- Ryan Kretch
Prior to moving to Berlin almost five years ago, I had no prior knowledge of the city and the nightlife it had to offer. I was used to occasionally going out for a casual cocktail with friends and calling it a night by midnight. When you get into that routine, you forget that while you sleep, there is this whole world out their pulsing to a totally alternative (techno) beat than you.
I first heard about KitKat from none other than my landlord. Without friends in the city, I figured he would provide the most knowledgable and tasteful advice for where we should go. Without much thought and tons of naivety, my partner and I decided to check it out.
On a Saturday night in April, just two weeks after moving to Berlin, we decided to attend KitKat’s Carneball Saturday; a ‘straight-friendly’ night with a whatever-your-fetish theme. Perfect, we have these cool matching gym outfits that work well with the brisk weather too — not exactly fetishy, but we didn’t have many options and I liked the athletic look enough. Having heard about the strict bouncers at Berlin clubs, we nervously made our way to the front of the line with other clothed individuals. Some looked a little bit crazy, with glittery makeup and predominantly black outfits, but nothing alarming. I eyed each and every one down, making assumptions on who would get in and who wouldn’t. In front of us, I spotted a gorgeous male-female couple dressed in designer clothing. They are not going to get in for sure! Do they even know what type of place this is? I even asked them if they had been here before, and was shocked when they confidently responded, “Oh, many times — our outfits are in these bags”. They waved a little handheld bag in my face. I was perplexed at how an outfit could fit in there, but shrugged it off. With my nerves at peak, I finally landed right in front of the bouncer, who muttered some things in German, and I responded with an unrelenting resting bitch face; something I had read about online. It seemed to work, and we made it through.
It is right at the entrance that everything goes — and I mean almost everything. As soon as you enter the dimly lit foyer, men and woman are stripping themselves of their restraining rags and revealing a mix of jockstraps, speedos, nipple tassels, bras, wigs, or nothing at all. We stared in shock. Gone would be my casual nights of drinking cocktails in clothed places with clothed people — — for this was Berlin.
We felt heavily clothed as we handed in our phones, succumbing to the idea that we would be fully connected to the KitKat world tonight and completely disconnected from the real world.
As we meandered in, I thought that my eyes would quickly adjust to the world around me, much like one’s eyes adjust when emerging from a dark room into the blaring sun, but it took much longer to desensitize to all of the debauchery. As we entered the main dance floor, I casually noticed a woman hoisted into the air about ten feet with ropes tied around all of her crevices (I later found out it was called shibari). Meanwhile, a man stood on a platform pulling the ropes tighter and licentiously smirking. As we wandered to the other dance floors pushing out heavy techno, the scenes only grew weirder. A man and woman about the age of my great grandparents (who aren’t even alive) were performing rapid-fire fellatio and cunnilingis on one another. Good for them being that age and still possessing the desire and ability! Another room, another several weird scenarios. The holy grail was a corpulent man with some kind of shocking mechanism attached to his bratwurst; occasionally giving himself a nice, welcoming buzz of voltage.
Now I consider myself to be very liberal, but my revolted face may have suggested otherwise when I spotted a man in the urinal trough letting people release their bladders all over him.
As I discovered all the corners of KitKat I couldn’t help but think it was some kind of anarchist, adult playground. Is this what the world would be like if there was no law and order and people didn’t have to suppress their deepest inner fantasies?
As the night roared on, my eyes over-adjusted, and the common sight of a man tossing the salad of another man right next to the public bar stopped phasing me as abnormal. Soon the weird became anything but weird, and the liberation of being in a place where anything goes was overpowering. KitKat lacked the judgment of the real world, and it is nice to be somewhere where any flaw, vulnerability, or desire you may have is openly accepted. The feeling of confidence, so often battered down to a pulp in the real world, comes back in full force as one dances to mind-blowing techno and makes friends openly and without the interference of technology.
At one point, in a sleepy haze, I walked off the dance floor and into the open-air pool filled with skinny dippers of all shapes and sizes and a man haphazardly masturbating in the corner. The light of the morning hit me like a brick and in a squint, I decided I had enough for the night and morning and made my way to the exit. I picked up my clothing, my phone, and walked out into the more uniform, judgmental world, as the rest of the KitKatters continued on until Monday morning.
I dedicate this post to my landlord, who so responsibly opened up my eyes to KitKat and its wonders. Since that time, I have been back many more times, and always bring visitors there for an unexpected journey into true anarchist hedonism.