The hostel hate list usually goes a little like this:
- ‘Gap Yah’ 4am vomiters
- People who sleep with their eyes open
- Possible murderers
Number four comes from recent films about disastrous European travels that have dominated the horror genre. While “Hostel” scenes of brutal torture, sex and gore undoubtedly churned the ol’ stomach, several weeks in Eastern European hostels surprisingly never left me waking up to a scar on my abdomen and my organs in a bucket of ice beside the bunk bed.
Well accustomed to questionable accommodation all over the continent, it shocks you and me both to discover that one night in Bath, England, left a spot on my hate list wide open and exceeded any horrors Hollywood could concoct.
Now, public masturbation is often, if not always, frowned upon. Hostels are known to house some unorthodox characters, but an amicable, bespectacled chap from Adelaide had not raised suspicions on his arrival to the bunk above. Staying in the cheapest room available is the scourge of the exchange student, so come midnight, fifteen of my newest bedfellows and I change awkwardly into pyjamas beneath the prison grade sheets, avoiding eye contact at all times.
The room goes dark. I begin to drift off to sleep.
Swift, rhythmic movements rustle beneath linen. I assure myself that he is simply massaging a sore wrist. Ferociously.
A loud moan punctures the black silence.
I smother my face with a pillow but the triumphant grunts of the dorm room masturbator penetrate my temporary escape. I peer through the darkness to the other fourteen beds, searching for comrades, but no other desperately uncomfortable gaze meets mine. A cough, to advertise that I am awake and very, very disturbed, does little to slow down his self-love.
Suddenly, footsteps move across the wooden floorboards and a dark figure slowly opens the door in an attempt to quickly exit. A small shorthaired girl steps out into the lit hallway, turning her head to face the guilty bunk bed. Catching the whites of my eyes she mouths a simple “ew” and vanishes. She would be the only escapee that night.
His attempts to shake my hand goodbye the next morning were in vain. I turned my body to the wall and feigned a particularly aggressive sinus infection. After all, snorers may be hostel wankers, but they do not wank in hostels.