For one night only: How to handle a one-night stand

Heather Inglis

The content of this column discusses consensual sexual activities between two people during a one-night stand. If this has happened to you and you feel as if what had happened wasn’t in good fun or consensual, seek help immediately. While hooking up can be a fun time, it has to be consensual.

In honor of National Awkward Moment Day and because St. Patrick’s Day was yesterday, I’m going to share one of my favorite awkward moments. And, ultimately, explain how to handle said situation if ever found in it.

Rewind to St. Paddy’s Day 2013. I was still a wide-eyed freshman eager to experience yet another college holiday, as if Homecoming and Kent Halloween were not enough. Instead of celebrating in the basement of a fraternity house like some of my peers, I went to my friend’s lake house with a group of people I had always partied with. We ended up having a lot of fun, but of course, things had to get weird.

Somewhere between green beer and the confidence said beer gave me, I ended up shamelessly flirting with one of my friends whom I happened to have always found attractive. Can you see where this is going?

Sparing the details, I found myself on a couch snuggling with said friend the next morning. We both blankly stared at each other, realizing what had happened, before uncomfortably gathering all of our things to reunite with our friends in the other room. It was definitely one of those “oh, shit,” moments.           

What’s awkward about the whole thing, other than the surprise of a person being next to you, is trying to figure out what to do next.           

So, you might be wondering, “How can a one-night stand be less weird the next day?”

It is, in fact, possible, and here are a few ways to handle that ultimate awkward moment:

Immediately accept that it happened, and don’t be embarrassed. There is no going back now, so why dwell on it? When people feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, they tend to emit that feeling to everyone around them. Be the bigger person because if you’re calm, chances are the other person will be calm too. To quote “Pulp Fiction,” my favorite movie, “Be cool, honey bunny.”

Only ask the necessary questions. And by this, I mean ask the questions that are most pertinent to your sexual health and well-being. Questions like, “Do you remember what we did last night?” or “Did we use a condom?” are probably two of the first that should be asked. “Did you get off?” or “Did you have fun?” aren’t exactly the most relevant question and, quite frankly, kind of weird to ask someone you were surprised to wake up to.

Don’t think any less of yourself. One-night stands happen, especially among college students. Whether it’s between friends or with someone new at a party, it’s OK that it happens. Try not to worry about what’s going to be said by the people in the next room because at the end of the day, you’re the one who decides how you feel about the whole situation. As long as you keep your health and safety in mind, you have nothing to feel ashamed about.

Keep yourself grounded. While some love connections have blossomed from one-night stands, it’s not very likely. Look back on it as a fun time (or not so fun time) and keep moving forward. Unless this person shows some serious interest in you after your encounter and it’s something you want to pursue, then there’s no reason to get your emotions involved.

Get your shit together and walk out of the room with confidence. Enough said.

All and all, having a one-night stand isn’t the end of the world, even though it might be weird at first.

To wrap up my little story, St. Patrick’s Day boy and I are still friends to this day and can be seen occasionally gallivanting around Kent together. So, if you, too, happen to “get lucky” with one of your friends or even some random person tonight, always have fun and definitely be safe.

Contact Heather Inglis at [email protected].