Monday, 1 August 2011

The stag night, the greedy pig and the stripper's hammy

There comes a time in many a young man's life when he decides to settle down, tie the knot and put his footloose and fancy free days behind him. But before arriving at the altar and proceeding on towards the dubious attractions of matrimony, there is that tortuous ordeal to navigate popularly known as the stag night, or if you prefer, the buck's night or bachelor party.

For reasons now lost in the mists of time, no stag night is regarded as complete unless the services of a stripper or two have been engaged, preferably those armed with a fearsome array of unfeasibly large marital aids and sporting assorted exotic costumery. Unseemly consumption of alcohol is de rigueur, and apparently it behooves one's (soon to be former) friends to conceive an array of puerile pranks with points awarded for cruelty, imagination and potential to ruin the wedding photos.

Now in these days of legalised brothels and above-board sleaze, when every other corner seems to boast some cheekily named sex shop or naughty knickers emporium, engaging the services of said strippers is no doubt as simple as letting your fingers do the walking. But back in my day, which is to say the late 80s, one had to be somewhat more circumspect, not least since the Fitzgerald Inquiry into Police Corruption was drawing to its scandalous tall-poppy-lopping close.

A more apt name for this painful ritual would be the lamb's night, for the hapless groom is led like a yearling to the slaughter, not knowing precisely what cruel fate lies in store but instinctively fearing the worst. And so it was that a passel of rowdy journo mates and assorted other friends and family members rounded me up after work late one afternoon and whisked me off to some watering hole in the hilly Brisbane district of Paddington to spend a couple of hours forcing toxic cocktails down my throat while working themselves up into a frothing frenzy.

Once suitably lubricated, we adjourned to a nearby house - whose, in truth, I have forgotten - and amid much smirking, nudging of elbows and digging of ribs, settled down to wait for the main attraction. We didn't have to wait long. The suburban evening's slumber was rent by the banshee shriek of a police siren at full volume, as up into the driveway, Starsky and Hutch style, an unmarked police 'Q' car screeched. There was a shockingly loud rap on the door, and it opened to reveal a more than passably attractive if not particularly convincing Queensland police constable in full dress uniform, hat jauntily cocked and fearsome truncheon raised.

Obviously tipped off by some shameless snitch, PC Prod made a beeline for me, jabbing me back towards the sofa with each exaggerated thrust of her truncheon. 'You are under arrest,' she barked, 'for being a very, very bad boy'. She then launched into a routine which could charitably be described as erotic. In my addled state, somewhere between anaesthetised and traumatised, I seem to remember truncheons boldly going where no truncheons had gone before, amid persistent attempts to separate me from my trousers. Her come-hither stride was only broken when a particularly high kick ended with a painful cry and her collapse to the floor. Alas, the star turn had pulled a hamstring. Gathering the shed remnants of her uniform, her truncheon, handcuffs and whatever was left of her dignity, she hobbled off stage left, into the arms of the unamused, burly boyfriend who had suddenly appeared on the scene. Through my haze, I noted fistfuls of dollars being forked over and the irate bodyguard assuaged with generous tributes of booze.

Of course that little setback didn't mark the end of the proceedings. Oh no. There were more pubs to be crawled before the grand finale, which involved me being blindfolded and shoved off the edge of Mt Coot-tha then being being stripped and tied to a tree in the middle of Toowong Cemetery - a popular spot at the time with satanists bent on practicing their dark arts. My 'mates' then abandoned me for what felt like hours. And though I didn't end up a human sacrifice, I can report that some sick bastard pissed all over my legs.

End of story? Not quite. One blabbermouth recounted the injured stripper saga to the newspaper's gossip columnist, who obliged with a lewd snippet the following day. Next thing we knew, the newsroom was crawling with anti-corruption officials determined to get to the bottom (and presumably other parts) of the matter. For it transpired that while PC Prod may have been ersatz, her boyfriend and minder was anything but. In fact, he was an on-duty detective, using his police vehicle not to pursue criminals but to ferry his nubile young charge to stripping gigs all over our fair city.

We held our tongues. The cop lost his job. And presumably the stripper's hammy eventually healed.


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