Pillow Talk


What a quaint little phrase. It's the sort of phrase your average grandma would use. It makes you think of all the sort of sticky, glowy, cotton-candy sort of things that people like to apply to love and romance. As such it's very misleading because, quite frankly, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with sleep!

Now come on gang. When you see a couple in the corner at a party desperately trying to push the molecules in their lips together into a gestalt and someone remarks, "Oh yes, they're sleeping together," we all know full well what that someone means. They're screwing each other's miniscule BRAINS out!

They're probably a fairly new couple to be so frantically hormonal in the midst of a social gathering (if they're actually a more established pairing, well, good luck to 'em!). But as a result of this newness, they've probably been to whoever's place is the most suitable, had their fun and the one whose place it ISN'T has then trucked off home. Never in their wildest dreams have these two passionate participants suffered the rigours of actually sleeping together!

I mean, let's face it, the whole atmosphere of a sexual relationship changes when one of you is actually staying the night at the other's home. For a start it begins to take on a more permanent feel, (which also engenders a whole stack of other worries that we won't discuss here) and there's the overwhelming terror that the other person is going to see/smell/hear you during the most private and unguarded moments of your entire existence, i.e. first thing in the morning!

The first part of the evening is fairly straightforward. You make your merry way to bed for nookie promptly or luxuriously as is your wont. It's after you've both (hopefully) sighed in satisfaction and relaxed that the problems begin. If you've used a condom (and you should be) then the wearer of said party-hat may be feeling a bit sticky. It may not bother him, but I assure you, when he snuggles up behind you affectionately (points in his favour there!) and that inevitable layer of drying semen happily adheres his old fellah to the back of your leg, it'll sure as hell bother YOU!

If for some reason (good or bad) you haven't used a condom, oh my Gods, what a mess... We've all heard jokes about the "wet patch", and most of us who were screwing before AIDS raised its vicious head have experienced the sudden post-coital leakage first hand. Now the question that always plagued me was, "Why, oh why can't all the damn stuff leak out at once?" But, ohhhhh hides up there, I'm certain of it. And then, just as you've settled down and shut your peepers there's that strange, gooey, drippy feeling on your thighs as it squeezes out and trickles away. Now, if the significant other had followed sensible procedure and sodded off home, you could happily grab some tissues or run to the bathroom for a towel. And in a more established relationship you could still do so. But remember we're assuming that this is a new-ish romance, and everyone's still trying to put their best side forward. So the indecorous problem of leaky loins takes on a whole new dimension, especially when the damn stuff goes cold!

Okay, so after you've made the excuse that you need to go to the bathroom and scuttled madly in there before the leftover semen makes it all the way down your legs, you return to the bed. Do you believe that one man can take up an entire queen-size? One of mine could. I'd leave for five minutes and return to find all six-foot of him spread-eagled across the mattress (usually diagonally).

This Queen size bed of mine was acquired during a three year stint of living in sin with a lovely, but ultimately incompatible fellow. I am indebted to this fellow not only for giving me a secure environment in which to grow, but allowing me to get my claws (figuratively in this instance) into this enormous bed! Usually it contains myself, my cats and whatever project I was working on that evening. But on the occasions when it's my place instead of his, it's a veritable godsend. I mean, raise your hand if you've ever spent a night with two people squeezed into a single bed. Yes, I thought so. Oh, it's all very cosy and intimate, to be sure, and eventually you'll be able to doze off, but then you wake up in the morning you're either pouring with sweat and have no room to retreat, or you're half frozen because the single bedclothes aren't made to cover both of you.

There is, of course, the age old problem of snoring. I have reason to suspect that I'm guilty of this one myself (mildly I hope!) and I've not, as luck would have it, slept with a fellow who snores especially loudly. My housemate Tony, on the other hand, manages to reverberate through his closed bedroom door, down ten feet of hallway and through my (also closed) door. It's a good thing his lady is a heavy sleeper or they may never have managed to marry! There's been comedy sketches and T.V. commercials and all sorts of stuff done on snoring, so there's really not much left to say. The best way to deal with it, I've been told, is to poke him with your elbow till he wakes, then go to sleep quickly before he settles down again!

I can't help but wonder if I've avoided snoring men as some form of compensation for the kind of night-noises that I have encountered. I have a tendency, you see, to find men who talk in their sleep. Some mildly, some very plainly and coherently. Nathan would chat happily about shopping so clearly that it took me ages to realise he wasn't awake. Steve would mutter and slur, sometimes coming out with an intelligible word ("fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck!" was his favourite). Warren occasionally sang. And nocturnal conversation from Jamie goes "Mmmmm? Mmmmm? Uh..Mmmmm."

Now, I'm forever thankful that I've not been privy to anything incriminating during these REM sleep monologues... no other women's names or state secrets... but it is a little annoying that they tend to come out with these half-coherent ramblings just as I'm drifting off to sleep. Not enough gets through for me to recognise what they're saying (oh, except for Nathan who keeps going) but it usually succeeds in snapping me from comfortable almost-sleep back to full wakefulness. And then they usually clam up until I'm dozing off again!

The final episode of sleeping together is, of course, the next morning. How many of us make use of our morning trip to the bathroom to comb our hair and brush our teeth before our bedfellow awakes? Yeah, me too. It's also a good chance to make sure that last night's mascara isn't sailing to China over your cheekbones!

So, enough said. "Sleeping together" can be a very misleading term. Its implications are sexual and romantic, but the reality can be annoying, frustrating, uncomfortable and very, very trying. There is also absolutely nothing that beats, after that morning bathroom excursion, climbing back into bed to a half-asleep cuddle and an early-morning hard-on!

Pleasant dreams!