As a single woman for most of the last 7 years I’ve gotten used to sleeping alone.
I’ve moved from my married self, clinging to my single bed edge and weakly grasping at duvet corners and lying as still as a corpse to fully embracing all 60 inches, star-fishing my way through the night, piling pillows into a souffle of goosedown and wrapping my 800 tog duvet around me like a pig in a blanket (sausage roll to my British readers). I am proud to say I am now a fully fledged, out and proud, bed hog.
Which is the perfect time to meet a man who sleeps over.
The men in question has been vetted, tested and appears mentally stable. He is clean, smells delicious, makes me laugh and unlike the last 7 years of sleepovers, I was 100% sober.
Which is probably when I realized how much I don’t enjoy sleepovers.
Sure, I love love love all that goes before a sleepover (and after), but the actual sleeping bit? I have a hard enough time on my own. That required Klonapin, blackout curtains, earplugs, a retainer and something that covers my shoulders. Oh, and a temperature no warmer that 62 degrees.
Hey, I’m low maintenance in every other respect. This… this is my ‘thing’.
So now, I suddenly have to factor in another human being. One who I’m not legally able to drug or restrain without his knowledge, One who, while not immense in size, does require at least 20 of my 60 inches of pristine and virginal new mattress. (can you smell the bitterness than man sweat has now permeated my beautiful, much adored Serta?)
I guess I could have asked him to sleep standing up, but I am, above all, British and therefore polite to a fault. I’ll wait a few more weeks.
Until then, I’m just pondering potential solutions to the multitude of complexities that are now part of my sleep hygiene.
Despite my best intentions and my relatively small size, in the coma of sleep, those 60 inches are all mine and I need every single one of them. His limbs be damned. I tried slowly nudging him through progressive ‘hug and roll’ (thankyou ‘Friends’) maneuvers towards the edge, which gained me about 60% of the width, but just as I thought I could plant my flag and actually get the full 80% (well the man does have body), the fucker rolled over on his back and I was back to a meager 50%. Plus an arm and a foot. Would it be unethical to saran wrap a sleeping partner? Just asking.
I am a British American, but the British part has the foothold when it come to physical contact. 26 years of hand shakes and shoulder punching will do that to a girl. It took my about oooo 10 years to spontaneously hug a friend.. and even then it required a funeral, my dearest and oldest ‘Merican girlfriend and the crushing loss of her mother who I adored.
I don’t do touching very casually.
And after 7 years single, I now notice every single time skin makes contact on my skin. Whether its a placating hand on a forearm, a guiding hand on the back or – *gasp* someone holding my hand, its as novel and exciting as landing on Mars. The hairs on the back of my neck will rise, my skin feels electrified and my awareness of physical proximity goes into overdrive.
Which is a bit strange if you’re my boss and you’re just saying hello.
Factor in attraction (my date NOT my boss), and you’d think I’d be an erswhile kitten of joy at all the touching. I thought so to. But apparently it takes a while to get used to it and in the meantime, I am walking around with a permanent ‘fight or flight’ arousal response and skin that feels as sensitive as a new born. I’m mainlining Xanax just to act normal.
Now factor in 7 hours of nakedness, attraction, a defined boundary of space and, well, there’s touching.
Which I fine with until the sleeping part happens.
At which point I kinda, sorta wish he’d turn to stone. Just lie in his designated area, not move, not make a sound and you know, not touch me. Heat generation is fine. Movement is not. Wrapping arms around me? A sue-able offense.
How can I sleep when someone in breathing on my neck? When there might be a stray Angelina-esque leg cutting off my circulation RIGHT AT THIS SECOND? What if I wake up, my leg is blue and I’m forced to amputate? Spooning is acceptable if I’m the one doing it.. after all, its an effective tactical strategy for shuffling him over to ‘his’ side and away from me. But the other way around? Oh hell no sir. I invented that move.
Ok, you can touch my foot with your foot. That I can do. But anything else.. beware. I do own duct tape and I am not afraid to use it.
I am super noise sensitive. Always have been. Growing up in a tiny village on the edge of open space, the only sound of night was the click of milk bottles being put on the doorstep and golden, peaceful, nothing. Total silence.
Except for the awesome, never-ending, ear drum busting snort and snore of my father. Closely followed by the sounds of my mother walking out of the bedroom and taking up residence on the living room sofa.
My father would win the Olympics of snoring.
I discovered earplugs out of necessity (as did everyone in our house) and -despite feeling like a 108 yr old neurotic when using them – they’ve gotten me through 18 years of a very loud snoring father, 4 years of traveling to random hotels (I was a consultant, not a hooker), houses situated on train tracks, rooms next to elevators, midnight talkers and even a car crash outside my house.
I always vowed that I’d never be with a man who snored. My mothers morning black circles and nights on the sofa warned me of the down side of the man who can scare dogs and small children while asleep. ‘I’ll be with someone who sleeps like I do.. silently’. In fact, if I have to check his breath with a mirror to confirm lividity, all the better.
And I’ve been lucky. I have. My ex husband used to shout words in the middle of the night in the midst of a dream, but since they generally made me laugh (‘horses’ ’33’ ‘who?’) and the other 6.5 hours he mimic’d the dead, I felt it was worth the trade off.
With this guy.. I’m having flashbacks to my youth.
The nights spend trying to construct a full head wrap from pillow, blankets and duvet. The scientific testing of ear plug varietals in search of the one .. the one that actually blocked him out. The questioning whether we could build him a separate house, just for sleeping, say…. 15 miles away?
Clearly the deficit of sleeping with a man who sounds like a deaf, 300lb pig, is outweighed by his otherwise wonderfulness, as my parents remain married after 43 years.
I am telling this to myself repeatedly as I contemplate another sleepover this weekend.
I’ve also bought 4 varieties of ear plugs and a new blanket for the sofa.. you know.. just in case.