Sex on the bottom bunk please – The sociology of a hostel dorm


Staying in a dorm is like reliving your younger years; crammed into a bunk bed in a room with anything ranging from 2 to 20 other people of all descents and decencies.
From the smallest to largest, some social adventures are bound to take place in a dorm. Hostel experiences always seem to be a fine balance between on the one hand the fun social aspect of meeting great new people and having a few (or a lot of) drinks and on the other hand that essential sleep you need during your tiring journeys (and to cure the occasional hangover).

The thing with big dorms is that it will be a coming and going of people at any hour. People heading out for an early start hit the sack at maybe 11 PM and get up at 6 AM; people having partied might doze off by 5 AM and snooze until as late as 3 PM. There’s someone occupying those dorms pretty much any minute of the day.

So what social adventures will be thrown on your path by booking yourself into a dorm?

Early departure

This seems to be one of the hardest ones to stay social. At times someone will have an early rise in the morning for a tour or some bus to the next place. Fine, no problems, but with all their stuff still lying all over the bed and locker the night before and no sign of its owner, well you’ll know everyone will be in for some fun the next morning.
And by not packing your bag the night before you are definitely not making any new friends (If one could actually care as you’re getting the hell out of there anyway. But that’s a different story all together).
There’s always a few that are just out of fucks to give, turning on lights, trashing their bags around the place and walking in and out of the dorm a dozen times at 6 AM.

Then there’s those inspired by the AXE (Lynx for you UK people) tv-ads, and slather on liters of deodorant or perfume leaving you no other option then diving for safety under the less suffocating environment of your covers drenched in nightly sweat.

Nightly access

Also you will have to deal with the late night returns to the dorm room. Returning from a club, use that handy flashlight on your iPhone. That’s what it’s for. No one appreciates lights being turned on at 4 AM. And if you do feel you’ve had a few too many, remember your way to the bathroom in time. Puking down of the top bunk usually leaves you with a lot of cleaning up and replacing of other peoples stuff the next morning.

Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll

When it comes to any single one of the three, preferably keep ‘em out of the dorm. There will always be those urges and no other place to go but for goodness sake, at least keep it quiet! If you gotta do what you gotta do go find yourselves some roof terrace, hammock, showers or get a damn room. But for crying out loud never use the top bunk!
Then there’s those certain nationalities that just love the smoking and snorting of certain substances. Again, please no coke sniffing of your iPads in a dorm. It’s just not the place to do it.

Home sick

No, we don’t care about you Skyping your family at 8 AM in the morning because of your so convenient time zones. Especially when speaking a foreign language so we can’t eavesdrop into your personal lives!

That’s my bed

Then there are those lovely people that bring their entire wardrobes backpacking and need to use the rest of the dorm as their personal walk-in closet. You paid for your bed, so that is your territory. Keep your crap in your own one square meter of personal dorm space.

No plastic bags

Just, NO! No plastic bags! It might sound like a slogan by Greenpeace but actually is one of the most annoying things to come across in a dorm room. You will understand when you have experienced this. If people are asleep in the dorm do not touch your plastic bags, do not even THINK about your plastic bags. Leave them. Consider it collateral damage.
The cherry on the cake of plastic bag annoyance are those that continue cracking and crushing way long after the wrong-doer has left the room. The agony!

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Stay fresh (not French)

Everything smelly is not really appreciated, especially those cheeses from your home country, your smelly socks, shoes and damp clothing. They aren’t anyone’s delight.

Papa noël

But hey, what’s wrong with actually being extra nice to your dorm mates? If you are not using it anymore or don’t feel like carrying it, just give it to someone. Do an occasional repacking of your backpack and stuff you don’t feel like lugging around might just make someone else’s day. The amount of camaraderie among backpackers is enormous and that are the things you do remember.
I mean, who does not love to receive a nice little surprise bottle of vodka?

So, there you have it. No surprise there it seems, dorms are for sleeping but they are lived in too so don’t be a nagger and don’t be an inconsiderate as*hole. Love, world peace, and a good night’s sleep is all we want at the end of the day anyway!

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