The Unwritten Rules of Conduct during a Year Abroad

Do not follow in our footsteps

We all know what a year abroad entails: little academic work and a hedonistic lifestyle. My attitude during my year abroad in Germany and in particular in the story that follows is therefore forgivable. Case closed.

It was the very end of the year to be precise, in July. All of my fellow Erasmus students had already left town and gone home to their respective countries. I had stayed a bit longer for a scheduled visit of friends from school. It was to be my year abroad closing weekend; a typical lads weekend with all the imaginable shenanigans.

On one of the nights, which was nearing its end, we decided to go to a strip club.

It was 5 A.M. The strip club had already closed.

Drunk as we were, we started knocking at the door and hammering on every surface of the strip club’s facade, looking – wastedly delusional – for a secret entrance.

This scene (five lads making a racket in an otherwise silent street) was interrupted by a window above the strip club opening, and a furious woman shouting down at us in German. In short: ‘You’ve woken me up, you idiots! Get the hell out of here!’

The five of us put a halt to our endeavours and looked up at her.

One of my friends, who is German, exchanged with her for at least five minutes and apologised thoroughly for our behaviour, trying to explain the reason for our noisy presence. It was not easy for him and her rage was hardly dissipating.

I decided to interrupt the ongoing dialogue. Maybe because I thought it was time to move things forward and find a plan B.

Catching the woman’s attention, I inquired calmly and thoughtfully (I may even have been scratching my chin): ‘Bist du eine Hure?’ (In English: ‘Are you a whore?’)

My German friend wilted, as he felt that his diplomacy had been obliterated by the four words I had just pronounced. My other friends, however, bursted out laughing.

The German lady did not metamorphose into a slutty Rapunzel, ready to let her long golden hair down for us to climb up and join her in her abode.

Nope, she amped up the volume of her shouting and threatened to call the police.

Hastily, we ran away.

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