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Think about last Sunday. You were hungover. You just got done eating some sort of feast that began with you scrolling through a sensible menu and ended with you saying “fuck it” and finding the greasiest meal possible. Then you got into bed a little bit early. Put a pillow against your stomach because that’s the only way to make it feel less balloon-like. Curled up next to a computer and just let the Netflix play. The noise helped muffle the screams from within that tell you every decision you ever made was the wrong one. Did you use a condom with Rachel last June? You check her Facebook page half expecting a profile picture of your newborn. Didn’t you once call your third grade teacher “Mom?” You loser. The sweats start happening. The clock keeps moving later and later. “I’ve got six hours, that’s enough” you’ll think when you fully know it will be four. The only source of happiness you have is your farts. Releasing pressure from your stomach, little by little. You lift up the sheets. It smells so wrong that it smells good. It’s your smell. It’s your bed. Now, I have to ask — after bringing you back to that nightmare we are all living on a weekly basis — why are we putting ourselves through the Sunday night sleepover?
The answer is judgement. Maybe I convince the girl I’m dating that she wants no part of that fart bath. Maybe she agrees that starting your week by adding another hot, sweaty, emotionally unstable body to your already most uncomfortable sleep of the week isn’t such a good idea. But I’ll never convince her friends. The ones at brunch. The ones in their own relationships who are validated by sleepovers. The ones who remind themselves that their guy liking an Instagram picture of a girl he met years ago on spring break is totally fine because they touched his Ethiopian-baby-extended-stomach all night. They won’t just be fine with this news. If a girl I dated told her friends that I’d only sleep in the same bed from Thursday through Saturday, they’d all turn into detectives who are convinced I committed the crime. It would start with simple questions asking why I needed this to happen. Then, when those questions got reasonable responses, they would turn to questions about how I sleep and what I’m doing with my life when she isn’t around. Those questions turn to statements about their own relationships and how they’d never let that happen. Their fists all clench under the table as if to squeeze on the testicles they hope they own. Now, the girl I date questions. A completely normal reaction to their reactions. A simple request to feel comfortable in my body and mind has turned into something that’s divided our trust.
And why the insecurity? I can’t imagine anyone is so unreasonable to expect marriage-level intimacy from three dates, two blow jobs, and a brunch. Then, a night off — so to speak — should be a normal request, if not the very oxygen needed to stoke this sparking flame. When I was twenty years old, the rush and scent of naked new skin was a thing to write sonnets about. I could spend hours in every dimple and days where the butt met the back. I wouldn’t have dreamed of turning down the opportunity to bury my face in every possible crevasse (mainly one specific crevASS). Now I am a haggard old man of thirty. I still enjoy the feel of a woman in my bed — that warmth teetering on sweat — and my erections could still lift a small pail of water. But there are other things to inflame my senses: art, music, French films, masturbating alone. I just need those few nights a week to feel that my life is still my own. If you are a young woman offended by that, then you need to rethink your idea of love and relationships. Great marriages are never covalent bonds.
Someday, I want the luxury of looking across the room at my wife and seeing someone laughing and shining. I don’t, alternately, want to keep running my elbow into her every time I reach for the guacamole. Love is allowing enough space to come together. History may have told you that we should be together every night, but those were the hormonally-informed flaws of youth. You’re an adult, and it’s time to put aside your insecurities and celebrate the individuality that had me attracted to you in the first place. So, I’m going home. Let’s grab dinner on Thursday..