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I think I want to sleep with my girlfriends more often. Just hear me out.
Today I woke up with a familiar anxiety that has come to plague my mornings more often than not. I have never been anxious, nor have I experienced any serious type of anxiety (save for the day my parents found my illegal MySpace page) until these past few months. Blame it on the uncertainty of my professional future or the increasing body count in the battle that is my love life, but my first year back in LA has been riddled with mornings of waking up in cold sweats with a side of racing pulse and momentary paralysis.
This morning was no different. I opened my eyes and, when faced with the day, started to feel my chest tighten. I rolled over as if to physically shake the scared little girl from my psyche – only to see another body in my bed.
Picture Chloe: She has jet black hair, the kind girls talk shit about because they’re so jealous, and freckles for days. When she smiles, people react similarly to how they would when tagged in an adorable dog gif, and her New York accent is just faint enough to be overwhelmingly endearing.
I had completely forgotten that my she had crashed at my apartment. After six or seven whiskey sours with her co-workers at a bar in my neighborhood, she did the responsible thing and broke into my place, slid fully clothed into my bed, and passed out instead of driving home.
After the initial shock of thinking there was a nightwalker under the covers with me, I can’t explain to you the overwhelming sense of relief that flooded my body.
It was totally different than the feeling of waking up with a romantic companion. This sense of relief felt different than simply filling a void with physical interaction – the naked tango if you will. Chloe wasn’t rubbing my lower back or whispering sweet nothings in my ear with hot morning breath. She was just there, filling space with her space.
Something about having a platonic friend in the bed with me slowed my pulse and made me feel less alone. I looked over and saw a girl that loved me but didn’t need anything from me, someone that was equally as sleepy and groggy and was just as obliged to face the day, one foot in front of the next.
I didn’t need to touch her, or talk to her even. In fact, I think we exchanged a total of twenty words all morning. Like 8 a.m. after a night out – no one speaks but everyone understands each other’s pain.
On my commute, I couldn’t help thinking that I wished she would sleep over more often. I reminisced on sleepovers as a kid, all squeezing into one double bed. My senior year of high school I was so stressed about college acceptance I would crawl into my parents’ bed before sunrise. My mom would physically wrap herself around me, just so I could get emotionally prepared for the day. I never told anyone this, of course, as my toxic desire to seem so flawlessly pulled together was still fully active.
Up until leaving college and starting my kind-of adult life, I slept with platonic friends on a regular basis. While on the flip side, this year (decidedly one of the most confusing years of my life) my nights have been almost completely devoid of friend sleepovers.
I’ll be honest. The only time this year I have really slept with a platonic friend is when I would sneak into my roommate’s bed late at night. Emboldened by a few glasses of wine and stressed to a point of crippling insomnia, I would sneak into his room like a robber during a heist. The times I did this he would silently wrap his arms around me, and things would feel okay. Even though doing this felt so natural, like one friend comforting another, I would none the less sneak out in the morning and we wouldn’t speak of it again. Was I embarrassed? Was he?
There is a vulnerability that comes with sleeping with somebody, I’m sure it stems from our animal ancestors – a kind of primal aversion to leaving yourself unprotected. But with this vulnerability comes a feeling of closeness, a safe place to share the burden of the world that has nothing to do with sex.
Why then, does it feel so uncomfortable, the idea of asking someone to sleep with you? Almost as if inviting someone into your adult bed, unless it is to bump nasties, is like admitting defeat.
Well, then I suppose it is defeat I’ll admit. Sometimes the darkness seems all consuming and having a sleeping buddy would really make me feel better. We pick our friends because they make us feel good and loved, they make this life worth living, experiences worth having, and hangovers worth tolerating – so maybe, just maybe, if we opened up our minds a bit they could make the scary nights worth baring?
Sleepover anyone? I’m accepting applications. .