• Kate Neilson

Etiquette class 101: How to have a polite one night stand

You’ve done the hard yards. You spent hours trying to impress that hot stranger at the bar last night. You were on your A game, laughed in all the right places, maintained just enough eye contact without looking creepy and you managed the art of subtly touching their body to let them know you’re interested, but again, without being a creep.

It was a success! You both finished your drinks and headed home in the taxi together. Clothes were discarded and your night of steamy, stranger loving was off with a bang (excuse the pun). The hard part is done now, right? Wrong.

Waking up next to a stranger that you’ve recently shared bodily fluids with is one of the most awkward experiences you will ever encounter. Sure, last night they were no stranger to you. The two of you, momentarily, were very close. But in the morning, when you roll over and see them there, tangled between your sheets, things start to look a little different.

No one ever tells you what to do in this situation. So, I’ve comprised a few tips to help ease the pain of rolling over in the morning and seeing... what’s his name again?

Don’t leave a note on the pillow

If you’re staying at their place: This person has been kind enough to let you share their bed. Sure, you were nice enough to let them share your body, but the least you can do is wait for them to wake up. You’ve probably woken up suddenly, in a haze of confusion, and, if we’re being honest, you’re likely quite hungover. The last thing you feel like doing is pretending to be asleep for the next hour while they’re next to you in a deep post-coital slumber, but you can’t really get up and rummage through their stuff now, can you?

Physically, no, you may not rummage. There is, however, no harm in having a little sticky beak from underneath the doona. Take this time to scan around the room. Check out what this person is like. You can tell a lot about a person by the state of their room. Do you have a similar taste in books? Music? What kinds of things are on their walls? Do you see a video camera set up in the corner? Dear God! Take that tape and get the hell out of there!

If they’re staying at your place: It’s polite for you to try and be the first person to wake up, otherwise they’ll be that person lying uncomfortably in your bed that morning, trying to sift through your dirty pile of clothes on the floor for their underwear. Consider setting an alarm the night before to avoid this problem.

If they’re not intent on waking up, try letting off a few soft coughs or rolling in towards them. This will gently awake them and you can go from there. Always greet them with a smile and say something like “well, last night was fun”.

Be hospitable

If they’re staying at your place: You’ve committed to this one night stand, so it’s important you pull through until the end. Make sure you make the other person feels welcome in your house. Most likely you won’t be seeing them again, so what’s the harm in making them a cup of tea?

You should also definitely offer them a shower! There’s nothing worse than feeling un-clean in someone else's house and they probably won’t feel comfortable asking for one themselves. Make it easy for them – tell them you’ve laid a towel out in the bathroom for them and, while they’re washing away, maybe consider whipping up something delicious in the kitchen.

If you’re staying at their place: You’re probably feeling a little awkward being in unknown territory. Your host is probably feeling just as weird. Granted, they’re on home territory, but keep in mind that you’re both going to be a little timid.

Help ease the tension by making a joke. If they offer you something, don’t be shy to say yes! Especially if it’s a lift home. If you have no idea where you are, getting home can be a little tricky. Your phone is on two per cent battery and you spent all of your ‘cab’ money last night, when you and your friends were scraping your shrapnel together to buy a few kebabs. Take the lift – nobody’s got the time for being lost after a one night stand.

Clarify the situation

This one goes for both situations: Often, when you bring someone home you or go to somebody’s for a one night stand, you don’t really get the chance to sit down and talk about ‘what this is going to mean’. You’re too busy trying to undo your belt or kick your shoes off. You’re too caught up in the storm of passion to consider any implications.

So, it’s kind of important to clarify if last night was indeed a one off before the other person leaves. For all you know, the other person could have liked you for months and by taking them home, they think you like them, too. Now, I’m not saying that you should tell every one night stand that you’re not interested in seeing them again, but don’t give out false hope.

This means only asking for their number if you intend on contacting them. Only say you’d like to ‘do this again’ if you mean it, and don’t invite them to spend the day with you, unless you really want to get to know them. All most people want is honesty. If you leave things open ended, you’ll most likely come across as a dickhead.

So, if you’re not interested in pursing them or making into anything else than one great night, then simply say this, “It was really nice meeting you, I had a great time”. Oh, and use condoms.

Image: Alex Jack


Kate Neilson is a twenty-something list maker and booty shaker. She enjoys rainy days in bed and hot bowls of soup. She is the creator of Twenty Something Humans.

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