A Series of Unfortunate Sleepovers

I’ve never been good at sleepovers. When all the boys my age were going over to each other’s houses on Friday nights playing boy games and talking about girls, I was finishing up my weekly 10 piece buffalo wings from Domino’s whilst watching a rerun of Reba on the WB. I had no worry about my life. I loved Reba. I loved hot wings, and I loved the plastic blue blow up chair beside my bed that I would eat them in. However, my parents always thought that I needed to have more of a social life. Sixth graders were supposed to get messy and disgusting. I always used a wet nap after finishing my finger foods. I wasn’t normal enough for a boy my age; it was time for a sleepover.
The only truly athletic thing I’ve ever attempted was being apart of the nationwide soccer rec league, AYSO. That’s where I would find my first victim, Matt. He was easily the most athletic guy on our team and was a hit with all of the girls. Eventually, we would become friends and as far as I was concerned… best friends. I was ready to use the title, whether he was or not. The only next step was the sleepover. To my surprise, Matt accepted. I had the whole evening planned out. I wasn’t quite sure what happened at these events, but I knew if anyone could pull one together, it was me. I had watched Boy Meets World and Saved by the Bell on TGIF for countless lonely Friday nights. I imagined I would just copy all of the stuff that Cory and Shawn and Zack and Slater would do. Maybe a little rendition of “Barbara Anne” to keep things fresh, but it didn’t seem to go that way at all. After shooting some BB guns and watching Nick at Nite all the way until an unbelievable one in the morning, we crashed in the middle of the living room. It all seemed to be pretty stock-sleepover until I woke up at four in the morning. At some point in the night I had rolled a good three feet across the living room and was lying directly on top of Matt. Being the rotund sixth grader I was, I had no idea how he hadn’t awoken, but I was literally so close to his face that I could feel his breath on my cheek. What the hell had happened. I quickly rolled back over, placed all my pillows as a barricade between us and attempted to go back to sleep. It was no use. I had broken rule number one of bro code and sleepover etiquette: do not roll over on your bro and wake up face to face with him. I couldn’t make eye contact with him the next day; Matt didn’t understand, and I swore off all sleepovers as far as I was concerned. God help me if the other sixth graders found out, or even worse, the other guys on the team. This wasn’t a risk worth taking twice.
I wouldn’t sleep over with another person for six years. I was too terrified of my rolling condition. Finally, the summer of my senior year, I went over to my best friend’s house. At eighteen years old, I had never tasted alcohol, let alone been drunk. Upon persuasion, I called my mom and asked if I could stay over for the night for a “sleepover.” Years after the first catastrophe, I admitted the Matt scenario to her in a blind rage of guilt, as if I had molested him in the middle of the night. She was shocked to hear my request to stay at someone else’s house and after some hesitation, she let me stay. Once I took my first shot of some offbrand of Wild Turkey… inappropriately named “Fighting Cock,” I knew that I was in for the long haul. After an intense duet of “Killing Me Softly” and playing some weird abbreviated game of strip poker, everyone decided it was time to sleep. Lying in my somewhat drunken stupor, I laid there and my guilt overtook me. I carefully inched my way down the stairs from my designated room and found Zak cleaning up beer cans in his boxers. I asked if we could sit and talk. I began to cry and asked, “How mad is Jesus going to be mad at me for drinking?” I was devastated. I had sipped the blood of Christ outside of church, except this was in excess and not wine… it was whiskey, which I could only assume was the blood of Judas. After some time, Zak and his girlfriend calmed me down and eventually began “reading my aura” under the influence. For the record, I was blue. Look it up, it will blow your mind.
I didn’t want to cry or roll over on anyone else, so I haven’t attended a sleepover since. If I have, I’ve stayed awake until dawn and then went home and slept as soon as I could leave. Even in my first pesudo-sexual encounter, I asked my part-time lover if she would like to go home after the act. In retrospect, it probably seemed a little harsher than I had wanted it to come across, but I don’t trust myself mid-sleep. My sleep dangers are just one of the reasons that I use to explain my lack of a successful relationship. I was actually astounded that in my last relationship I was able to sleep double and not end up rolling over smothering my significant other. I guess I would consider myself in sleepover remission.
When sitting with one of my pledges, Dave, during my senior year, he told me that he missed having sleepovers with his high school buddies. I kind of found the idea of having actual planned sleepovers in high school a little awry, but I wasn’t going to ask. When I announced that I didn’t have sleepovers, he was shocked. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it was because I was fearful of a developing habit of rolling over on people, especially considering that he pleaded to me not to fall in love with him when he was drunk once. Rolling over on boys probably wouldn’t help with that repressed fear. I sometimes wonder how different I would be now if I had successfully achieved sleepover status as a child. Boys made me nervous and my own social absurdities made me more nervous than that. All I wanted was to be like the other sixth graders; I just wanted to sleep among among the boys and not wake up on top of one of them the next morning.


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