I was waiting in line for the bathroom of Berlin’s most famous techno club, drenched in sweat – it must have been around 7 AM on a Monday morning – when I overheard the following conversation coming from one of the bathroom stalls:
Voice 1: “My god Ben, you are hardcore! How often have you been in here already?”
Voice 2: “Seriously, why are you calling HIM hardcore??? Look at where YOU are Matt, look at the time and look at what you are about to take up your nose! YOU MY FRIEND are HARDCORE!”
There was a short, contemplative silence, followed by loud, excessive snorting noises, a door opening, six or seven people leaving the stall, and a new group entering the cramped toilet space almost simultaneously.
Matt’s evident lack of self knowledge reminded me of myself a week earlier. It was right after a funeral that I found myself on a similar path to self discovery that reached its final destination here in this Berlin shithouse.
At the funeral I found out that I had a lesbian second cousin, which frankly blew my mind. I had always thought I was the only gay in the village, but apparently being queer runs in the family. It felt strangely comforting and there was an instant connection between the two of us. She added me on Instagram and Facebook and we started chatting on Messenger.
During our conversation I found out that she had majored in investigative journalism aka she had gone through a lot of my previous social media posts, which culminated in the spot on question/statement: “You are kind of a party animal, aren’t you?!” My instinctive reaction was to lie and deny. “No, no, no, I am not,” I protested.
Then I went to Berlin for Pride and my lie caught up with me on Day One of the trip.
In my defence, Day One should have looked like this: kiss the cats, leave Amsterdam, arrive in Berlin with the fiancée, go to Boring Jacob’s house, dump our stuff, eat at a Vietnamese restaurant, go back to Jacob’s place, sit on the sofa, gossip, drink tea, and go to bed way before midnight.
Unfortunately, Jacob was working abroad that day and his flight home got cancelled. So Day One turned into this scenario: book a hotel room above one of Berlin’s most famous leather bars, arrive to find hundreds of men in front of the bar, get Mexican food (bad idea, no bueno), drink alcohol, meet cute guys, drink more alcohol, go to cruising bar Mutschmanns, get lost in the darkroom, go to ‘temple of filth’ New Action, find out it is closed, visit the bar next door, stay for more shenanigans, lose your t-shirt, leave at 8 AM, sleep 2 hours, shower, cry (because you have to check out at 11 AM), dry tears, hate yourself, have breakfast.
Day Two we took it easy. Yay for us!
Day Three we decided to behave as well, even though it was Revolver at KitKatClub that night, one of our all-time favourite parties. The tickets were sold out anyway and it was not like we had connections with connections that could get us in for free with fancy all access VIP bracelets… To make a long story short: it must have been around 10 AM when we left the club. We might have been the last ones to leave even. Oooops.
Day Four we took it easy – except for some dancing behind a truck during the Pride parade. Yay for us!
Which brings us to Day Five. My fiancée has left Berghain hours ago and I am still waiting in line for the bathroom because I have to pee and stuff. Surrounded by druggies, with no way to escape the music, or the heat. 14 hours of consecutive partying and I still don’t want to go home. The spot on question/statement of my lesbian second cousin keeps popping up in my mind: “You are kind of a party animal, aren’t you?! Aren’t you…???”
“Hell yes I am!”
“No paro nunca, motherfuckers! I never stop.”
I am like The Very Hungry Caterpillar from that famous children’s book, who keeps eating, and eating, and eating because he can never get enough. Like him I might turn into a beautiful butterfly if I keep on going. On the other hand, the only party animal I am channelling right now is a confused, messy moth too close to the flame.
Internal voice 1: “It might be a good idea to go home.”