Don’t get me wrong, I adore waking up to my boyfriend’s adorable sleeping face. Most days. Yes, I love feeling his warmth against me as he peacefully dreams, and all that mushy shit. But, let’s be real here. Those memes that paint the picture that love is sleeping like you’re one big romantic pretzel are bullshit.
Let’s be honest, here. I’m going to paint a true portrait of what it’s like to share the same bed with someone.
First, I’m going to break it down to how sleeping with your significant other changes during the different stages of your relationship.
In the beginning, during that fateful “first sleep”, you don’t actually sleep. Instead, you lay perfectly still so as to not wake the other person. You don’t want to portray, so early on, that you sleep like an epileptic Tasmanian Devil. Not yet. Additionally, you fail to sleep because you must concentrate on never opening your mouth. No one likes a mouth breather, especially after you’ve had chicken cesear salad for dinner.
Not only must you keep your mouth odor to yourself, you can’t, for a second, allow your body to relax. You don’t want your bowels to believe it’s “a go” to expel any gas. Farting on your first night together, especially if your fart smells like hot salad, would be the absolute worst thing to happen.
Eventually, you relax enough to actually sleep and you feel euphoric that you shared such an intimate, beautiful thing together. Cuddling sometimes occurs, as does morning kisses. Either you don’t smell each other’s breath, because you both secretly brushed your teeth prior to “waking up”, or you’re too happy to care your breath smells like something died.
Somehow, your communal sleeping habits move from nose-breathing picturesque statue and sickeningly romantic, to something so ugly. So scary.
When my boyfriend and I first started dating, I was so scared to pop the fart cherry. You know, getting past that first fart in front of the same person you don’t let know you pluck hairs from your chin? It was so scary, and so painful. If the gas was too intense, I would pretend I left something in my car, so that I could go outside to let them fly. I recall a time when he, too, used to be embarrassed to fart in my presence and would actually say, “Oh! Excuse me!” Gone are those days.
Like easing up on farting in each other’s presence, so has our sleeping-with-someone-new-rituals. Nose breathing all night long is just not realistic, so full-on-gaping-mouth breathing complete with drool is what’s happening now. You don’t really know someone until you’ve smelled breakfast, lunch, and dinner on their breath.
The idea to write on this topic came the other night when, while rolling over, I almost lost an eye to the corner of my boyfriend’s man-sized pillow. It’s this behemoth down pillow with really poky corners, sharp as tacks. I secretly think that’s how he’s going to do me in. Who will ever be charged with murder by pillow corner?
As I laid there, feeling grateful I still had two eyes, I pondered how the way we sleep is the direct opposite of how every “love meme” says its done. As I listened to his even breathing, mixed in with a fart here, and a fart there, I wondered how we got past that too-embarrassed-to-be-a-real-human stage. I figured it all comes down to the fact that it hurts to hold farts in, and breathing your morning breath into someone’s face, is just another way of saying, “I love you”.
When your relationship has made it past the first, surreal, romantic “get a room” months, sleeping gets real and it gets ugly. If you can honestly say you or your significant other has not farted in bed, laughed, and said, “I was just warming up the bed for you, because I’m romantic as shit”, you’re a fucking liar. If you don’t wake up looking like Amy Winehouse, after a binge, you’re an alien. If you still sleep with your mouth as far away from your lover as possible, give it up. Pretty sleep is no way to live. I don’t love my boyfriend any less because I recoil when his frigid toes touch me in the night. He doesn’t find me less attractive even when dried drool cakes my eye shut. We both understand we don’t have to sleep like horny teenagers to be in love. “Ugly sleep” wins over shitty “pretty sleep” every time.
We all wish we looked like Snow White while sleeping. Just like having Kylie Jenner “asshole lips” is unrealistic, so is looking pretty while snoring.