Let’s talk sleepovers. They’ve been nerve-wracking since the beginning when you started having them at seven, or thirteen for the nerds who couldn’t be away from their mom. Embarrassing. Whatever age they started, there was always anxiety about making adjustments for a night filled with someone else’s way of doing things that you weren’t used to.
You’d sit at their dinner table and look around to see how everyone else was behaving. At your house, everyone ate standing around the kitchen, sprawled out on the counter, swinging their legs and laughing at each other. In this house, you’re sitting at the table like civilized people. And yep, it appears they’re saying Grace. Never done that before, so you’ll do your best to seem unfazed by it. Then there is a glass of milk placed in front of you to drink with dinner and you instantly think of your mom with her insistence on only drinking water saying, “We’re the only species who drinks the milk of another species. Does that sound right to you? Didn’t think so.” So now you have to figure out how to not drink it and not offend anyone at the same time. And everyone’s family feels that the way they do things is the right way to do them. They don’t understand why you don’t want their cat rubbing up on your neck while you try to watch Saved By The Bell in peace. They don’t see why you need a fresh towel for the shower when there’s a perfectly fine one in the bathroom that’s only been used once.
You’re out of your element, and it can only be relieved by locking yourself in your friend’s bedroom with her and prank calling cute boys in your class that aren’t interested in you. Which takes me to sleepovers with boys.
The anxiety during a sleepover carries through to your adult years and becomes just as much of an issue when you’re newly dating someone.
The first sleepover is always terrible. You’re at his house, its three in the morning, your arm is going numb from laying too long on your left side, and you’re too nervous to move. It’s bizarre having such awkwardness in this setting that is supposed to only serve the purpose of giving you a relaxing night’s sleep. That sleep will not happen tonight. Tonight you will settle into a cuddling position with him on his back and you laying on his chest. He will ask you if you’re comfortable and you will say yes even though your neck is straining to hold up your head without a pillow under it, and you can feel him breathing on your face which is forcing you to space out your own breathing to match his so that you breath out at the same time in order to block it from making it to your face. You’re thinking about how uncomfortable he must be too, having you in his bed with this whole breathing in each others face thing, and then suddenly you hear him snoring. He’s already asleep. How is that even possible?! Isn’t he self conscious about snoring in front of you? What is he, some kind of animal that just falls asleep with its head hanging out the window of a moving car?
The answer is yes. He is an animal. And he is not thinking about anything that you’re thinking about. He’s out cold, without a care in the world. He’s probably farting on your leg right now and having dreams about your sister.
Knowing his lack of unease during this first sleepover should give you confidence to be more comfortable. Move your head to the damn pillow already. Flip flop around to find the cold spot on the sheets. Move your hair out of your mouth. Get up to pee already. He isn’t going to even remember you’re there until he wakes up in the morning. Now that part is a little trickier. If you want to see someone go from a tranquilized elephant to a panicked mess of a man, ask him if he wants to go get some breakfast.
Image via TheSweetMachine