Actually, to anyone who works in healthcare, we’ve got your Oktoberfest COVID (get it?) Where would we be without you through these extraordinary times? If it wasn’t for the nurses…
If Pillows Could Talk
They’d say things that’d make you puke.
Let us paint you a scene. You’ve imbibed the unlimited beer and sangria while pre-gaming for Springfest, the Running of the Bulls, La Tomatina or Oktoberfest. You’ve gone into the Munich beer halls with your travelling companions and all the new chums you’ve picked up from the camp. You dance on tables and you swallow the smooth Bavarian beer, and some guys/girls/both (however you like it) have their eyes on you, and you have your eyes on them. You’re charming and you’re funny, you look hot in your traditional German drinking garb and according to your calculations you’re on target for not spending the night alone. You’ve done everything according to that internal playbook you’ve compiled up after years of trial and (mostly) error. Your game is on point, to use the vernacular of people who obsess over this kind of thing.
But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!
– Robert Burns, To a Mouse
And so you find yourself back at the Stoke Travel camp chasing your mousy little tail. Perhaps you hedged your bets, not focusing all of your attention onto one target, instead flittering around like a flirtatious butterfly, only to learn the hard way that spreading your attentions far and thin means a long and spoon-free night alone. Maybe you focused too much on the object of your affection, treating them a little too much like that – an object – and in your thirst made yourself undesirable, or perhaps in a lack of judgement the bottomless beers got the better of you until you became irrevocably repulsive, a lecherous, slurring mess possessing all the magnetism of a public-transport masturbator. Whatever the takeaway, that’ll be a job for the next morning’s forensic analysis; right now you’ve got to get to bed, alone, and get to sleep before the crushing sadness of ruined opportunities takes over.
Easier said than done, for Stoke Travel often offers camping accommodation, in perfectly weatherproof and visually private tents. Visually private tents. For while the layers of nylon separating you from your neighbours prevent the light from passing through, they offer very little barrier for travelling sound waves; the snores and farts, moans and groans of your neighbours can sometimes be heard over the night’s natural ambience.
But nocturnal wind and the, usually, stifled throes of ecstasy are nothing compared to hearing your compatriots trying to weasel and worm and convince and connive their way into new friends’ pants. It makes for an audial experience immeasurably worse than a microphone-hogging Northern Englishwomen on a hens’ night, and provides more discomfort than finding said hen hooking up with Juan in the piss-soaked karaoke bar bathroom (true story). It’s awkward enough to see a friend, or an acquaintance, or even a complete stranger, in the opening gambits of the mating game, but when the focus has been narrowed and the objective is in sight it becomes utterly and stomach-churningly unpalatable.
Your author remembers a night in Munich a while ago, trying to get some sleep while a colleague devolved into a shameless desperado, the moment depriving him of the cognitive faculties to realise that his nylon igloo of lust provided precisely zero insulation against his pathetic pleas escaping the Fuckboi Dome. While memories are hazy at the best of times, and goddamn pea soup when on the electric vinegar, parts of this encounter are branded onto the cerebellum.
Girl: I feel just like a number.
Guy: Don’t be like that, not all girls are like you.
Girl: I bet you say that to all the girls.
Guy: You aren’t like the other girls.
Girl: You’re the reason girls cheat on their boyfriends.
The rest of the exchange was drowned out by the brain’s defence mechanisms kicking in and insisting upon deep sleep, lest the fragile parts of grey matter be subjected to more pre-amorous trauma.
Stoke Travel is where, if everything goes according to plan, pleads are replaced with moans, and temporary heaven is achieved among the ineffectual fumblings of the desperately inebriated. Staff do tell the story of the young lady who hollered like a banshee for such a time that someone at the end of their tether screamed back across the campsite, Just finish her off, for fuck’s sake!
Do you have pillow talk stories of your own? Greasily whisper them into the comments section below. And if you want to make your friends’ stomachs churn with your own corporal pleas, consider becoming the owner of a Stoke Travel Passport, thereby giving yourself all the chance in the world to broadcast to the world the depths of your desperation.
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