You have to feel sorry for the hen at a hen's night. Not the fact that they're getting married (hopefully that's a good thing), it's the not knowing, the anticipation of 'how well do my friends really know me', and (importantly) will there be male genitalia in my face?
Some women are probably happy with that, but for the more modest, hen's nights can be fraught with nudity. This is why a recent hen's night with The Artful Hen stood out as a great option for brides-to-be who like to look, but don't necessarily need to get up close and personal.
Sorry, I can't put full frontal nudity on WeekendNotes, you'll have to use your imagination
Our group of twenty were aged from 24 to 84. We had single girls all the way up to grandmas and everyone except the hen knew what we were doing, sitting in a circle, cocktails in one hand and pencils in the other. She was probably wondering why we had large drawing pads on our laps.
Her question was answered as a young man, beautiful, fit and completely naked except for a small sarong tied at his waist walked into the room. She may have tried to be invisible, but her veil covered in pink penises gave her away. Our nude model stopped in front of her, took her hand, and placed his foot up on her chair. The hen's nanna sitting next to her leaned in for a closer look and the rest of us nervously took another sip of our mojitos.
Before the great unveiling
Our hen's night was being run by The Artful Hen
, which promises the 'ultimate life drawing experience' for hens nights, birthdays and girls nights out. Boys are welcome (if you want them), and in some states there are female models available as well. We were simply here for a drawing lesson. It just so happened that our model was going to be completely nude.
Our tattooed lad handed the hen the corner of his sarong and asked her to pull. As he walked backwards his sarong pulled away, exposing his nudity as he went. Nanna laughed again, and clapped her hands.
The two hour classes are structured so even if you are lacking in natural talent, you are taken through a series of drawing exercises designed to free up your creative juices. And any other juices. Unfortunately it's not just sitting and staring at a naked man for two hours, though I don't think anyone would stop you if that's all you did.
You will actually learn something about drawing
Each party has a chaperone and art teacher, and it is her job to direct the drawing exercises. Our teacher would often utter phrases such as 'I want to see more genitals, ladies' and 'look closer, at everything'. It was funny how many of us avoided drawing his penis until explicitly told to.
It's not all serious and there were regular drink breaks between exercises. In between drawing, the model would cover up and chat confidently to everyone. When he initially saw me with my camera I expected to be told to put it away, but he surprised me by saying 'take lots of pictures, and put them on social media!'. Ok. Or I could write some articles and put them on the internet.
Every model will have their own rules about being photographed during the drawing sessions, so it's best to check beforehand.
Everyone is concentrating very hard
After going through various short exercises, the final session is longer and involved us all working on multiple pictures. Every few minutes we were asked to move around the room, working on someone else's picture, until we returned to our own chair. This meant that dodgy drawers were followed (hopefully) by someone with more talent to fix it up. It also meant you had a complete 360 degree view of his nude beauty. At the end of the evening, the hen (or birthday girl) can choose her favourite picture, which the model (and the rest of us) can sign. She could frame it and put it on the mantelpiece, though I'm not sure what the fiancé would think about that…
This is a great night out. If you're over having a male stripper rub his dangly bits in your face but you still like to have a look, then this is perfect. We had a number of mums and grandmas and everyone thought it was a great night. Apart from the initial unveiling it never got uncomfortable, although I imagine with a rowdier group it could get pleasantly out of hand.
In Sydney, the Artful Hen can come to your house or any other location you elect, or if you prefer, the classes are held regularly in a dedicated studio in Darlinghurst. Classes are available all week and are flexible most days except on Saturdays when high demand means there are fixed sessions running every two hours from 10.30am to 11pm. Parking is available behind the studio.
Some of our finished pieces of art
If you check the Artful Hen website, they also offer a long list of suggestions for nearby places
to meet up afterwards (or before) for meals and drinks, so you can continue your celebration.
Prices per person depend on the size of the group, but the minimum spend is $600. For a group of twenty, the price was $40 per person. If you have less than 15 people, the price is $50 per person.
At the end of the night, the model is available for a photo session. It's up to the individual model (and you) whether he is completely nude, but you can get a great memento for your hen (or birthday girl or grandma). Every picture you draw is yours to keep forever.
So if you are looking for something completely different for your next girls' night out, hens night, birthday, mothers group catch up or you just really like drawing nude people, then consider The Artful Hen, and her phallic pen.