He didn't get where he is today by stealing somebody else's catchphrase.

Ball & Chain

I don’t have antlers, nor do I plan on growing a pair - so why have I just had a stag weekend? Surely I’m not getting married?

I am - and don’t call me Shirley.*

But wait! Why decide to celebrate my impending loss of freedom in such a grandiose style? You know me as a grumpy fuck, after all. I’ve never been a party animal by any stretch of the imagination and I loathe nightclubs with a passion. I’m known for actively shying away from major social events - so why consider going out in a blaze of glory now?

Because it’s tradition, bucko. Deny your friends the chance to see you in a pool of your own vomit, chained to a lamp-post with a policeman’s hat covering your dignity and you deny yourself the chance to enact a similar revenge come their freedom wake. It’s what’s got to be done.

Our species has done this for many a year - our genetic material dictates that this is what we should do, a bit like those fish that swim upstream only to land in a polar bear’s mouth - even if it’s a lot of fannying around for an outcome that can be easily achieved with a bottle of your poison of choice and a darkened corner. I’m usually too pragmatic for all those social pissings. And lazy.

But this time is different. I’m celebrating.

If you’d told me five years ago that I’d be getting married again, I would have laughed in your face. I would have gone “HA!” in a very Pride & Prejudice manner, that would led you to have been suitably taken in by my appropriately dismissive style. Oh yes, once was enough thank you very much. I got the t-shirt for that one and now I’d like a refund. That one didn’t fit too well.

But then something happened - or should I say someone happened - my first true love. Don’t tell me you didn’t have one, because I’d have to go “HA!” again, and now you’d just find it annoying. You don’t forget them in a hurry, do you? Course you don’t. We’ve all had one and they’re probably etched on our memories somewhere, except this time I’m reunited with mine. Nearly twenty years after we were first together, we’ll be marrying. If I were to tell you the full story, you’d need Simon Bates on hand with a copy of the Our Tune music, along with a box of Kleenex - and not for the reasons you’re thinking of, pottybrain, girly stuff. Love and shit.

So, whilst you’re engaging in whatever weekend activities you’re engaging in, spare me a thought, because I’ll be getting my ball and chain fitted. But you can know that I won’t be protesting, it won’t be under duress and I won’t have any scars after the event.

And if you’re the soppy sort, it might reaffirm your belief that if you wait long enough for something, you might just get what you want - a happy ending.

* This is a joke that only works when you don’t write it down. Call it an homage.
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