Berlin, tampons, and handshakes

If you follow me on Twitter (do it), or paid attention to previous posts, you may know that I have family in Berlin and have just been to visit them for 10 gloriously tiring days. Although my time there is mainly spent doing the school run, going to playgrounds (they have sand, it’s cool), eating ice cream, playing with Lego and yelling at small children, I occasionally also manage to get out. I am fully aware that I in no way take advantage of being in probably one of the best cities ever to go out in, and I know it’s a pathetic excuse, but those kids are fucking draining. Every time I feel like I want a baby, I just think of them and my tubes literally try to tie themselves.

Don’t tell their parents I said that.

Anyway.. 

A trip to Berlin wouldn’t be complete without heading back to Prenzlauer Berg. And a trip to Prenzlauer Berg wouldn’t be complete without heading back to Duncker Club to make me feel like I was 16 again. 

Duncker is dark and grimey and alternative and gothic. To me, now, this is a logistical nightmare. All my band t-shirts have been relegated to pyjama status and I enjoy wearing big earrings and a bold lip out. I left the apartment in denim shorts, a plain black t-shirt and flats, and my uncle told me that I was overdressed. Fucking Duncker. When I was 16-18, I didn’t wear make up and I dressed so grungey that I fit in perfectly there, but I have evolved since then, as people do. My other issue is this: how the fuck do you dance to that kind of music? I tend to just sit the fuck down, sway a little, and drum my hands on my thighs. THAT’S NOT A NIGHT OUT.

I hadn’t been to Duncker for about four years, and I really didn’t want to go. Throw in that it was, like, a million degrees that night and I had just started my period and a four year old had told me that I would never have a boyfriend like John Smith, it’s safe to say that I was in a dark place. But, it was our last night in town and my sister really wanted to go out. What a bitch. So I sucked it up and we set off to meet The Travelling Welshman at the club.

Basically, Duncker sucked. The band sucked and drove everyone out. They sounded like they were 15 and playing in their bedroom, though their abundance of facial hair signified otherwise. I felt a little bit bad for them to be honest, but I felt even worse about the fact that I was sweating out of my fanny. It was time to leave. 

We ended up walking ten minutes to the Welshman’s apartment so that we could pee, he could roll a joint, and I could have horrendous flashbacks of losing my virginity (not to him) in his apartment. When I went to the bathroom, though, I noticed that he had a little dish-like bowl full of assorted tampons and pantyliners. Weird, right? I came out and asked him if he had a steady female night-time companion who kept them there, or he just kept them there for lady visitors to borrow. The answer was the latter. That’s weird, right?! My first point was that it made him look like he had a girlfriend, that girls he brought back would definitely think he had a girlfriend. He didn’t care about that. My second point was that it’s just weird. Like, I appreciate it when a guy has shit like face wipes or something that I can take my make up off with if I’m staying over, and I get that women aren’t always armed with an emergency tampon in their bag and it’s useful and considerate to have – but to have it out on display? WEIRD! What do you think? Let me know!

So, anyway, we ended up at Kaffe Burger, which always tends to be a good night. It’s a pretty well known place – Russian Disco, and that – so it tends to attract a lot of expats and tourists. Again, it’s crazy casual, and fairly run down, but nowhere near as grimey as Duncker Club. Due to said large number of expats – which Berlin is literally so full of, by the way – I didn’t have to wait more than 30 seconds alone at the bar holding my vodka cranberry and my sister’s Campari and orange (weird, right?) before an American decided that my resting bitch face wasn’t going to deter him from striking up a conversation.

He was really lovely. He was 32 and a freelance animator. He’d moved to Berlin for a girl (like literally half of the men there), and ended up staying for 7 years. He was like a taller, slightly darker version of Donald Glover with the stupid hipster glasses and so much energy I couldn’t keep up. I genuinely enjoyed talking to him; he was funny and interesting and attentive. He bought me drinks and would help me look for my sister when I got worried that I hadn’t seen her in a while. He told me that he really liked me – what do you say to that? – and that he wanted to kiss me. Naturally, I laughed and downed my drink. I told him that I needed to talk to my sister and the Welshman as it was miraculously two hours later and 4am, and I needed to check when hometime was. I came back and told him that I had to go, and gave him a handshake. A HANDSHAKE. That’s not a euphemism, either.

Like I said, he was really lovely; I just didn’t fancy him. I didn’t want to kiss someone just for the sake of kissing someone. Had I been more drunk, I probably would have been all over it, though. And, considering I remember next to nothing about the boy who fingered me on the streets of Schöneberg the week before, I was more than happy to be sober enough to make this choice.

Am I growing up?

How To Avoid The Night Bus

If you are a regular human being, it is fairly likely that you have had to take a night bus home at least once in your life. If you haven’t, it’s exactly like the Knight Bus in Harry Potter, give it a try!

I hate the night bus. I hate that 80% of people on it are drunk (it doesn’t matter that I am, too). I hate that 90% of people on it are just plain fucking weird (it doesn’t matter that I am, too). I hate that if you fall asleep, the person next to you will try to steal your wallet out of your pocket. I hate that 18 year olds think that it’s okay to interact with you. I hate that it smells like McDonald’s (it doesn’t matter that I probably contributed to that). And I hate that it stops a 20 minutes walk away from my house and I have to run the risk of being raped and stuffed inside a suitcase to get back to my bed.

So, here are some handy tips to avoid all that!

#1  Get a taxi. Lol, jk. If you’re anything like me, you’re basically destitute and ‘taxi money’ is actually better utilised as ‘three more drinks and a shot money’. If, by the off chance, you are a fully fledged functioning member of society and you still, for some unknown reason, read my blog, a taxi is undoubtedly your best bet. But you already knew that.

#2  Stay with a friend. I know what I just said, but if there is a group of you, you can forfeit one drink and share a taxi. As there is also safety, and comfort, in numbers, you could also take the dreaded night bus together. They will be there to act as a buffer when weird boys try to get you to go back to theirs and ask if you and your best friend are ‘beating’. They will also (hopefully) make sure that you don’t get raped and suitcased on your way home. Sometimes travelling in packs doesn’t work out, though. Sometimes one of you will get off at the wrong stop whilst the rest of you have fallen asleep, missed the right stop, and ended up at the end of the line where you have neither your shoes nor your phone. Don’t worry, though; this is fairly rare. After all, you don’t turn 23 every day.

#3  Stay out all night. When you are young and excited about the world and your body bounces back like you’re part of the fucking Marvel Universe – this ends, and gets progressively worse, at the tender age of 22, by the way – staying out all night is a great idea. It helps that there are also a number of ways to do this.

  • Late, late, late night clubs. I’m talking like 6am close, here. Just drink like you’re in Mad Men and dance like you’re in Footloose until the sun rises, and then hop on a tube home to bed. You may think that sleeping during the day is a waste of your youth, but, really, what else have you got going on?
  • Food establishments. I’m talking 24 hour Starbucks, Subway, McDonald’s – all great shouts. When we were 18 and thought we were really cool acting like we didn’t have homes to go to, my friends and I used to stay in the 24 hour Starbucks in King’s Cross. I won’t lie though, if I saw people doing that now, I would judge the fuck out of them. Maybe I have grown up a little.
  • Public buildings. Okay, so I don’t really know what public buildings are open all night, but I’m assuming that if you’re out and trying to avoid the night bus, it’s likely you’re a student. So hit up campus! Last summer, after I finished my last exam, casual drinks with my two best boys turned into bar-hopping around Soho and flashing a boob at G-A-Y Late. As my friends don’t live in London, and I couldn’t rock up to my Asian household at 5am with two beautiful boys in tow, we decided to brave the city at night and took to the streets. After eating our Subways sitting on the curb like the hoodrats we are, it dawned on me that the library is open 24 hours and we could find shelter there. So, off we skipped to UCL. However, the feds campus security was on to us and we got turned away from both the Science Library and Foster Court (yes, I’m name dropping buildings you don’t care about, deal with it). According to the ‘Overheard at UCL’ Facebook page, we may have pleaded with security to allow us into the building because we just wanted to have a threesome – but who knows. Eventually, we stumbled our way into the main building and took cover until the trains started running again. My body hated me, but it was so worth it.

#4  Get lucky. Going back to someone else’s and having a lil bit lot of sexy time is the ideal way to avoid the night bus. Why? Because you’re getting laid, duh. So, you have two options here – a) you get your flirt on and find someone in da club to bang, or b) you booty call a big bootied hoe. Be warned, though, both may lead to a bus journey of shame in the morning..

a) to be honest, if you’re a girl, I don’t really recommend going back to some strange boy’s house – you know how I feel about being put in a suitcase. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use them to buddy up and share a cab or bus with you. If things like stranger danger don’t cross your mind, though, by all means, go back to theirs! I actually really enjoying seeing different boys’ houses and bedrooms – and have more than once been told to stop looking around like I’m judging them. So, just remember, don’t be nosey in a way that may get you stabbed.

b) if you’re out and you already have a slice somewhere more convenient than your house, call them. There’s literally no shame in it; I did it a couple of weeks ago. It’s a win-win situation, you avoid shitty travel and you get laid – what more could you want?! If you’re really lucky, they’re also out somewhere nearby and can go back to their’s with you, because, let’s face it, it’s never particularly classy to turn up at someone’s off your face when they’re completely sober. On the other hand, if you’re worried about being classy, you’re reading the wrong blog.

So, there you have it! Some super simple ways to avoid the night bus! Do you ever partake in any of these? What kind of travel do you hate?