My parents and their friends occasionally read the Internet, so for the record, I would like to state that I never, ever have casual sex. Or sex at all! Sometimes, I just go to a guy's house, we read Rilke together on opposite ends of a couch, and then, say -- if there's a snow storm or an escaped tiger -- he'll be a gentleman and invite me to stay on the far end of his extra-wide California king bed. Separated, of course, by a Maginot Line of sexual propriety and his plush toy collection.
I never accept a gentleman's offer to sleep over, of course. Because:
1) I am very very cool in relationships. We're talking Batman-level cool. Dudes are all like, "No, Julieanne, stay, have another drink, we don't have to make out, I want your hair to be neat for when we Skype my Nanna." And I'm all, "Sorry, babe, got an early conference call with Tokyo. Bluetooth in, Smolinski OUT." Then I stroll home to my apartment, where I do perfect drum solos while reading the Paris Review.
2) I turbo-snore.
OK, so one of these things is a little more true than the other. The actual term for what I have is sleep apnea -- it's exacerbated by allergies or stress or, let's be real, red wine. I don't always snore, I'm told, but when I do, I sound like I'm trying to dislodge a sock from my deep within my lungs over dodgy AM radio, punctuated by brief, exciting fits of not breathing.
Not only is this a bit of a bummer for anyone who is in the same room and hoping to get some rest, it's also what we'll politely (and retrogradely) call "indelicate." It's enough that I'm expected to sleep in my eye makeup (which will inevitably result in a gentleman freaking out because he's woken up with the cat-faced guy from KISS), but I also worry about keeping someone up all night with my corpse-being-fed-into-a-woodchipper level face noises.
Among the many things that young women are not supposed to do is make unattractive, grandfatherly sounds. Alas, this is not a thing I can hold in in the name of "preserving the mystery." I would if I could, but alas, I am literally not conscious at the time.
As tempting as it is to hide my essential humanity (I'd like to have others think of me as an elusive, brassy sex goddess), there's really nothing I can do. I'm a 28-year-old-woman who snores like a Richard Sera sculpture being fed into a jet engine. There. I said it.
My sister and I often get drinks in her somewhat-distant neighborhood, which leads to me spending the night in her bed while we watch "Gavin and Stacey" and scarf dumplings, but she has told me time and again that she can't sleep on account of my Nigel Tufnel nose groans. She has gone so far as to record me snoring on her iPhone so I know what I sound like. Older sisters are so great.
The next time you're about to do the dirty and feel awkward about having to do the old "pause-and-fumble" for a condom in your purse, please picture me nude and digging through my handbag for the kind of earplugs you might take to a Merzbow show and solemnly handing them to guy, saying, "I'm going to need you to put these on" before I allow myself to be spooned.
This is also why I never bring a guy back to my place. One, because I assume if a guy expresses interest in coming home with me, he is also interested in burying me in a public park or at the very least, stealing my laptop. Two, because the last time one slept over (years ago, because we were working late on a diorama, for a science project, if my parents' friends are reading) he woke me up around seven AM.
"Do you know you snore?" he asked.
I think I said something along the lines of, "NO! Maybe YOU snore. Maybe YOU snore. I mean, are you sure you weren't hearing yourself? Or the construction? This building is being remodeled by Amish men! I think maybe they're drunks!"
Then I told him I had long-hair dander allergies and accused him of lying about whether or not he owned alpacas.
Yes, a lot of people snore. A good percentage, I'm told, but if subway ads and awful sitcoms are to be believed, most of these people are Belushis, or at least their physical type. Is it a question of losing my feminine mystique? (Ha.) Or perhaps, just being helplessly impolite and irritating to sleep with?
Part of me is terrified that this is the kind of stuff guys talk about in the locker room. You know, after an intense squash session, when it's time to sit around in towels and perv out about girls.
Like, "Oh, Julieanne? Yeah, you should totally hit that... if you want to make love to Wilford Brimley's last moments. I mean, yeah, totally. Sleep with Julieanne Smolinski, if you want to wake up in the middle of the night thinking you're in bed with a 'Lord of the Rings' creature who's aspirating a party sub. Definitely have sex with Julieanne 'Human Krakatoa' Smolinski. You know, if you've always wondered what an industrial laundry dryer full of artificial hips and silver dollars sounds like at 4 am when you have an important meeting in the morning. Definitely, then."
I've tried those nasal strips, which do not work. I'm worried that, because sleep apnea can be super bad for your heart and Not Breathing is probably robbing me of the precious few brain cells I have left, I may be forced to try one of those cumbersome CPAP machines they advertise exclusively during Old Man television shows, like "The Civil War Journal" and Charlie Rose.
What HAS worked for me is building a kind of pillow nest where I'm forced to sleep on my right side. Strangely, sleeping on hard flat surfaces like a hotel room floor also prevents me from snoring, which is less than ideal, as you can imagine. I'm considering joining one of those Craigslist snoring studies, but I think you also have to sleep in a lab for like four weeks while scientists observe you from behind a two-way mirror, and it's like, no thank you, I don't want to be like "Species" that nobody will alien mate with.
I'll level with you here: the thought has entered my head that no one will ever want to sleep with me on a regular basis because of this. Like most people who stay single out of fear, I'm convinced that I'm better off being alone than foisting one of my many flaws on someone else. (Particularly the one that involves my nightly transformation into Aged Werewolf Tom Waits with a deviated septum and hay fever.)
Luckily, my refusal to sleep over nicely compliments my crippling commitmentphobia. Saying, "I'd love to come up, but I can't" is a total "Tao of Steve" move. Let's not forget the added bonus of avoiding brunch, because I'd inevitably spend the entire time wondering if he's texting his roommates jokey apologies for staging underground Wookiee cock-fights in the house the night before.
Maybe I'll meet somebody who is a super sound sleeper, or who likes me enough to invest in a good pair of noise-canceling earplugs. It's probably going to turn into a kind of rubric for me, if I can eventually get over my fear and just spend the night with a dude who's willing to jab me in the back every few hours of the night.
That's what she snerrrrked.