I am ashamed of myself. Constantly. If I'm not doing something really embarrassing then I'm thinking about something embarrassing I did in the past. The confusing thing is I'm proud of being ashamed. All those times that I've let myself down and looked stupid will either have entertained someone else or made someone feel better that they're not me. When you make a tit of yourself you're not just doing a stupid thing, you're providing a service. By lowering oneself we only raise others. Through my continuous lifelong display of cack-handedness and oafishness, I have become Jesus. In a way. I'm not interested in making sure that I come across as perfect at all times and I pity anyone who is. It's just not...human. When I fall on my arse, do I not bleed? Actually, that's quite a horrible image but I hope my point is clear. When you embarrass yourself it's not all about you. It's about everyone laghing at you. If you're the kind of person who, when they fall over in the street, immediately checks to see that no one saw you then I'm afraid I have no respect for you. When I fall over in the street the first thing I do is check that someone saw and enjoyed it. If there's no one there, I lie there until someone turns up. All those cock-ups? That's who I am. All your awful moments? Don't hide them. Those moments are all you. What's wrong with being you? You're alright.
But some people are terrified of being themselves.
Recently I was on a plane flying from London to Belfast. On board the plane was a very rowdy, loud and obnoxious stag party. Well, there was actually only four men in the stag party. It was more of a stag cull. Now, no one wants to sit next to a stag do on a plane UNLESS you’re the two Australian women sat in front of them who thought everything they’d ever heard in their entire lives was funny.
“HA! I might get something to eat later! Ha ha ha ha! We should land by about half eight! Ha ha ha ha! I saw the Bourne Identity. Couldn’t make it up! Ha ha ha ha!”
You could make it up. They did make it up. The Bourne Identity never happened. Those two ladies were like that for practically the entire journey. Laughing at the fact that they might take their shoes off during the flight and pissing themselves over having two lip balms with them. It’s the Mrs Brown’s Boys demographic. Laughing to forget they're dying.
Now before I pass judgement on this stag party I should say this: I couldn’t ever go on a stag night. I’m not that good at drinking, I don’t like dressing up as Wally and when I see a large group of scantily clad women all I do is worry. They’ll be freezing later. Or worse. Yes, I’m rubbish at being a stag night man but secretly so were these guys. They were clearly ashamed about not being laddy so they over-compensated. Which is bad because I think they’re probably lovely. They’re the loveliest stag do ever. Yes, they wore matching t-shirts, yes they were loud and yes they clearly thought there was some weight to those Lynx adverts judging by the smell of them but they made two incredible errors that no self-disrespecting stag do would ever let happen.
The first was when the stewardess came round with the refreshment trolly and they immediately started screaming “Lager!”. Keep in mind that all four of these guys had that spikey Northern Irish accent that ALL Northern Irish men fake when around other Northern Irish men. It's somewhere between a shout and a shriek. Like the sound of two barcodes arguing.
“Four cans of Stella there, love. No. Eight. Eight cans of Stella”.
Oooh…two cans each. Such tough guys! Have you seen the size of cans of lager on aeroplanes? That’s normally the kind of can tomato puree comes in. You are NOT hard.
“Two cans of wife beater each!”
THEY'RE TWO REALLY TINY CANS! Your wife won’t even get a barbed comment.
Even though they all had their cans of lager, these so-called lads still couldn't stop shouting. “Stella”, they shouted. "Stella!"
Hang on, they’re quoting A Streetcar Named Desire. These hard-as-nails booze machines have seen the film A Streetcar Named Desire.
“That was a fucking good play that”.
Holy shit! They're quoting the PLAY A Streetcar Named Desire.
“I saw it at the barbican a while ago, so I did”.
“Aye, sure, I was with you, you big bollocks”.
“Uck, fuck, right enough. So you were, like. Fucking Frances O'Connor was brave and good, now. Fucking hard role to fucking pull off”.
Please get them on Newsnight Review.
“I saw it at the Barbican and I saw a wee fringe version at the Brighton Festival”.
WHAT? That’s the kind of lads they were: Lager, shouting and supporting independent theatre. Then the Australian ladies decided to get involved. “Hey, guys. When’s the sing song starting? Everyone’s really boring on this plane”.
Everyone is "boring" on this plane? What did she think we should be doing? The stewardess clearly said “Fire eating, strip poker and shark vajazzling are prohibited until after the seat belt sign has been switched off”
“Come on, lads", she continued. "Start a sing song. We’ll show these boring bastards”.
Now, what happened next was actually too much. If a bunch of Tennessee Williams fans want to pretend to be lads then that's fine but this? This was something that just couldn't be processed by something as simple and basic as the human brain. Put it this way, me and the other passengers plan to meet up once a week and talk about what happened just like survivors of plane crashes do. In fact, for a while that's what I assumed had happened. We've crashed. We've crashed and we're in Purgatory. It wasn't Heaven but it definitely wasn't Hell. It was just something we all went through until we moved to somewhere better. Or worse. One of the lager drinkin', Tennessee Williams lovin' stag night men was more than happy to assist the Australian lady with her need to liven up this terminally dull 50 minute aeroplane journey.
“Wee sing song, is it love? Get everyone joining in? If it’s a sing song you want, we’re your boys".
Then he made this noise. "Bum bum. Cha cha. Bum bum. Cha cha".
And that's when the other three stag night men joined in.
"Looking from a window above, it's like the story of love. Can you hear me?"
The whole plane froze. No one looked round. They couldn't. It was too much. And not just a minute of that song. They sang the SONG.
"All I needed was the love you gave".
"Bum bum. Cha cha".
"All I needed was another day".
"Bum bum. Cha cha".
"And all I ever knew....(Bum bum. Cha cha.)....Only you".
The song ended and everyone on board applauded. THEY GOT A STANDING OVATION ON AN EASYJET FLIGHT. Do you have ANY IDEA how tough a gig that is? But they did it. They won us over and we all applauded. All of us. Every single passenger. Except two now very quiet Australian ladettes who had just witnessed the sickest, most perverse sight in their lives.
I love that stag party and I only hope that they learn to love themselves too. If you have Tennesse Williams in your head and a song in your heart, what can stop you? Not two very tiny cans of Stella Artois, that's for sure.
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