The morning after

Morning after makeup.

The morning after a hook-up can be awkward, uncomfortable, sneaky, sleepy, and even mind-blowing. We all must contend with morning etiquette after spending the night with someone, and there are four main categories of how such a morning can transpire. 1) Wake up at 7 a.m., or a similarly hellish hour of the morning, and sneak out. 2) Wake up at 7 a.m., or a similarly hellish hour of the morning, and hook up. 3) Stay in bed too long, sleeping or trying to have a conversation. 4) Leave because your partner — and owner of the bed — very blatantly, sometimes politely, kicks you out.

The first two possibilities involve early morning wake-ups, often prompted by urination needs, shame, a farting bedfellow, raging hangovers, or raging hormones. If you feel the urge to peace at 7 a.m., all you have to do is leave quietly, which is hard when your clothes are scattered everywhere, or when you’re little spoon and facing the wall (requiring you to literally climb over a body). The walk of shame is also a struggle, especially when you can’t find your shoes (I have a friend who ran home barefoot), or all you have is last night’s strumpet clothes and you pass an unusual number of families on the way back (there is nothing worse than wearing heels on a Saturday morning and making eye contact with a small child). Themed events make this shameful trek particularly rough. The morning after Safety Dance, I like to set a lawn chair up on Cross Campus and watch flurries of disheveled, neon people hurry back to their rooms. The morning after Halloween is fun, too; it’s the only morning that sad-looking sexy nurses, cops and pirates outnumber New Haven’s homeless. (Freshman move-in can be brutal, too: I’ve been advised by an anonymous alum that you might also want to avoid hooking up with a freshman the night before move-in day, unless you’re comfortable with large, eager families seeing you leave an Old Campus room with mascara on your cheeks and oversized athletic garb.)

Things are a bit easier if you wake up at 7 a.m. and are ready for round two. You may get “footsy,” as someone once described it to me, which is when you signal you want a repeat performance by foot cuddling or general leg interactions. I have conducted an informal survey, and all participants agree that morning sex is phenomenal and the ideal post-hookup morning scenario. (I personally maintain that the best morning scenario is Surprise Breakfast; that is, when you find a sandwich you bought the night before but didn’t have time to eat).

The absolute worst is overstaying your welcome, or being trapped in a bed with an Overstayer, someone who sleeps awkwardly late or struggles with social cues. You must be delicate and crafty with Overstayers. You can even use props. One morning, my friend, who doesn’t sleep well with others, was desperate for the guy in her bed to leave, so she offered to make him a frozen waffle — signaling: breakfast time! She opened all her curtains so the light hit him right in the face, and then handed him the waffle, which he ate and left. I have a guy friend who, when he wants a girl to leave, gets out of bed, goes into his common room, and turns on SportsCenter. I wholeheartedly approve of this method: it’s polite and let’s the girl sleep until she realizes on her own she should leave.

Yet there is also a time and a place for being obvious. You should have complete jurisdiction over your room, so it’s entirely reasonable to request that a strange body get out of your bed, particularly when the body is not respecting you or your space. I once had to kick a boy out into Hurricane Irene because he was making obnoxious sexual requests. While I felt bad when I heard branches falling from the severe winds, I was thrilled to be in my snuggy and eating Doritos in my bed, alone, which I believe is a fundamental human right. When it comes to sex, communication is crucial, before and after. It’s important for guys to respect the choices girls make after — and during — hooking up, and to listen. The same principle applies to respecting someone’s decision to leave. A close friend once had a guy fall asleep on her in an 80 degree room and start snoring violently, after she had already said she wanted to leave, and he had insisted she stay. When she managed to finally sneak out from under him without waking him, she couldn’t find her shirt. Unfortunately, he was on top of the shirt. So she crawled back into bed to grab it, but he adjusted in his sleep, pinning her back in bed, and she spent the early morning trapped under his leg, suffocating and staring at the ceiling.

Yet the right guy — or really any guy who’s nice-ish, vaguely attractive, and respectful — most girls (myself included) would much rather cuddle in bed, maybe even get footsy, than stealthily exit or throw someone out into a hurricane. Mornings can — and should — be delightful, and sometimes it’s fun to just embrace the awkwardness. Maybe even get brunch together. Have a bed conversation. Make him set up the bookcase you’ve been meaning to put together since September. Just remember to look at your face in the mirror before you leave, so you can wipe off last night’s make up and look less like a crack whore.

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