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The pitfalls of platonic bed-sharing

There's a chapter in Lena Dunham's memoir, "Not That Kind of Girl," dedicated to platonic bed-sharing. It's called "Platonic Bed-Sharing: A Great Idea (For People Who Hate Themselves)."

She concludes with a list of people it's okay to share a bed with, like "Your best friend," "An empty bag of pita chips" and "The love of your life."

It's not okay, according to Dunham, to share your bed with "Anyone who tells you that they 'just can't be alone right now,' [or] anyone who doesn't make you feel like sharing a bed is the coziest and most sensual activity they could possibly be undertaking (unless, of course, it is one of the aforementioned relatives)."

If not, "You're better off alone."

I read that my senior year of high school. I vowed that, if the opportunity arose in college to platonically share a bed with someone, I'd keep that closing sentence in mind.

It did. I didn't.

Mid-September freshman year, a few of my friends and I were hanging out in Chris' room, because he had a balcony and a fully stocked mini fridge. It got late.

"Wouldn't it be funny if we all just slept here?" Chris said.

"We can call it Spoon Squad," Ethan snickered.

So we all slept in Chris' room, somehow squeezing onto his loft bed -- him and Emma at one end, Ethan and I at the other. No one actually knew how to spoon, though, so Emma and I waited patiently while the boys studied the WikiHow page on their phones.

After that it was the floppy-haired art major with whom I shared a wall, because we were both lonely after breakups. It seemed like a good idea until I'd actually climbed into his bed and realized it was not the same as sleeping next to my six-foot-four ex-boyfriend, and that despite being my neighbor, he was virtually a stranger.

I did not spend the night.

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Sophomore year, even after re-reading "Not That Kind of Girl," (I didn't bring my personal Torah scroll to school, but I brought that memoir, which is kind of the same thing to me) I continued to disregard Dunham's advice.

This time, it was with a hipster whose sweatpants were too small for me and who smelled vaguely like my Uncle Cole. He also happened to be a dick to women, despite sporting a feminist laptop sticker and getting his news exclusively from Reductress. I ignored all of this until I couldn't, and realized: I was better off alone.

But even then, after having that revelation, crying all the way home like "Speak Now"-era Taylor Swift and sinking into an untouchable depression, because I felt, as Dunham wrote she did, that it was "distance passing for connection" and that I was "becoming a teddy bear with breasts," I did not learn my lesson.

So, last fall, when one of my closest guy friends told me he was going to spend the night and asked where he should do that, I did not point to the living room couch.

I didn't even take him up on his offer of sleeping "at the foot of the bed like a dog." I don't remember telling him to sleep beside me, but when I woke up, he was there, snoring.

We'd both spent the previous night drinking so much we vomited. He was over my apartment with a few of our friends, and I recall curling up on my bathroom floor thinking that if I just stayed there long enough, everyone would leave. He didn't.

He was just being a good friend, I reminded myself, when I woke up panicked at 5 a.m. I didn't remember exactly what I'd told him, but I was in a bad place last fall, and I did recall drunkenly crying to him about all the reasons why. I wouldn't have left me alone, either.

But then it happened again -- the completely platonic bed-sharing -- and another time.

Since I was a kid, I've fallen asleep to a TV show playing quietly in my room. I need to focus on something other than my own racing thoughts to relax that much, and last fall, that TV show was "Broad City."

I don't remember much about the second time we platonically shared a bed, because we were almost as drunk as the first time. But I do remember, at one point, realizing he was occupying the space my laptop and "Broad City" were supposed to. He offered to turn it on, but I said no; there wasn't room.

I have platonically and non-platonically shared my bed with a handful of guys. The reason Dunham advises against the former is because it's almost never something done for fun, but something that feels like a solution to your problems. And that solution is almost always temporary.

While, as one of my friends put it when explaining why she'd slept with her ex-boyfriend, "it's just nice to sleep next to someone once in a while," that's not worth feeling like, again, "a teddy bear with breasts." It's not worth wondering why you're not good enough to non-platonically sleep with. He will get up in the morning and leave, and your problems will not follow him.

I didn't sleep more easily with that guy next to me. In that case, again, he was just trying to be a good friend, and we were both drunk and tired and sad, but I was not used to having another person in my bed. And, in hindsight, we both agree it was a dumb thing to do.

The next night, with Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer trilling about weed and cracking crude jokes beside me, I slept fine.

daviskn3@miamioh.edu

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