Copyright 1986 by Robert L. Gidley. All rights reserved.
This was the first article I wrote that I tried to get actual money for (circa 1986). Nobody paid me for it, but I did get a nice note back from Esquire saying that it had "some funny parts." I'm afraid that times have changed enough that it's no longer Politically Correct. Actually, it may not be funny any more, either. Comments?
Increasingly, in this decade of commitment, the time honored tradition of the one-night stand is a thing of the past. Today, any self-respecting sensitive person is expected to "Spend The Night." The only problem with Spending The Night is it means "Waking Up in the Morning," and at least half the people involved do not wake up in their own home.
I find it particularly annoying when I'm the person who wakes up in someone else's house.
This can be a trying and traumatic experience unless properly prepared for, which brings us to the purpose of this article: some tips, suggestions and observations on some of the problems involved in this modern day activity.
Bring your own toothbrush. If you forget, you must face a delicate issue in which you have several choices. You can borrow a toothbrush, which is like wearing someone else's underwear, except you are more likely to get a proper fit. You can try brushing your teeth with the shower, but this just gets water up your nose. Or you can skip brushing your teeth, by far the easiest thing to do.
If you remember your toothbrush, bring your own toothpaste. Otherwise, you find yourself scrounging around at too early in the morning trying the find some goddamn toothpaste. This search usually uncovers some bizarre brand of "natural" toothpaste made from organic materials. Toothpaste is not a natural product. It is supposed to be artificial, and "organic" toothpaste is like whole wheat Twinkies. Besides, natural toothpaste tastes unnatural.
Other peoples' showers are never right. You find that other showers are too short, or too tall, or have the wrong shower head.
You should not, however, bring along your own shower head, regardless of how comfortable this makes your feel. The sight of someone disappearing into the bathroom with a monkey wrench does not inspire confidence.
Absolutely. Bring your own razor. Regardless of your sex.
Men: if you forget your razor, you can find yourself shaving with one of those round disposable razors designed for women's legs. They may work fine on legs, but they do a lousy job on faces. You end up half-shaved, and you look like you barely survived the battle. Remember, you can always tell people you are starting a beard.
Women: Should you forget your razor, and feel the need to shave, do not borrow his. Or at least, don't let him find out about it. There is something rude about using a razor on your face that has recently been in someone's armpits. Even boiling in disinfectant doesn't help. Armpits and faces should not be shaved with the same implement. Ever.
Non-coffee drinkers have no idea of the bliss involved in kick-starting your body with a jolt of caffeine. As you feel the blood rush through your system and the cobwebs swept from your brain, you start to remember your name, where you are, and where you work.
Nothing is as frustrating as waking up in the house of a non-coffee drinker. Since the other person has not made coffee, nor do they intend to, you start scrounging through kitchen cupboards looking for coffee beans.
Failing to find the coffee beans, you start looking for the instant coffee. Sometimes you get lucky, and find a three year old jar of stale instant coffee. Usually you don't, and panic sets in. Tea doesn't cut it, especially herbal tea. The idea of drinking Red Zinger instead of French Roast is like comparing an old Dodge to a Ferrari. This is the time to quickly get dressed and slip out the front door to the nearest coffee shop.
There are times when you find yourself Spending The Night during the week, when you must go to work the next day. This is a strong argument for dating people in your own neighborhood, as you can then go home and proceed with your normal routine.
Unfortunately, hormones tend to ignore distance, and you can find yourself waking up a long way from home. In this case, the only thing to do is to get ready for work where you are.
This assumes, of course, that you knew ahead of time that you would Spend The Night. If you awake unexpectedly in someone else's house, you should call in sick with the 4-hour flu and show up at noon.
Plan ahead carefully before Spending The Night if you have to Go To Work the next day. Try to think of everything you need, not an easy task since many people get ready for work in their sleep. Some people even show up for work in their sleep. Government employees, of course, sleep while they work.
Despite careful planning, you will inevitably forget something--tie, belt, shoes, underwear. Actually, of the things to forget, underwear is probably the best, because you can recycle, assuming you didn't get too kinky the night before. Just try and find an ordinary household object to substitute for a tie sometime.
One of the problems in waking up in someone else's home is dealing with breakfast. If it is a weekend, of course, you can always suggest that you go out to brunch, or go hungry until you get back to your house.
When leaving to go to work, however, this may not be a viable option. Nowhere do people vary more widely than in their choice of breakfasts. Some people settle for a cup of coffee. Others prefer orange juice, bacon, an omelette, pancakes, a couple of sausage links and a cheese danish for dessert.
Real people eat cold cereal in the morning. After all, your stomach just woke up, and it certainly doesn't want hot food shoved in its face at this hour. Just some corn flakes gently floating in a sea of milk.
Unfortunately, these people wake up in homes where the cupboards contain either sugar and vitamins compressed into pellets (a sure sign that children live there), or some variety of whole wheat and oats mixture best suited for feeding to livestock (a sure sign that neurotics live there). Nobody ever has innocuous cereals like corn flakes. When they do, they don't have any milk.
You will eventually wake up in the morning in a home where children live. If you are lucky, you will have met the children before you spend the night. However, single mothers usually don't want to introduce you to their kids until they are sure you will be around for a while. Since they are rarely sure until after you spend the night, you may get to introduce yourself to the kids.
I'm not sure what Miss Manners has to say on the proper way to introduce yourself to children (particularly when you are still in your underwear). Somehow, the truth ("Hi, I'm your mother's lover"), doesn't seem appropriate, and may get you into a rather involved explanation of what a lover is. On the other hand, trying to pass yourself off as the plumber ("Emergency problem with the shower, kid") generally doesn't work either.
The best alternative is to leave before the kids get up, but since some kids get up at the crack of dawn, this may not be a good idea. If you find yourself confronted with some small (or not so small) child too early in the morning, pretend you don't speak English and let mom explain who you are.
The next time you are asked "Your place or mine?" you will know the correct answer: "Mine, I'm not into stress."
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