Why All Female Dorms Are An All Round Bad Idea

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bikinis hanging on hooks in female hostel dorm

It’s an easy mistake to make, assuming that sleeping in all female dorms is a better idea than sharing with smelly boys when you travel, but after years of sharing rooms with both sexes, I’m firmly of the view that mixed-dorms are the much better option. Here’s why all female dorms are an all round bad idea.                                       

1. Girls are messy

Say what you want about boys leaving socks on the floor, women operate in their own league when it comes to mess – shoes, make-up, several clothing changes, a female dorm can get very messy very quickly under the stain of a bunch of girls. Most disgustingly, I’ve witnessed some horrific menstrual faux-pas that have included blood on the floor. With a high male to female ratio, the risk of such horrors reduces.

2. Women talk…a lot

It’s long been thought that women use thousands more words per day compared to men. Morning, noon and night, women natter, gossip, giggle and squawk and, unlike men, many women don’t seem to understand that the dorm room is a place when words should be fewer and further between, particularly when others are trying to sleep. I’ve been woken at all hours of the day and night by women screeching at the top of their voices, determined to get in their full quota of words. I recall one girl coming into the room at 2 a.m. and waking her friend (and everyone else in the room) to update her on her night’s drunken antics. I’ve never had the same experience with men in dorms.

3. Don’t expect the bathroom ever to be free

I’m exceptionally quick when it comes to showering, operating on the basis I’m washing a 5ft tall body, not an articulated lorry, but I’m exactly that – an exception. Hair washing, exfoliating, flossing, making up, hair straightening, it all takes time and it all takes up bathroom time to the exclusion of other guests.

4. Trade nice scents for clogged plugholes

I’ll give it to women, the shower generally smells like a prettier place after they have used it compared to their male counterparts, but it will often come at a cost – from hair dye streaks, stray blobs of conditioner and other lotions and potions and, worst of all, matted hair, your en-suite bathroom may smell nicer, but it’s unlikely to look prettier. And this extends to the dorm room too – brushed hair and make-up smears follow where most women go.

5. Expect bikinis and knickers to be hanging everywhere

Dorms close to a beach are the worst, but city-hostels are not much better when it comes to smalls hanging around the place. The advantage of tiny bikinis and miniscule undies is that they are quick to rinse through and dry overnight. The downside is that all-female dorms can quickly become littered with half-dried lingerie. Not something I want to wake up to.

6. Women snore and fart, too!

Well, I’ve clearly broken the rule by not maintaining the illusion that ladies are all sweetness and light, but the truth is the truth. One of the worst nights’ sleep I ever had was under the strain of snoring in a female dorm (a heavier woman sleeping on her stomach, impressively, who decided to get in a good 14 hour sleep to the detriment of everyone else). Equally (and perhaps worryingly in the same dorm room, but courtesy of a different woman), I once got woken by the smell of another woman’s fart. No, not pretty and no, that has never happened to me in a mixed dorm.

7. Women take forever to get ready for bed

The night time process is very simple for me: brush teeth, change clothes, lie down. Perhaps, I have adopted some male characteristics along the way, but I do not see the nighttime regime as needing much more effort (make-up is a long lost concept). However, I am once again an exception with many girls spending up to half an hour rifling through bags, sorting out the perfect sleepwear, taking off cosmetics, applying lotions, washing and drying hair and re-packing bags. Unless you are last to go to bed, expect up to a couple of hours continual disturbance as the ladies in your dorm individually prepare themselves for slumber.

8. Night-time girl-bladder

Ok, I confess to having a girl bladder (it’s biology, right?) and if I consume too much coffee or beer, I’m bound to want to visit the facilities some time in the middle of the night. And I’m not alone in this trait. In an all-female dorm, multiply the wake-up, clamber out of bed, turn on the light (courtesy of the more ignorant dorm users) and find the bathroom disturbance multiplied by the number of girls in the room. If you’re in a mixed-dorm, you can expect that disturbance to be around half.

9. Ladies like light

I’m really putting myself out there against my sisterhood, but if ever there is a light flicked on in the middle of the night, 90% of the time a girl is behind it. While guys seem more comfortable navigating their way in and out of bed and around their stuff, including accessing their locker in darkness or under dim torch light, most girls seem to prefer the security of a full on light – a pain when people arrive late or leave early.

10. Rustle, rustle

If you have spent much time in a dorm, you will instantly associate this word with the sound of a plastic bag. For some reason only science can fathom, the plastic bag has a noise that can equal decibels when there is no other sound around (in the middle of the night), and girls are much more likely to have packed every single item they own (clothes, underwear, make-up, toiletries, cotton buds (wrapped individually)) into neatly compartmentalized plastic bags. Great for organization, not great for catching zzzzzs when someone is preparing to go to bed or getting up early.

In short, if you’re female and new to dorm sleeping and are operating under the assumption that all female dorms are your better bet, think again!

Author - Jo Fitzsimons

Hi, I'm Jo, the writer behind Indiana Jo. In 2010 I quit my job as a lawyer and booked an around the world ticket. As a solo female traveller, I hopped from South America to Central America, across Asia, the Middle East and Europe. It was supposed to be a one-year trip but over a decade later, it's yet to end. I've lived in a cave, climbed down a volcano barefoot, spent years as a digital nomad, worked as a freelance travel writer, and eaten deadly Fugu. Now I'm home, back in the UK, but still travelling far and wide. You can find out more About Me.