There were twenty of us, all women, aging from about 24 to 84. We were sitting in a semi circle, mojitos in one hand, pencils in the other, and large drawing pads on our laps. Nineteen of us knew what was coming. The twentieth – the 'hen' – could only imagine what was going to happen next, and why we all needed a drink in our hand.
Suddenly there was movement behind us. Our heads swivelled as we watched a young man, firm, toned, tattooed and completely naked except for a small sarong tied at his waist walk into the room. The hen tried to be invisible, but her veil covered in small plastic penises gave her away. The male model stopped in front of her and propped his foot up on her chair. Nothing suggestive about that.
The hen's grandmother who was sitting in the next chair laughed uproariously and the rest of us nervously took another sip of our drinks.
We were at a hen's night. Obviously. We had brought our own champagne and mojitos and were waiting for the great unveiling. It had been a while since I was at a hen's night, and this was like no hens night I had ever been to before. It's true, there was male nudity, but there was also art. Or at least, we pretended it was art.
I don't think I can put the full frontal pictures on WeekendNotes, sorry
The Artful Hen runs the 'ultimate life drawing experience' for hens nights, birthdays and girls nights out. Actually boys are welcome (if you want them), and in some states there are female models available as well. But back to the great unveiling.
The model handed our hen the corner of his sarong and asked her to pull. He walked backwards away from her, unravelling his nudity as he went. Grandma laughed again, and clapped.
The two hour classes are structured so even if you are bereft of natural talent, you are taken through a series of drawing exercises designed to free up your creative juices. And any other juices. It's not just sitting and staring at a naked man for two hours (though I supposed you could if you wanted.)
Each party has a chaperone/art teacher, and it is her job to direct the drawing exercises. Phrases like 'I want to see more genitals, ladies' would often erupt from her lips, and I was surprised how many of us totally avoided drawing that particular section of his anatomy until we were forced to!
We were regularly told to stop and refill our drinks and the model was confident and chatty. I thought he was going to ask me to put my camera away, but instead he asked me to take lots of pictures and please, could I put them on social media. Okay, if you really want me to.
The final exercise of the night involved us all working on multiple pictures – at regular intervals we were asked to move around the room, working on someone else's picture, until we returned to our own chair. It meant that if you were a dodgy drawer then a better drawer might be able to fix it up. It also meant you completed a full 360 degree rotation of his nude beauty.
At the end of the evening, the hen can choose her favourite picture, which the model (and the rest of us) then signs for posterity. One for the fridge perhaps. Not sure what her fiancé will think about that…
This is a great night out. If you're a bit 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 brilliant idea.
In Melbourne, the Artful Hen can come to your house or any other location you elect, or if you prefer, the classes are held in studios in Prahran on Chapel Street. 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 11am to 9pm.
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). All the sketches you do are also 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.