How to survive waking up in a stranger’s bed on Valentine’s Day

It’s not what you’re expecting

Picture the scene. It’s the 13th of February. Driven to drink by the big, empty void in your heart a loving partner would usually fill, you’ve resigned yourself to eternal loneliness and hit the clubs, hoping to numb the pain with bad, meaningless sex. Fast forward through a few double vodkas and some tequila slammers, then maybe a couple of tinnies and a cheeky line of ProPlus, and your memories starts to fade into black…

…Sunlight burns through your eyelids. Disoriented, you reach around for your phone. Five per cent battery. “Happy Valentine’s Day!” reads the automatic notification from your calendar, its gently mocking cheeriness cutting into your soul. With rising fear you turn toward the other side of a very unfamiliar bed and see another very real human being, naked. The only thing lying between you is an empty condom wrapper, the sole evidence of the great sin you’ve committed.

It may seem like there’s no way out, but try and stay calm. To guide you through the supreme awkwardness of spending a day usually reserved for love and affection with someone whose name you can’t even remember, here are a few one hundred per cent proven survival strategies.

The ‘Rom-com romance’

100 per cent not Photoshopped

This one’s tricky to pull off, but very rewarding if you do. First off, you have to look like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, or maybe Matthew McConaughey – or if you’re a girl, look like Zooey Deschanel/Kirsten Dunst/any other super quirky manic pixie dreamgirl walking cliché. If this applies, you and your partner will be able to engage in some witty repartee about the strange yet hilarious situation you find yourselves in, and in a running time of about 90 minutes move from an original position of cute awkwardness to an eventual loving relationship – though watch out for the traumatic event that’ll hit you about two-thirds of the way through.

Ok, I’ll admit, I was kidding about this first one. You’re ugly. The relationships in your life are never going to play out like they’ve been scripted by Richard Curtis. Ryan Gosling is never going to write you every day for a year.

The ‘propose and pray’

Nothing says it better

Let’s be realistic, more couples meet at university than any other single place, and thus far you’ve not been getting much action – currently your chances of happiness are looking pretty slim. So why not avoid the risk of living life like a eunuch and throw your lot in with whoever you’re lying next to? Chances are this is about as good as it gets.

So quickly – before your beloved awakes, run downstairs and scan the shelves for suitable breakfast in bed ingredients. If it comes to it, just put some of the leftover kebab from last night onto a plate and draw a ketchup heart around it – it’s the thought that counts. While you’re at it, rifle through a few drawers to try and find out the name of your mysterious lover: you’ll be amazed how much closer you’ll feel to them once you know what they’re called.

The classic ‘You’ve been in a coma and I’m actually your boyfriend/girlfriend’ line

Bit left-field, this one, but stay with me. If you both drank enough the night before and you fancy yourself a convincing liar, why not work up a few tears and, when they awaken, inform them there was an accident, they’ve just now miraculously revived, and that you are their long-suffering partner. Memory loss is to be expected, you say, but hopefully together you’ll be able to rebuild the foundations of a relationship that had previously been so strong.

“But,” I hear you say, “that’s ridiculously far to go just to avoid some mild awkwardness!” And yes, maybe you’re right, but a) social anxiety is a bitch and b) I have a word count to hit, and trying to be funny is really hard, so fuck you.

The ‘Get up and run’

Vaseline’s always there to give you a helping hand

Not specific to Valentine’s Day, but a classic that’s always effective. Laugh in the face of any romantic pretensions by throwing on your sweaty, soiled underwear, grabbing the possessions you’ve scattered over the floor, and fleeing the scene faster than Usain Bolt.

If you’re still feeling amorous maybe stop off at the shops for some shitty chocolates and have yourself a nice silky-smooth bit of self-loving when you get home. After all, who knows you better than your own hand?

The ‘Almost at the end of the article but needs more words’ filler subheading

Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you’ve made it this far, well done. By now you’ve probably realised that most of the “survival strategies” here are more attempts at humour than attempts at advice. I mean let’s be honest, faced with a scenario in which you woke up in a stranger’s bed on Valentine’s Day, you’d probably just make polite small talk, gather your things, and leave.

But that’s not going to write a fucking article now, is it? There aren’t many shiny fucking golden comedy nuggets you can extract from asking someone what course they do over a weak cup of tea. Anyways, that brings me nicely on to …

The ‘Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre’

Romance is truly dead

Disclaimer: this one’s a bit of a last resort. Driven mad by the realisation that you’ll never  find that special someone, you can use this poetically ironic day to take out your rage Al Capone style (what better way to healthily vent your anger than to put a few innocents to the sword.) So grab any nearby object and paint the walls red: a perennial loner like you has nothing to lose.

After all, you don’t have to survive waking up in a stranger’s bed on Valentine’s Day if they don’t either!