In high school, I remember seeing quotes like, "Character is what you do when no one is watching" etched across motivational posters, and I was horrified. The things I did (and do) when no one is watching were often embarrassing, grotesque, and — to quote my brother-in-law — plebeian, and I didn't want my character to be any of those things. Fortunately, I'm not alone. Everyone has their own bizarre, indulgent rituals (or Secret Single Behaviors, as Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw dubbed them), and I don't think they're as character-defining as those classroom posters made me believe.
After Carrie moved in with boyfriend Aidan, she mourned the loss of her "SSB" time — which, in her case, included eating stacks of crackers with grape jelly while standing and reading fashion magazines.
That's cute, Carrie. I like to coat my entire body in coconut oil (the end goal is that my skin will feel somewhere between that of a baby human's and a baby eel's), chug off-label Chardonnay from the bottle, and listen to whale sounds. Oh, and sometimes I have full conversations with myself in French ("What's that? I've still got it? Oh thanks, self!"). To each her own!
Not everyone talks to themselves in foreign languages, but we've certainly all got something to hide — a clandestine habit (or two, or three) that we hope is never seen by anyone but our own reflections and a deity. Some are silly, some are gross, and all are done in the dark of night. Here, 11 brave men and women confess to their secret single behaviors.
Honestly, this is pretty smart.
In the winter, I like to take a couple of cotton swabs, dip them in moisturizer, and then moisturize inside my nose. Like, my actual nostrils. They get so dry otherwise! The day I have someone who can see me with two cotton swabs in my nose, we're engaged.
— Meghan*, 22
I like to call this "towel time," and it's sacred.
Mine would be sitting on my bed, scrolling through Instagram for 45 minutes while wrapped in a towel, with mascara smudged all the way down my face after a shower.
— Hannah, 24
Who doesn't have a beloved secret mouthguard?
I have a dorky mouth guard I love wearing (helps a ton with my TMJ!), but it doesn't come out if someone's staying over.... No one wants to kiss a girl who has a big hunk of plastic in her mouth.
Those rogue hairs were never meant to see the light of day.
I tweeze the rogue hairs on my chin.
— Annalise*, 24
Guys gotta pluck, too.
I pluck my eyebrows, use pore strips, and generally keep my [face] moisturized and in great condition... Naturally, my girlfriend just thinks I brush my teeth for a long time... though I think she's getting suspicious about what good shape my brows are always in.
This one reminds me of The Lizzie McGuire Movie.
I like to dance around in oversized sweats and use a deodorant bottle as my mic.
— Sabrine, 23
OK, this is basically my nightly routine, and I hope I never get caught.
One night, my boyfriend surprised me and came home early. I was dying my eyebrows, drinking wine straight from the bottle, covered in moisturizer (hair, body, everywhere), and jamming to Selena Quintanilla. He was just like, 'This is what you do when I'm not home?!' I was so stunned. All I said was, 'You've seen me wake up in the morning. Did you think I just have a naturally beautiful face and hair and flawless brows?'
— Alice, 24
Sometimes you've got an itch only you can scratch.
Scratching whatever I want, whenever I want.
Charlotte on SATC did the same thing before her nuptials.
I know this is a huge, skincare no-no, but after I finish a face mask, I'll spend like half an hour picking at my face in the mirror. It's definitely not my most attractive quality.
— Cindy*, 26
No judgment here, girl.
Sometimes, it's really nice to stay in bed and Reddit. I don't need your judgement, man in my life.
Dogs are basically royalty, anyway.
I talk to my dog like she's a person. Well, like she's princess.
— Zack*, 26
Bonus: No one needs to see that cat eye coming undone.
That one step in makeup removal where I go from 'everyday eyeliner' to 'Norwegian death metal' for a sec.
— Kristie, 24
To quote Ms. Bradshaw, "It's weird, but it just feels great." Amen to that!
*Names have been changed. Quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.
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