancy dress.
Not having to go to work on Friday was beautiful, tempered only by the fact that I had to wake up an hour earlier so I could get to Balham where Garry picked me up, followed by Luke and Hippy Dave.
We rolled into Cornwall some six hours later and claimed our rooms. Mine was in a chalet with some guys who had yet to turn up. Fortunately, we were early enough not to be stuck in the claustrophobic, spider-laden barn. That evening, we'd all made merry in a local pub, then had a meal nearby. The evening was spent sat on the beach at St Mawgan, where we made a huge fire.
It was slightly odd to be on a stag party on an admittedly beautiful beach at sundown, the nearest woman about three miles away as we drank cans of Carling while the stag played guitar. Part of me, about 89%, wanted to be surrounded by girls and doing stag-like things, but this became oddly moving and memorable; standing on the beach miles from the group as the sun set and the tide rolled in; not being lumbered behind a desk and in front of a monitor; feeling completely relaxed for the first time in months.
In fact I was so relaxed, I was able to calm down relatively quickly when I accidentally plunged my left leg into a waterhole and drenched my sock and shoe. I was so chilled that I accepted my fate with good grace and squelched back, becoming so laid back and at peace that it took me a full THREE MINUTES to curse god and everyone on Earth when a few steps later, I deposited my remaining dry leg into another hidden pool of water.
Back at the fire, I attempted to dry my trainers and socks nearby while I pranced barefoot in the sand like a free spirit; a fat, barefoot free spirit who did drugs off flattened beer cans and trod on a rusty nail. To take my mind off the pain, I tended the fire. I was the only one who did out of about 15 men who were gazing into the flames like entranced arsonists. I grabbed hold of a door we were burning to move it into a better position. In doing so, it took at least six seconds for my brain to register that the fingertips of my left hand were being burned on the scolding wood. As the deeper nerve endings of my fingertips felt the tell tale signs of cooking, I screamed out and stuck my hand into the sand which seemed to cool it. I also had to hold cans all night, as just a few seconds of lone hand time was unbearable.
I spent the night alone in bed, my fingertips coated in Ibuprofen gel.
We went surfing the following morning, except I felt generally lousy, so I bowed out. Following a shower that felt as if my left hand was made of leather, I instead went to the pub with Christian, the stag's brother, and exchanged bawdy stories until the others ran out of the sea extolling predictably how amazing the whole experience was while they shivered like neglected Chihuahuas.
We downed barbecued burgers that afternoon outside our accommodation. I managed to keep up with the starved metabolisms of those who went surfing and readily stuffed myself.
By the time we trussed the Stag up in a Swedish flag dress (his bride-to-be is a Swede), wore our stag t-shirts and accompanying blonde moustaches and plastic Viking hats, I felt awful. This could've been the food, or my sunburn, as I had managed to irradiate myself despite the lack of sun. I spent the journey to Newquay with my head out the window.
I last threw up twelve years earlier. I was damned if I was going to break that record. I managed to squeeze in a couple of waters among all the Snakebite and Blacks, and avoided eye contact with the angry looking locals in Bertie's Fun Pub. By the time we got to the heaving Central bar, I felt marginally better. The few women that were there - some vamps in black, a gang of angry looking cavewomen who I had initially mistaken for men in drag - were cute enough, albeit in short supply. It turned out that stags seemed to outnumber their female counterparts 4-1.
Later on, I found myself with another naked woman bouncing on my leg while I meekly whimpered 'I read the Guardian, you know.' It didn't help that the section of the lap dancing club reserved for private dances was pitch black. Nor did it help that she was too. £40 was spent trying to make out a barely visible nipple, although I did feel it brush against me repeatedly.
When she removed my Viking helmet and rubbed her fingers through my hair, I felt it necessary to apologise for my profuse sweating. 'I like sweat,' she said blandly.
'No you don't!' I admonished. 'No-one does!'
And as if to prove my point, my new friend avoided rubbing my hair from then on in.
In female terms, Sailor's nightclub was torture. In stark contrast to Divas a short while earlier, all the women were back to being characteristically indifferent, but then perhaps there were simply too many men to contend with that the distinctly average wouldn't get a look in. There was zero interaction on my part - the sole angle that can make these places mindblowing - and of the two or three women I liked the look of, I was no more noticeable to them than the wall.
That said, our group seemed to be having one collective ball. A hardcore group never left the dancefloor. At least it was easy finding people - all I had to do was look for the horns. When we were all thrown out at 4am, I was completely sober. I had been pestered all night by one of the guys for cocaine, and had spent all night lying that it had run out - mainly because this was an awful place to do it, combined with ferocious provincial bouncers, and the fact that he has a tendency to yell 'THIS IS SO SEEDY' when you're doing drugs in a filthy toilet.
Post-club and back at the safety of the house, I was liberally racking up what remained of my narcotics in the toilet when he burst in and demanded some. I was still chopping up when he lost patience and began to urinate between my legs. I froze in terror and anger as I looked down and saw a violently swaying stream between my thighs, a stream that wasn't emanating from my penis.
Predictably, he pissed all over my jeans.
Nothing on earth, and I mean nothing, can quite hammer home the fact that you are single and 34, yet again indulging in Class A's to fill the empty chasm of your existence with some illegal perceived fun, while a drunk friend urinates on your ankles.
So that is the last of the carnage stags. I have my final polite one in a fortnight, a far more sedate affair with a friend I used to work with. That will very much be a 'last tube home' Stag.
And then, maybe, when all this is over, I'll find a nice woman, settle down, and grow up.
Or not. And not for wont of wanting.