It's Saturday night (or some random Thursday) and you're drinking away your work sorrows/bad exam grade/normal 20-something angst.
A reasonably attractive young man strikes up a conversation with you about salt versus no salt margaritas, and pretty soon, it's come to the point that he's probably going to ask you to come home with him or invite himself back to your place.
No matter how many times this happens, we have patterns that we follow when dealing with a first-time hookup.
Here are some steps that might (probably will) happen when you, er, engage with someone for the first time:
1. The guy you’ve been flirting with (or something along those lines) all night will ask you if you want to come over and “watch a movie,” or “catch up on 'Game of Thrones'” or “smoke weed.” (The last one might happen, anyway.)
2. You awkwardly-while-trying-to-be-appealing smile and say "sure."
3. You (hopefully) successfully remember to close your bar tab. If you don’t, your walk of shame the next morning will be twice as bad.
4. You praise yourself for remembering to wear attractive underwear.
5. You curse yourself for forgetting to put your birth control in your purse. Again. Why does hours-ago you never consider that future you might get laid?
6. You try to remember when was the last time you went home with someone.
7. You stop blaming hours-ago you for not being prepared.
8. You suddenly realize you’re definitely probably going to get some tonight and start freaking out a little bit.
9. "Wait, is he gay? He totally might be gay, right?" You watch him for a minute. It’s not acceptable to just flat-out ask, is it?
10. You decide not to ask because if you do and he’s not, you will not get laid.
11. He’s talking to you about something with a lot of touching involved, and you’re trying to respond appropriately while also trying to remember how this all works. (Even if you went home with someone last weekend, you still need to rehash in your head how this all happens.)
12. You try to breathe normally and almost start choking. Good.
13. In the midst of all of this internal yelling, you finally arrive at his apartment/dorm room/parents house/cardboard box.
14. You ask if you can use his bathroom, even if you don’t have to go. You need to make sure you look semi-presentable and don’t smell like the cigar the guy next to you in the bar was smoking.
15. He’ll consider your bathroom break a blessing and take the opportunity to make sure there’s no dirty underwear, old food, unsettling weapons, dead crickets or angry exes laying around anywhere.
16. You totally smell like that cigar but didn’t bring any deodorant. Again. You rub yourself down with the bar of soap by the sink and call it a night.
17. You come out of the bathroom and he’s poured you both glasses of vodka something or other, even though there’s also a bottle of whiskey.
18. You consider this might have been a mistake. What kind of person goes for vodka before whiskey?
19. You glance around at his either successful or unsuccessful cleaning job. Maybe there’s a pack of condoms not quite pushed under the bed far enough or pictures of too many different past conquests on a bulletin board. Maybe you spot a One Direction CD or he has a pet praying mantis. You never quite know what you’re going to get. Maybe this is a friend and you’ve been here before, so you already knew he was crazy weird.
20. You wonder if this is a good idea.
21. He asks what kind of music you like, and you shrug and say pretty much anything. Something strange and alternative comes flowing from Spotify. He might also put on the TV show he brought you there to watch. Is it weird to get it on while "Game of Thrones" is on in the background? Probably. Whatever.
22. You both sit on the bed and start talking about everything except why you’re actually there. At this point, both parties will say anything until the time to start making out finally arrives.
23. When your drink looks like it’s just under half full, he offers to refill it. He is definitely trying to get you drunk(er).
24. You wonder if you should take off your earrings now or if that would be presumptuous?
25. You wonder if maybe he really did just want to watch a movie and smoke weed with you. That sometimes happens at 2 am after a night of heavy drinking and flirting, right?
26. There’s a short awkward silence while you were worrying, and he quickly leans over and sticks his tongue in your mouth.
27. You disregard your previous theory.
29. He still could be gay.
30. Okay, his hand placement means he’s probably not gay – yet, at least. Give it a few years, maybe.
31. You wonder if you should take off your shirt or if he’ll initiate it. It’s better if he does it because you’ll just look crazy awkward if you try. There is not graceful way to get undressed, no matter what the movies contend.
32. Okay, so do you take his shirt off now?
33. Crap, why is this bed so loud? Does he have roommates?
34. Speaking of roommates, what was that noise? Should you wait to take off your clothes until you’re sure everyone is asleep? Wait… what time is it, anyway?
35. Why do you still have so many questions about how this all works?
36. You ask if he has roommates/if said roommates might be home and he responds by putting his tongue in your mouth again. Helpful.
37. What movie is that creepy poster from? It’s creepy. He should take care of that if he wants things like this to keep occurring.
38. Twin bed. Why does it always have to be a twin bed?
39. You curse yourself for wearing jeans. Jeans and random hookups are among the worst combinations. You have to basically stand on the bed to get them off. Bonus points if you fall on top of him while making this attempt.
40. Everyone’s clothes are finally off… and, now, you really wonder if this was a good idea.
41. You remind him that you need a condom. He either has one practically under his pillow or has to run naked around the room to try and find one. There is no in-between. He’s either too prepared or as ill-prepared, as you are.
42. You quietly acknowledge that trying to turn over and change positions on a twin bed is impossible.
43. You almost die getting caught in the blinds on the window next to his bed.
44. You’re not quite sure how to interpret his noises, but you think everything is probably going well?
45. When it’s all over, there’s a weird we-might-still-be-drunk and did-that-just-happen? Silence. You lay next to him and just breathe.
46. The show that he put on is just finishing in a strange epic battle or confrontation scene, fittingly enough.
47. For a little while, there’s weird small talk about Tigger or tattoos or your deep insecurities.
48. You try to discretely glance around the room to see where your clothes ended up. You’re determined not to forget anything... this time.
49. You ask if you should stay, and he either too eagerly says "yes," obviously banking on morning sex, or he makes some excuse about a meeting or a film shoot, as you awkwardly try to find your things.
50. Whether you stay the night or not, do you kiss him goodbye? You had fun (you think) and he probably did, too (you know), so you say goodbye with a kiss or a hug or an awkward butt tap? Maybe you’ll talk to him again and start dating, maybe this is the beginning of forever or maybe, things will just be weird forever.
Either way, you survived the random hookup. You probably did not learn anything and will definitely repeat all of these steps again next time. Even though you swear there won't be, there is always a next time.
51. You definitely left your earrings behind.
And, there you have it. Whether you end up getting married or decide just to be pals, a first-time hookup always seems to follow a strange, slightly uncomfortable pattern.
Hooking up can be awkward, but at least it's always a two-way street -- both people involved fall victim to the awkwardness.
When you're both awkward, it's kind of cute, right? Right...?
Well, fingers crossed.