One Night Only!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

For some, the most dreaded proposition of all times in the world is getting to hear, "Can I ask you for a favour?". However, the standard club rules don't apply here and for me, "Why don't you spend the night with me?" brings out the worst in me. Now, before you launch into, "This is 2015 and the age of condoms", I don't really mean the act of intimacy alone. Intimacy can be defined as fornicating with someone and spending the night after (the fine difference between making love and fucking- the proposition makes the difference) but not restricting it to that. It also includes a large spectrum of situations and conditions, including that of pretty much removing me from my room, for an evening under any circumstance- be it for a vacation or a night out. This comprises of several components. Firstly, the fact that I can't be in the comfort of my house and in my room, and secondly, facing the morning after. This is the worst possible deal you can get because it not only means showing your bed head to someone but also, getting to see theirs. I know, I know, dramatic Snobster, can wake up early and do the walk of shame or meet the person for breakfast or never, or for that matter, request a separate bedroom or some such.


This phobia or almost phobia of leaving my bedroom and sharing with someone else is the result of growing up as a single child. Mentally. You do things by yourself and keep it to yourself long enough in your adulthood to make yourself condition to having grown up as a single child. Although, my younger sibling and I spend a large chunk of our evening in physical proximity, we are mentally twice removed from each other. Come to think of it, this 'space' too is the most intimate thing to share with anyone. This idea of spending the night is not restricted to copulation or being in the washroom while the other person sits outside, but it's about facing the other person when you're completely in your skin. Several relationships go downhill or head for the end due to the personal habits/ablutions of the significant other. In my case, it's the ultimate act of trusting anyone and giving into submission if I do end up spending the night somewhere. Not only do you get to experience how strangely I breathe at night but also wake up to bad breath in the morning and possibly half zombie-half human face of mine in the state of utter dishevelment. If I can get goosebumps looking at my face in the mirror, trust me, you wouldn't want to see it.

Naturally, in my adulthood, this has become a major pain in the butt cheek of celebrations. Going to Gurgaon for night outs mean spending the night at someone's house in NCR, which results in the cancellation of my attendance and consequently, several friendships. I look back and think of the night I spent at Sohna Road, a couple of months ago, at a friend's flat for this birthday. I remember convincing myself to not pass out on his couch. Same reason, the discomfort of finding myself in complete lack of control at an unknown space where I wake up to horror- people looking over my face and wondering where did this exhibit come from. Besides the fact, the host offered me a choice of two bedrooms, I cringed at the people at one and made a face after looking at the other. Last I remember, a couple walked in on me at 7 am, stoned and hungover from hell (me), them amazed to find me eating Smiles while watching OC. Everyone, including the birthday boy had passed out/crashed by then. Most people had left. I did my early morning ugly-face walk of shame at 8 am vowing never to party again in my life. It comes to me as no surprise, I was never included in any plan hosted in that household by that certain friend ever again. I don't think he acknowledges my presence now, but we'll leave it to see at this year's birthday of his.

The other most prominent build up of the year was in Pune, where I was away from home with no choice but crashing elsewhere and waking up to foreign faces. I shared a room with a colleague and thankfully, since we were the first ones to arrive, we requested for single beds in a room, so that we wouldn't wake up to each other's face (gross, really). The other thing that was a constant in Pune was that I'd wake up early, barring one hungover morning. The evening is what I'd like to talk about here.

I was invited to a party at my friend's campus, about 2 kms away from my hotel. After an entire evening of dilly-dallying, a friend and I decided to give in and go. While the entire evening deserves a long, intimate post in its own (in case I haven't done), I was propositioned by several people, to spend the night. Naturally, with or without the Indian hospitality, 3 am is no time for a girl in India to walk alone on the road to her hotel, in a different city and the other, concerning a night only share of love. Some of these propositions were offered out of concern while the others out of the need to know each other before the blue sky cleared into a golden morning. Mornings never bring intimacy. They bring a ray of reality and that kinda sucks balls. Naturally, I was facing a situation. "Can I spend the night with stranger(s) where I will be forced to behave in a socially acceptable way of sleeping in a certain way? Do I have to pretend to not be freaked out when I don't find the mattress comfortable or the bedding clean? Must I have to borrow boxers from the man I met one hour ago?" defined my inner slurring monologue which was high as diamond in the sky (never quite got that besides The Beatles but okay). The instinctive reaction to this situation is my conditioned reply-

"I'm sorry, but I am not carrying my toothbrush. I have to go back."

The conversation proceeds,

"Don't be silly. I'll buy you a toothbrush in the morning."

or alternatively,

"I have an extra toothbrush in my room/at my home. I'll give it to you."

Okay, fuck. They're being super sweet. And, kind. Also resourceful. Standard troubleshooting reply, spit.

"Haha, you know I brush at night. I won't be able to sleep without it. Anyway, don't bother. Look, *points in the opposite direction* Adnan Sami!"

*proceeds to run as fast as possible, never to return*

While the aforementioned conversation is generally how the evening steers, there have been times when I couldn't have helped it. That night in Pune, as my drunk friend and I walked out of the campus, Retweaked remarked at the entrance of the campus, "There's a white man and a girl walking out at 3:3o am. If they make it alive, it would be a miracle." It was really a miracle then, that we found an auto driver, willing to drive us till our hotel and my roommate gave me the stink eye when I returned that night. I'd achieved nothing, but the satisfaction of sleeping in my (hotel) bed and brushing my teeth and waking up in my own bed wear was worth the risk and the heartbreak. You're advised to not pull such stunts, really. This might draw the conclusion that I can't do unprepared evenings, but no matter how prepared an evening is, I cannot pull myself out of my bedroom to spend the night with someone else. Or for that matter alone.

Growing up pain is having your trust broken at night outs. This one time at my advisor's place, where you could not have pulled an Adnan Sami or a Deleuze, I was made to wait the entire night on that toothbrush. Only, it ended up in a cat nap taken by my advisor and an all-nighter by me, without my oral hygiene routine. In all these cases of not being able to brush followed by, being at ease- knowing I was in a radius of 15 kms away from the house; I've always rushed out of the host's house at 6-7 am. This, by the way, includes my own birthday party last year, hosted at my friend's. She was kind enough to lend my friends and I here house, including having us all over. Naturally, I needed my bedroom the most. I was home and in my bed by 7:30 am.

Sadly, as I grow older, I find myself incapable of thinking if I can ever share my bed with anyone- friend, lover, parent or sibling. It comes out of having the comfort of knowing you're not troubling anyone. Preparedness of a night-out is akin to preparedness in the case of a disaster. You have to wake up, face their parents, friends and others and be in a socially acceptable outfit. This will be followed by facing the sunlight and the walk of pride/shame, depending on what you were upto the night before. As I think about doing it tomorrow night at some point of no return in Gurgaon, I find myself coming up with these ridiculous excuses ready to can the evening out:

"Hi, I've lost my toothbrush. Can I meet you some other time in Delhi?"

"So, I've decided to take a cab home at some point post-midnight to test my luck, because I kinda have a problem of waking up next to anyone I'm not used to. Also, I can't pull an all-nighter because I have work to do next morning."

"Um, can we celebrate your birthday with your farewell next month?"

"I've an assignment/exam to prepare for. Sorry! :("

"My imaginary boyfriend and I are on the verge of a breakup. We need to sort it out. Can I hang with you next week or so?"

"Can I not show up because I have nothing to wear?"

Now, before you recommend suggestions to can the evening out, I request you to look at the clean bedding you sleep in and consider exchanging that in order to spending the night with anyone, just for your convenience. That 'ABC' entity means the world's best wishes but leaving the comfort of your bed slash room slash mattress slash air conditioner slash quilt slash bed slash bedside charger slash extra set of boxers slash washroom with your favourite tiles is not worth any nightout ever.

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