I’ve read many travel guides that recommended staying in hotels in Wenceslas Square in Prague. I find that truly puzzling because, as anyone who has been to Wenceslas Square after 9 p.m. knows, it’s not the classiest of places. Not dangerous, but definitely creepy. It’s full of strip clubs, but also regular clubs, which means all manner of drunk and disorderly people walking around at all hours of the night.
I made the mistake of staying at a hostel just off Wenceslas Square in April, because it was close to all the locations for the dance workshop I was attending. I figured, I’m only going to need a place to sleep, so it’ll be fine, whatever.
Turns out, sleep is not really on the menu. On the menu instead are drunk guys singing outside your window from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. They have a surprisingly large repertoire, from Czech drinking songs, to “Cotton-Eyed Joe”, to “When the Saints Go Marching In”, but in Czech. My friend rented a much more expensive guesthouse on the square and had the same problems. So don’t book accommodations on Wenceslas Square if you want any sleep.
There’s also the problem of mistaken identity.
I am walking to my hostel around 2 a.m. after our Friday evening dance party. I’m wearing ripped jeans, leather boots, and a black leather jacket. You know, a general “don’t fuck with me” outfit. I also have my signature Resting Bitch Face™. It’s strange, because all the strip club promoters are being especially nice to me. Not in a creepy way, either, and I usually regard every strange man who tries to talk to me as creepy.
Speaking of strange men trying to talk to me, a slightly-hunched, nervous dude falls into step with me. Before he can even say anything, I say, “Nope.”
“But…” he pleads.
“No. no. no. no.”
“Please just look at me…”
“Nope. Go away. No.”
I am not afraid to hurt people’s feelings. I am very persistent. After about a minute, he gets the hint and gives up. Another club promoter witnessing the scene is like, “Yeah, you’re probably tired. You’re just on your way home! Have a good evening, girl.”
Yes, thank you, I think, and how remarkable that he’s not being gross.
The next evening, I’m with some friends from the dance workshop in Wenceslas Square. We’re discussing how seedy the place is at night. I recount my story from the previous night. That’s when I spot them.
Four girls are leaning against a building, with don’t-fuck-with-me faces. They have on boots, leather jacks, and jeans. And suddenly it clicks.
“Oh my god,” I say with my new-found wisdom. “That guy last night thought I was prostitute. ”
I’m not really upset. I’m still more annoyed by the drunk guys singing all night. Plus, it makes for a good story.