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Saturday, 8 August 2015

Men Behaving Badly: Why Not Just Ban Stag Parties?

In today’s Financial Times I read that Barcelona’s newly-elected Mayor, Ada Colau, is proceeding to implement a policy on which she was elected: cracking down on Tourism. The voters who elected her think there are just too many tourists  - or, more precisely, too much nightlife tourism and drinking tourism:

“Boosted by Ryanair’s entrance into Barcelona’s El Prat airport in 2010, the city experienced a boom of young visitors on boozy weekends and bachelor party tours” writes the FT's reporter, Ian Mount

This is the first time I have encountered the expression “bachelor party”; I suppose it means the same as “stag party” though maybe it includes “male football fan party”. In both cases, the adjective “young” would generally be mistakenly applied. At least for their British versions, we are talking about men in their thirties, often a bit balding and paunchy and definitely not youthful. “Immature” would be more accurate.

Anyway, Barcelona should not be left to try to stop them unaided. This is a European-level problem with many cities affected and holders of British passports main culprits. We should tackle the problem at source – or, at least, nearer source. To put it simply: it should be illegal for all male groups, above a certain size, to travel abroad together and it should consequently be illegal for Ryanair or easyjet or whoever to carry them. This would be some kind of reparation for all that British male vomit on the pavements of Bratislava and Hamburg and Prague and …

Men in groups tend to behave badly. I think that is a scientific generalisation which is testable. I also think that it is true that when a predominantly male group has at least a few female members, then the group as a whole tends to behave better. Men in mixed sex groups tend to behave better than men in all-male groups. This is also a scientific generalisation which I would test by looking at the behaviour of football fans in countries where fans are overwhelmingly male (England, for example) and, in contrast, countries where females form a more-than-token number of fans (Germany, perhaps).

I have loathed stag parties and male football fan groups since I used to work, often at weekends, in European cities in the 1990s. They turned your flight into a nightmare if you happened to have the misfortune to share a plane (outwards or inwards) and they turned the city you were visiting into a nightmare too. It was just so embarrassing to be British in Bratislava or Hamburg or Prague … watching your fellow citizens incurring the disdain and contempt of the inhabitants of those cities. Loud, grotesque and pissed.

Yes, tackle the problem at source. Stop them going. It’s not Barcelona’s problem; it’s ours.

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