Posts Tagged ‘sex in dormitories’

45. Bedbugs

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Allen Brisson-Smith for The New York Times

Photo: Allen Brisson-Smith for The New York Times

Recent reports of bedbug issues in major cities (New York, Toronto, Montreal, Prince Albert — you know, big cities — etc.), stirred a faint but disturbing memory of my first run-in with the aptly named bloodsucking pests, which are as familiar to globetrotting backpackers as communal bathrooms.

It was in Amsterdam, on the last night of my buddy Mitch’s and my first backpacking trip to Europe (beenou). We were set to fly home to Canada. We’d wanted to stay at the Flying Pig Hostel ‘cuz it was recommended by an English dude we met in Prague as “the best party hostel in Amstahdaahm,” but given its bacchanal reputation, it was full. So we picked the cheapest place(1) down the street, and it was a little grimy(2), but would have to do.

Of course, we partied like rock stars that night and passed out in a fog, in our 16-bunk dorm room(1). I vaguely remember a burly, hairy orc of a man(3) drunkenly opening the dorm door to the bright hallway lights, stumbling in with a giggling wench(3) literally carrying her over his shoulder, caveman-style. Our cohabitants sneered at the light like vampires, rolled over and went back to sleep. He grunted and tossed her onto his bed, incidentally the bunk below Mitch’s. He proceeded to make it with her(3), beneath Mitch (a light sleeper to begin with), who was tossing and turning, kicking the creaky aluminum bed frame out of sheer frustration.

As white Greg Oden thrusted away, I lied there on the hostel sheet thinking: a) I hope they fucking wash these sheets well, and b) THIS is why you bring a sleep sheet — what if there are bedbugs in these mattresses?

We eventually fell back asleep, awakened by the alarm, the sunlight coming in and the disgusting stench(2) of 17 drunk people’s unconscious breathing. Always running late, we didn’t have time to shower(3); we simply grabbed our bags and rushed to the airport. On the train to the airport, I felt itchy under my t-shirt. Really itchy. I peeled back my shirt to find red little welts all over my chest. Bedbug bites. Just as I was coming home. Perfect. These were itchier than mosquito bites. It was terrible. I didn’t want to scratch them, ‘cuz I would’ve easily scratched ’til the skin broke, so I remember slapping myself constantly while checking in and going through customs.

But then on the plane, my face got mumpy and flushed. My cheeks were hot to touch. Mitch got worried, saying, “Dude, drink some water or something. You look terrible. They’re gonna think you’re an OD’ing drug mule.” It was unbearable. I asked the flight attendant for some anti-histamines(4), which she promptly brought me. I kept slapping away at my chest, arms and behind my knees. Then, my face cleared.

“Oh, the anti-histamines must be working. You look better,” Mitch said. I peeled back my shirt and my whole chest was mumpy and flushed — the rash was just moving downward. Mitch was laughing his ass off. “Sorry to laugh, man. It’s just so funny.”

Mitch later wrote, in an e-mail: “This bedbug thing is true. On our way home, Al developed some strange rash from what we think are bedbug bites, making his skin swollen and red. He looked like Woogie from Something About Mary. I was also covered in tiny bites but didn’t develop quite as painful a rash.”

In closing, I’ve compiled a list of reasons/red flags/considerations for possible bedbug encounters while backpacking:
1. Low budget
2. Second-rate hostel hygiene
3. Second-rate guest hygiene
4. Allergic reactions

- Nov. 22: It seems for some people, hostels aren’t all “dirty, noisy (or) packed with party hounds.” Jane E. Fraser of the Sydney Morning Herald explains: Youth hostels: how the dorm became the norm

33. The Need to Masturbate

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

“Pssst.” No response.

“Pssst. Are you sleeping?” Still no response from the bunk across the room. He’s asleep. It’s go time.

While the need to flush the lovepipes during a long trip may be more urgent to men than to women, I’m sure the ladies must pleasure themselves from time to time in shared-room settings. Whether or not they can be as stealthy doing it, I have no idea. I suppose that means yes, they have been.

Many a real man has admitted to jacking off in the hostel shower (see 20. Getting “wubes”). Makes sense. If you’re traveling with other people, the shower is one of the few moments of “alone time” you get in the day. Although I enjoy that method (particularly if it involves conditioner), I’m simply more of a lie-down masturbator.

And I don’t need to explain how pleasuring yourself is, ironically, more of a selfless act than a selfish one. For me, it’s simply because I am an extremely dangerous person if I try to wait out a wet dream (haven’t had one since 1997). I’m looking out for the safety of others. As Chris Elliott’s character, Woogie, exclaimed in There’s Something About Mary, not “flogging the dolphin” before a big date is like “going out with a loaded gun!”

spacey

Discreet self-disarmament, however, can be tricky during group travel. While the scene in American Beauty, where Kevin Spacey spanks his monkey laying beside his sleeping wife, is not farfetched, I wouldn’t recommend it. (Note: Spacey jerks off in the shower too, at the beginning of the film.) And as anybody who’s been in a hostel dorm room with two people fucking in it already knows, some people get drunk and make mincemeat of discretion anyway.

But I continue to hide it and bust my nuts like a ninja when the time is right. I’m a classy guy. What can I say?

It has to be done. The following are reasons why I am a regular chicken choker, especially while traveling:

  • No game. I have no game, so I’m forced to attend to my own needs more than the Don Juan backpacker-types, musicians (esp. acoustic guitarists) or Aussie guys for that matter. I’m OK with that.
  • Plenty of material. Although no hot chicks backpack, you definitely encounter a lot of hot chicks while backpacking (local girls, hot girls staying in hotels, hot girls traveling with their douche boyfriends, etc.) so your mental photo album is bursting at the seams daily. There’s deece everywhere. No game + full spank bank = an overwhelming need to masturbate.
  • Stopped in the red zone. It was a big night. You tried scraping out some semblance of game. You may have been vying to score. You may even have gotten DFMOs. Everything looked good, but she didn’t want to try doing it in the hostel broom closet, her girlfriend dragged her home, etc. Damned if you should go to bed with blue balls!
  • Homesickness/Loneliness. Traveling alone sucks.
  • Insomnia. Traveling alone and not being able to sleep sucks even worse. Plus, skeet-skeeting makes me sleepy.
  • Low self-esteem. Sigh.

And there you have it. Masturbation should be an integral part of your physical and mental health regimen. Absolutely nothing keeps a single, male backpacker as confident, well rested and alert as some good ‘ol hands-on therapy. But careful with the bar soap rub-out in the shower. That shit stings like a motherfucker.