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That old guy in a hostel…



There’s nothing wrong with old men, indeed I aspire to be one. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with them staying at hostels. This is not a piece about me being snobbish towards old men and saying they do not belong in hostels, which is not true and not the point of this piece. I’ve met auld lads that were brilliant fun and great to be around. One memorable man was a retired T.V. journalist; some of his stories had a whole group of us in stitches, he interviewed Howard Marks aka Mr. Nice, plus he smoked a J and had a gin tonic with him afterwards to the irritation of studio bosses. A funny man who fitted in perfectly, meeting new guests and just being genuine. However, I’m afraid this is about the other type of older gentlemen, who comes off quite sinister.

This piece is about the aul lad we’ve all met in hostels, who comes onto all the women, there is usually always a problem upsetting him and he can be a pain in the arse to hostel staff. I’ve made my observations while traveling in many countries, however, it was only when I started working in a hostel that I really started to notice their bad hostel etiquette. They makes things awkward, maybe on purpose, a lot of them expects hostels to be 4 star hotels. Once, in a busy lounge, where many groups of people were having a drink, chilling out and enjoying their evening, an older gentleman came down to the bar in his underwear asking why the air conditioning wasn’t working? A simple and fair question, but come on, put some trousers on! On top of that, another patriarch was wandering around the kitchen in his underwear and this time no t-shirt! I’ve nothing against this type of gentleman no matter how odd they are, but they don’t have a clue about hostel etiquette. That they are sharing the place with others and not in their own home. While I know they don’t mean to be uncomfortable for other guests but it speaks volumes that a full hostel didn’t have their lunch in the kitchen that day in the latter case. In the end, they are being creepy.

Another example of this creepier hostel guest with no boundaries is them usually becoming quite drunk, which leads to rudeness and a bit of abuse. The abuse part was just rudeness in all honesty, but they get quite opinionated and offensive. I had to tell a girl to calm down with one gentleman because he was aggravating her in a way I’ve only seen my dad able to do towards me, to provoke the reaction. Again, this is only my experience of this certain type from observation, I got called a Paddy Catholic c*nt one day which I found hilarious. I told my mam the following day, to which I got the reply: “Well she was only wrong about one of those things!” (I don’t believe in religion) All you can do is laugh and smile, because this is just a rude person. It has since become one of my funniest travel anecdotes, as it’s self deprecating and hilarious. Although, when you think about it this type of person is a stereotype, it is a minority but maybe in the feedback to this, I believe we have all experienced this person. Hostels were originally started for backpackers and young people who couldn’t afford hotels and everyone is welcome but people do need to educate themselves in hostel etiquette.

Some of you may think I am writing a character assassination against old people and that’s not the case. In fact, I tend to prefer older people to younger people my age as they’ve so many cracking life stories and wisdom, and I love to eat that up like eating minstrels in popcorn. This is this certain type of man that attends a backpackers hostel, expecting a hotel, and generally creeping everyone out. I find this type of person actually funny and I do enjoy a few of them, but they create an awful atmosphere in hostels. Any backpacker, especially female, will tell you that as I’ve had many conversations about this certain type. It is not a crime to be this certain gent, but it would be nicer if they educated themselves about what hostels actually mean. In fact, there are several types of hostel guest that break hostel etiquette, but more on that soon…



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