My first one-night stand was shortly after I moved to New York City. I didn’t lose my virginity until after high school, and since college was all about relationships, being in love, and the type of stuff you see in a John Hughes film, the opportunity never arose. It was also something that, in my mind, seemed like the worst possible situation in the world.
If we think about it, realistically, one-night stands really are one of the worst, or at the very least, most awkward situations in which to find yourself. You are having sex with a stranger, your bodies are as close as two bodies can possibly be without being in utero and, depending on how open you are, you’re likely to do some things that most people never get to witness. How many of your friends know what you look like when you come? Exactly.
That first one-night stand was horrible. I had met him at a bar while waiting for friends, we exchanged numbers and after my night came to an end, I texted him. He came over, we had sex, I tried to convince myself I enjoyed it, and when it was over I laid there wondering how long I had to pretend to be interested in his chatter before I kicked him out. A scene from When Harry Met Sally ran through my mind; the one where Harry is telling Sally that after he goes home with a woman he tries to figure out how long he has to hold her – “Is 30 seconds enough?” he asks. In my case, 30 seconds seemed like an eternity.
When he decided to go for round two, I rolled off the bed with the sheet wrapped around me and told him my roommate didn’t like random guests in the apartment, so he should leave. And left he did; I never saw him again.
Part of me felt great! I had scored! I had gotten laid, and done that one-night stand thing that I had seen in movies thousands of times. But then there was another part of me that was confused. I knew I’d never see him again, I didn’t care to see him again, and I struggled to wonder if in not caring that meant something about me. It was my first one-night stand after all, and you’re just not sure how to handle it.
Of course, that would not be my last. I say “of course,” because in the almost 10 years I’ve been in New York City, I’ve been single more than I’ve been in relationships, and that’s what single people do who are not “ready” for something “more.”
I’ve woken up hungover with a guy’s naked body draped over my hips, trapped under his weight while having to pee and not being able to make my exist, I’ve slipped out of apartments without a pair of underwear or bra because I didn’t have the energy to find them, and I have done that really fun thing where you pretend to be asleep while the person you took home makes their own escape. And each time, that whole leaving aspect, wasn’t any less awkward. In fact, as I became a pro at it, it became even more awkward because I had it down to a science. When something becomes second nature you start to wonder exactly what the purpose is behind something that has become so naturally inherent. My thoughts always go to “So this is it? This is all I get? Is that why I’m a master at it?”