In my late teens and early twenties, there was one easy way to tell I was in love: terrible skin. Dull, dry, spotty skin was my radiant glow of infatuation because I spent the first six months of any relationship sleeping in my makeup. I always believed the only reason I was sleeping at a boy’s house was because he liked the way my face looked when lacquered in bronzer and highlighter, so to lose the bronzer and highlighter would be to lose all my powers. I allocated it as my job to not let the cat out of the bag, to keep the face of Munch’s Scream away from him, to keep the relationship afloat. I even subconsciously set an internal alarm clock that woke me up at five AM every morning so I could go to the bathroom and check my eyeliner wasn’t too smudged.
Thankfully, I have since realised three key things:
- My face looks absolutely fine without makeup. I was born without it. I spent the first 14 years of my life without touching mascara or lipstick and everyone soldiered on. A man I’m sleeping with can somehow muddle through too.
- As clichéd as it sounds, there is a great beauty in the authenticity of your very own little face, totally bare with all its freckles from days on the beach and scars from nights you can’t remember and lines from laughing at the same Friends episode for 15 years. It might not be perfect, but it’s honest and clean and soft and fresh and only you have one of its exact kind.
- Men don’t really care or notice. Men don’t really have types. They like having a woman they like in bed with them naked; that’s about the shape of it.
So, my number one tip for a good sleepover is TAKE OFF YOUR MAKEUP before you go to sleep.
Second tip for a good first sleepover: if he’s staying at yours, get good coffee in. And don’t bother with going out for breakfast in the first few months, all you’ll do is stare across each other’s overpriced coconut quinoa porridge wishing you were back in bed. Make breakfast at home, but for God’s sake do NOT push The Dream Girlfriend Agenda and spend an hour in the kitchen whisking egg yolks in a bowl over warm water, trying to get the perfect hollandaise consistency and secretly cry in the shower when the sauce splits. The Dream Girlfriend Agenda goes hand in hand with the rigmarole of sleeping in your makeup: exhausting and unnecessary.
Here is a recipe for the best breakfast in bed that takes 15 minutes: knob of butter in a pan, whisk two eggs + one yolk per person, put eggs in a pan on a low heat, move about slowly, wait until they’re still a bit runny then take the pan off the heat, stir in another knob of butter and salt and pepper. Serve on thick white toast. Do not complicate this. Scrambled eggs do not need milk, or a microwave. God, I get angry even typing it.
Tip three: if you’re staying at his, after a few weeks, it should not only be allowed but encouraged that you chuck some stuff in a drawer. This includes: a toothbrush, makeup remover, moisturiser, deodorant, tampons and knickers. If this storing of basic toiletries makes him feel like things have “suddenly escalated in a quite serious way” then, personally, I’d eat my scrambled eggs in a brisk five minutes, pick up my Superdrug bag and run. Run for the hills, babe and never return.
And lastly: don’t take a jumper for the next day. If you don’t take one, you’ll have to borrow one of his. The older and cosier the better. You’ll look inexplicably gorgeous in it and on the bus on the way home you’ll poke your nose under the collar, inhaling his very new yet strangely familiar scent, thinking about the night before. Perhaps the best bit of a first sleepover.