It was a dark, dismal Thursday on the grand isle of Manhattan. The slate grey sky was cloudless and dull, the electric New York City energy just felt watered the f*ck down, and even our lively office seemed to be lost in the thick of a palpable depression.
I firmly decided to lighten up this dull day by talking about sex.
In fact, I decided to shake it up even further by daring to discuss the brilliant art of the one-night stand. According to a comprehensive survey of 5,000 Millennials (aged 18 to 34) conducted by SKYN condoms by LifeStyles, approximately 61 percent of us have had a one-night stand -- so there's no reason we shouldn't discuss it.
My friends and I gathered around excitedly. Collectively, we span a broad spectrum of Generation Y, and we all have varying experiences with the art of the one-night stand.
There was Lilly, a fresh-faced 21-year-old with sparkling green eyes and a razor sharp mind. Across from Lilly was Skye, an exotic 25-year-old beauty with honey-colored skin and black hair. Next to Skye sat Kate, a sexually liberated, outspoken 27-year-old wild child with intense dark chocolate eyes and snow-white skin. Tucked into the corner was Lexi, a 22-year-old firecracker with long, bohemian, sun-kissed beach waves and a vulgar sense of humor.
And then, there was me. Zara: a 29-year-old fashion-obsessed brunette who exclusively sleeps with women (though I took a brief swim in the boy pond in my early 20s).
Together, as a united Millennial force, we began to compare one-night stand notes. And it wasn't long before we came to a revelation: one-night stands in your early 20s are very, very different from the one-night stands you have in your late 20s.
In your early 20s, you face the subway; in your late 20s, you have to face the Uber driver.
When I was in my early 20s, I hated those harrowing subway rides the morning after.
Not only did you reek of booze, had your feet twisted in painful high heels and have a head-pounding hangover at 8 am, but you were also stuck in a sea of people wearing suits getting ready to go to work.
Nothing makes a girl feel more like she doesn't have her sh*t together than sporting last night's tattered party dress on a train full of thriving adults.
I thought this was bad until I experienced the Uber ride of shame in my late 20s.
Part of being in your late 20s is having just enough money to skip the subway and hop in a taxi. You think it's a good idea -- until you have to endure a 25-minute ride back to Manhattan made up of tense judgmental death stares from your religious driver.
In your early 20s, your roommate wants to know every detail; in your late 20s, you have to deal with judgmental looks from your cat.
There is nothing in the world that’s worse than coming home after a one-night stand and facing the wrath of your pets.
They just give you that sorely disappointed, holier-than-thou look (especially cats). You need to give them at least three treats before they warm up to your affections again (which you're desperate for as you're hungover and vulnerable and need kitten cuddles ASAP).
In your early 20s, you might run into your one-night stands at the dive bar; in your late 20s, you face them on your lunch hour during the workweek.
When you're in your early 20s, your social life often revolves around college friends and dirty dive bars. In your late 20s, work becomes the foundation of your social life.
Your world just gets smaller when you get older, and often, your work life bleeds into your social life.
There is nothing more humiliating than a work happy hour turning into a one-night stand with your coworker. Talk about unnecessary tension in the work place.
In your early 20s, you’re blacked out from taking shots; in your late 20s, you’re blacked out from red wine.
In my early 20s, I would take Fireball shots (now I could vomit just typing the word) and not remember how the hell I got home (if I woke up home). Now that I'm a grown-up (sort of), I drink WINE.
Never underestimate the wine blackout. It's not to be f*cked with. It's just as bad as a whiskey blackout, and it creeps up on you slowly and dangerously. Don't think you're safe from doing stupid drunken things (like having a one-night stand with your boss) just because you're drinking "wine."
Sh*t can f*ck up as much as anything else.
In your early 20s, the hookup happens at 2 am; in your late 20s, it happens at 9 pm.
In your early 20s, you find yourself making sweet love to the one-night stand of your dreams right before the sun comes up.
In your late 20s, you just don't last that long. You start getting drunk at dinner. By 9 pm, you've already made all the poor choices and bad mistakes you could possibly make and are fast asleep by 11 pm.
In your early 20s, you go into work no matter how sh*tty and hungover you look; in your late 20's, you just call out.
Back in my early 20 days, I went to work under some pretty dire conditions. I've gone straight from the bed of a one-night stand and waltzed right into the office, half drunk, clad in torn tights with smeared eyeliner.
While I looked like a hot mess, somehow before the age of 22, you sort of pull it off.
You're kind of “hangover chic.”
After the age of 25, you're just hungover. Minus the chic.
In fact, after a night of drinking and random hookups, you're in no condition to even set foot in the office. But don't fret, because this is precisely what “personal days” were designed for, my darlings.
In your early 20s, you do the walk of shame past your hookup’s roommates; in your late 20s, you do the walk of shame past a doorman.
Ugh. Having to face a heap of f*ckboys smoking a bong on Sunday morning when you stumble out of a one-night stand's bedroom in your mini skirt is humiliating at BEST. I regret to inform you the walk of shame doesn't end in your late 20s; it just changes face.
Instead, you have to look a doorman of a luxury apartment building in the eye, who either vehemently judges you or creepily winks at you.
In your early 20s, you're worried about upping your number; in your late 20s, you’ve forgotten it entirely.
Girls in their early 20s are obsessed with their "number." I distinctly remember my best friend being filled with fear for sleeping with her tenth partner because she didn't want to make it into the double digits. She was terrified it would taint her in some way.
I promise you, you stop caring about that bullsh*t by the time you reach your late 20s. In fact "your number" becomes irrelevant. What's a f*cking number anyway?
In your early 20s, you wake up panicked on a bare mattress; in your late 20s, you wake up to coffee and a bagel.
In your early 20s, you wake up fear-stricken in a nasty apartment somewhere deep in Brooklyn on a bed with no sheets, forcing you to drop pin yourself to find out where you are.
Things get slightly more civilized as you age. Manner begins to take shape. Your one-night stand probably has a king-sized bed, nice Egyptian cotton sheets and will wake you up with a cup of hot coffee and croissant from the deli downstairs. It's a much-welcomed improvement.
In your early 20s, you lose all your cards; in your late 20s, you lay all your cards in the table.
I don't think I ever went out in my early 20s without waking up and having no clue where the f*ck all my credit cards were. In your late 20s, not only do you hold on to your credit cards, you lay your personal cards on the table.
You straight up let your one-night stand know who you are, what your intentions are and what you want out of this (both sexually and mentally). You stop trying to be anything except yourself.
In your early 20s, you fear catching feelings; in your late 20s your fear catching herpes.
The truth is you're just as high-risk for catching any sort of STD in your early 20s as you are in your late 20s. It's that just by the time you reach your late 20s, you've most likely already caught a pesky one or have escorted a friend on one too many trips to Planned Parenthood.
The fear is no longer about if you're going fall in love with your one-night stand; it's whether or not it's worth the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
However, this fear can be quelled by using protection. Wrap it up and have a happy and SAFE one-night stand, lovelies.