Pick up any book, read any magazine, or watch any movie targeted toward single women, and you’ll pick up a handful of tips on places to find a potential boyfriend: at sports bars, in the frozen food aisle, at closing time at the Laundromat. But they always overlook the man that could be right underneath you: the guy you accidentally brought home last weekend after a makeout session at the bar. Yes, the guy you spent the night with could actually be the one you spend your life with. It happened to me.
My senior year of college, after completing the first issue of the school paper, of which I was editor-in-chief, I hosted a party for the staff in my apartment. Afterwards, we all decamped to the student center in a boozy haze.
Then, one small, innocuous thing changed my life forever: I had to go to the bathroom. On my way back, I ran into this scruffy guy from my English class, or, as I should’ve known him, my fiction editor, the only member of my staff I forgot to invite to my party. I stopped him and apologized. We ended up chatting for awhile: minute one, his hand was on the edge of the railing of the wheelchair ramp I was resting on but by minute thirty, it was around my waist.
Scruffy guy and I went back to my room. We stayed up all night, talking and not talking, and, completely unexpectedly, I had a lot of fun.
This is why one night stands are awesome. You don’t think they’ll last, so you’re totally open about yourself. I got to know my future boyfriend really well on that fateful night, mainly because I barraged him with questions, rapid fire style, because that’s my natural way to getting to know someone. I didn’t care that I could be coming off as nosy or aggressive or like a census worker. I didn’t even consider toning it down. I had no plans to impress him.
You’re also totally open about yourself sexually. Again, it’s not someone you like or that you’re really invested in, so you’re not afraid to ask for exactly what you want: harder, slower, on top of the covers with the lights off and no talking. You’re more likely to suggest something new if you’re not worried about him thinking that it’s weird, because you don’t think you’ll ever see him again. That’s why I always did my one-night stands in the name of science.
Planning the second time you hang out is a lot less awkward after you’ve already seen each other naked. Hopefully it’s on the street, or in class, or somewhere where there’s no rush to sit down and talk it out. You’ve knocked out a bunch of silly introductory things anyway. You’ve already asked him to give it to you like he means it. Is it really that hard to ask for his phone number?
These encounters are a total confidence hike and you remember just how good-looking you are. This is not one of those things where someone has assessed your personality, your background, your treatment of the waiter, and your choice in movies and decided that, based on a variety of factors, that they would like to pursue you. Someone looked at you, liked what they saw, and went for it. Remember that next time you think no one will ever love your pointy elbows.
There are lots of articles denigrating one night stands, encouraging people to go for them but insisting that they not fall in love. Well, I didn’t fall in love with my one-night stand: I fell in love with the guy who asked if he could stay and make me breakfast that first night, who invited me over to his room to chat later that week, who genuinely seemed interested in my summer internship, and who took me out on a date and thought I was cute and a little clumsy when I was really just drunk (don’t pre-game dates, guys). After our second date, we came back to my apartment and started talking about how much fun we had together. He finally steered the conversation toward commitment.
I was briefly disappointed (I had bet my roommates that he’d use my upcoming birthday as a vehicle to ask me out, and I was down a taco), but was overall relieved and elated. I warned him: “You know this is who I am, right? You know I don’t get any better than this?” He liked me anyway. He left and I went to bed, blissful and excited about my new relationship.
The day before Valentine’s Day, I was in a line for a romance-themed event on Crosby Street, in Manhattan. A television reporter scanned the line, caught my enthusiastic/crazy-murderer eyes screaming “I love attention!” He asked me why I was in line, if I was in a relationship, and what I was doing for Valentine’s Day. His last question: “So what advice do you have for all the people out there looking for love?”
“I don’t know,” I answered. “Get drunk and make out with the scruffy guy in your English class?”
Behind me, in line, someone yelled, “I’m scruffy.”
Ladies, he’s out there waiting. And he might have already spent the night.
Jazmine Hughes and her boyfriend still stay up all night, talking and not talking, in the apartment they share together in Brooklyn.