Friday, May 28, 2010


There are a lot of rules of behavior floating around that completely baffle me. For instance, I don't understand why an invitation to a wedding obligates me to get a gift for someone if I choose not to go. Isn't the rule that you should buy a wedding gift to make up for the exorbitant amount of money that they've spent on your dinner? Well, they aren't buying me dinner, so I don't see why I should buy them a present. This goes double for any kind of baby or wedding shower, which are (in my somewhat limited experience) black holes for people to just throw money into. However, for all of the rules of etiquette that are useless, there appear to be large areas where there is no established guidelines.

I've been dating Vinay for about three months now. Things are going well, but there is one area where we just can't seem to see eye-to-eye: going to sleep. I first realized that we might be heading for a rocky future when, on one of the first nights we spent together, there was a rainstorm. My reaction was "Hooray!" His reaction was "Ah, crap!" I curled up, happily listening to the rain hit the air conditioner outside...Vinay put in his ear plugs in a vain attempt to drown out same. I routinely hope for rain while I'm trying to sleep...I practically have a Pavlovian response when a thunderstorm hits. "Crack!" goes the thunder, "snore!" goes Paul. Vinay, on the other hand, lives in fear. A drizzle will make him tense. A steady rain is worth a night's sleep. Give him a thunderstorm, and he's speed-dialing the pharmacy in hopes of some Ambien. We've managed to work through this little disparity...though the constant use of noise-deadening ear stoppers has caused some conversations to end with the statement "Take out your ear plugs. TAKEOUTYOUREARPLUGS!!!"

However, while we prefer different levels of white noise while trying to sleep, there are deeper issues that I think Miss Manners might want to weigh in on. For instance, I'm a warm person. I don't mean that I'm friendly to strangers (we all know that's a laugh), I mean that on any given day my body radiates heat at the approximate level of a white dwarf star. This means that a) I have EXTREMELY low tolerance for any kind of added heat around my person, and b) should I be over-heated, it's in all people's best interest to clear the area until I cool off. Hose me down if necessary...get out the hose like I'm going into County, I don't care, just bring an end to the droplets of sweat sliding down my back as fast as possible. Vinay, unfortunately, has a much lower natural temperature. Some people claim that his temperature is more "normal" than mine, but those are probably the people who say inane things like "cold hands, warm heart." More like "cold hands, sub-par circulation, why don't you get some gloves?" But I digress.

Since our internal temperatures don't match we have quite the problem when trying to sleep, which can be boiled down to a simple statement. My boyfriend likes to cuddle and I don't. Vinay would cuddle all night if he could; he's Snuggleupagus. Unfortunately, he had he bad judgment to enter into a relationship with me, and I'm perfectly happy to pretend the person physically closest to me when I'm sleeping is on a separate bed. In Siberia. What are the rules for this dilemma? Surely if someone will tell me that I have a year to send out thank-you notes after a wedding (and, honestly, who came up with that? I call bullshit), someone has thought to address this issue. And yet, I can find no assistance. As for now, Vinay has yielded the fight. Perhaps mainly because he doesn't enjoy going to sleep next to his boyfriend, and waking up next to someone that would probably most closely be described as a nasty, vicious bastard who would shank Mother Teresa for one good blast of air conditioning.

We went to Chicago for a weekend, and our sleeping issues came to a head in the Windy City. Friday night came around, and Vinay had indulged in a bit more wine than I had that night. Hence, when the time came to fall asleep, I was prepared to gently drift off in a red wine-induced haze; Vinay was prepared to pass out in a red wine-induced coma. Cut to about 4 am, when I awoke and needed to use the restroom. However, I had more pressing matters, as I found myself with the top 25% of my body completely off the bed, and my 6-inches-taller-than-me boyfriend sprawled on top of me. I really can't be sure if this was a case of snuggling gone wrong or pure, unadulterated ignorance of my presence, but regardless, it woke me up. When you open your eyes and see nothing but floor in front of your face it's a bit jarring.

I quickly took stock of the situation and realized two things. One, I was completely pinned, and could see no way to free my hands to gain any kind of leverage. And two, when I politely told him to move so I could get back on the bed, he didn't hear me because HE WAS WEARING EAR PLUGS. After letting out a string of curses that probably should have scorched the carpet, I resorted to trying to inch my way back on the bed enough that I could get my hands free and heave my still-dead-asleep beau off of me. I can only imagine that I looked like a turtle flipped onto it's back. A few squirms later, I managed to clear enough mattress to give a good heave, and the sleeping angel flopped over onto his back, giving me enough space to get my full body back on to solid bed. Relieved, I slid backwards and prepared to get up to use the bathroom.

Unfortunately, my slide back was enough to cause a Snuggleupagus attack. Upon contact, his subconscious mind reacted and decided to spoon. One moment I was relieved not be teetering on the edge of a face-plant, the next I was right back where I started, flattened in a precarious position. And I still had to pee. I adjusted my strategy and tried to wiggle forward, out from underneath, and this time had a hand free to keep me from eating floor. Once I got loose, I hoped that Vinay would readjust while I relieved myself. Luckily, when I got back to bed a patch of pillow had opened up and I quickly claimed it, firmly ensconcing myself onto the bed again.

Now, I realize that Vinay is not to blame in this scenario. He was, after all, unconscious. That being said, as anyone who has ever lived with me will tell you, screwing around with my sleep is not the best way to put me into a friendly mood. The following morning, he awoke a bit before I did, and tentatively reached across the de-militarized zone that I requested be kept between us at all costs while asleep. He touched my shoulder and I jerked away from him so violently he probably thought he had electrocuted me. He scooted closer in an attempt to get in a morning snuggle, and I whipped around and faced him in the fetal position. "That's not a good cuddling position..." he offered. "I know!" I snarled back, with all the charm of a rabid wolverine. Understandably a bit bewildered at his reception, he retreated and allowed me to exhaust my morning venom before attempting to speak again.

After I was awake, I explained to him what had happened the night before, all of which was complete news to him. My two valiant struggles for freedom, the cursing, the yelling about earplugs...nothing had registered. Luckily, he has a sense of humor and didn't take my morning impression of a vengeance demon personally. We have a few temporary solutions for our temperature differential, including me sleeping atop the covers while he's underneath, but the basic problem continues. And the question remains...when and where will Snuggleupagus strike again?

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