The half-night stand is the new one-night stand

Leave on a high


There is little to recommend the average one-night stand. If you’re lucky, you will recommend the sex;  more likely, you will judge it to be “better than had you not had sex”. The lack of familiarity with your subject (or, object) might signal freedom, but usually creates awkwardness at some point; waking up and remembering, only fleetingly, how you arrived to be there is more sobering than the water you didn’t drink last night because you didn’t know where the kitchen is.

But chiefly, sleeping near a stranger is disconcerting. Sharing a bed with anyone is intimate, and rarely pleasantly so. Up until the point of dozing – all you’re doing tonight is dozing – it felt mutually beneficial, but during the wakeful segments of half-light, looking around a stranger’s room myopically, you feel a little like this was a horrible, horrible mistake. The other person does not want you there either. You can be certain of this because you never want your one-night stand in your bed. It sounds transactional because it was.

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So leave – make this a half-night stand. A half-night stand means a late-night dash back to yours. Order an Uber and you can be on your way out five minutes after you’ve pulled your tights back on.  The wheels will purr silently through shadowy streets and in 25 minutes you’ll be in your bed with the sobering glass of water you’ll remember to get because you know where your own kitchen is.

It’s not slaggy and it’s not rude, because no one really wants to “snuggle” with a stranger – not really. And doing so means you won’t endure any of the following: the walk of shame (which is yet to make its successful rebrand to ‘stride of pride’); lying needing the loo for hours but worrying about waking them up; worrying you’re going to wet yourself because you need the loo and don’t want to wake them up; working out exactly when to leave in the morning; feeling like they want you to leave in the morning (they do); the bit where they don’t ask for your number and you feel fleetingly, pointlessly, sad, even though you don’t really want to see them again; your phone running out of battery on the bus home; seeing a sweet family on the bus and doing a sad smile to yourself because you know how sad your mum would be if she could see you right now; the xx coming on your playlist and remembering your ex-boyfriend and are you still enjoying being single anyway?

Of course you are: many relationships have their own, tedious PG versions of these moments. It’s just that the one-night stand makes you ask too many deep, essential questions; whereas a relationship distracts from the existential with its day-to-day tedium.

Sure, if you know and like the person, or it might go somewhere, or something unusually promising like that, then stay. You know what you’re doing – you have a hope of meaningful interaction in the real world. 

But otherwise, skipping out of there (stumbling out of there) at 4am seems like a bad idea only for the three minutes before your cab arrives. It’s like when you have boozy dinner at a mate’s and it gets late and it’s a weekday evening and for a minute, you contemplate staying and then realise you’d have to go to work in the same clothes and it’s only going to take you 40 minutes and you’d rather sleep in your bed than their inherited sofa bed.  Your friendship will endure this not-even-snub.

The decision is as simple as that. Reclaim casual sex – remove the awkward bits and you’re laughing. And not in the awkward, fake way you do when they make a half-joke about being “so drunk last night” at 8am. Leave on a high.