MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2018
Thursday, August 20, 2015
The indefensible position: In praise of the 12-hour relationship
Casual hookups may have become the post-11pm takeaways of the dating scene. One-night stands are the greasy spoons. They're not necessarily nourishing, they often don't fill you up, and invariably they come served with a side order of regret. But oh boy!, sometimes nothing else will hit the spot. The 2012 India Today Sex Survey showed that a small town like Guntur is the capital of one-night stands in India.

One-night stands are pretty common in the present times but what's worth noting is the Indian women's attitude towards sex. A study conducted back in 1989 revealed that, while 70 per cent of men would agree to casual sex with an attractive woman who propositioned them, not a single woman would do the same when the tables were turned. More recently, however, a Cosmopolitan sex survey has revealed that around 32 per cent of Indian women have had one-night stands. Just as many women as men say they'd take the fetching inquisitor up on his offer. Crucially, this shows that women were almost as likely as men to have indulged. Women, it is clear, have transitioned. The trouble is that men have not. Male courtship behaviour, to coin an especially caponised phrase, hasn't shifted at the same pace as female attitudes. To put it bluntly, women are up for it and they don't need you to jam a stick in their spokes by employing some kind of awkward, anachronistic idea of chivalry (or worse still, no sense of chivalry at all). Here is the perfect life cycle of the 12-hour relationship.

The 'it's on' moment

Theoretically this can happen anywhere. Be it a bar, club, restaurant, party or a gig-the venue doesn't matter. What does, is a correct reading of the situation. It can take the form of anything, from a shared look to a knowingly whispered, "Do you want to get out of here?" in her ear. In fact, she could very well whisper it in your ear; women hold the cards in this situation. Whatever the set-up, be confident, be courteous, be open.

However vague or capricious this might sound, the rules here are actually fairly simple. First, if you've only just met and she is offering/agreeing to leave with you, she knows precisely what this is. Repeating something pathetic like, "But…just for fun, yeah?" will only make her angry. Discussing leaving together is unlikely to be your first conversation of the evening (and if it is, you might want to check your pockets) so you should have already spelled out your position in much less obvious ways. Try explaining how you're really enjoying the dating game, for example; or how you're not long out of something serious; or even chatting about that trip to Manali you've got coming up with your friends. Don't worry, she'll get it. For you and her both, it's a case of innocent until proven guilty-it's just a one-night thing unless it becomes something else. She won't expect too much from it other than for you to be a normal human being and above average in bed. Pay the bill while she does her final bathroom sprint, put your hand on the small of her back and walk her out.

Don't say: "So what will it be, your place or mine?"
Do say: "We can definitely do better than here... Fancy escaping?"

11.55 PM
The journey home

This one is simple: Get a taxi. There is no stronger antidote to an aphrodisiac than a 16-year-old, jacked up to his eyeballs on video games, with Honey Singh blaring from his mobile across the night bus aisle. Before stepping into the cab, before ordering it even, offer your place as a destination. Only, don't ever actually say the words, "Want to come back to mine?" It has a cheap ring to it. Instead, give her a reason to come back to your place that has nothing to do with sex. It could be that good bottle of champagne you've been chilling for an occasion more special than a game night with your buds. It might be that rare copy of ABBA you have on vinyl that you simply must play her. Whatever the enticement on offer, 99 per cent of women will prefer to brave your man cave than let a complete stranger into their oases of tranquillity. Her home is an intimate space. Also, the fact that you don't have
any make-up remover in the house is a small price to pay for not having to make awkward conversation about who the people in her photos are. State your address loudly and clearly to the taxi driver. If your part-time love asks you to repeat it, don't look alarmed. It's not so she can Google Earth your house when she gets home, it's so she can safety-text her mates in case you turn out to be a serial killer. Letting her know where you live is a way of saying, "I'm not a psycho!" without actually saying, you know, "I'm not a psycho!" Which sounds exactly like the kind of thing a psycho would say. Lastly, kiss and hold hands, but let that be the limit of your physical interaction. Why? A). There's another human being sitting a metre away from you B). She probably needs to visit the bathroom again already. Save something for the main event.

Don't say: "Could you pay? I'm a little short on cash right now."

Do say: "Don't worry, I've got a five-star rating on Ola."

The first act

three words: wrap it up. you don't know where we've been anymore than we know where you've been, and waiting to be asked is rude. only a special brand of moron doesn't have the foresight to wear protection nowadays. carrying a condom in your wallet, or having one in your bedside cabinet, isn't presumptuous. it's sensible. and in this case, sensible is good. sensible is sexy. when it comes to the sex itself, you don't need her to tell you what to do- at least. just keep it playful, fun, and err on the side of vanilla. christian grey is fictional, and most women think he's a dick anyway. just make sure she comes. the importance of this issue cannot be stressed enough. just because this is a short story doesn't mean it shouldn't have a happy ending. not only is it polite, it's prudent. she'll be much more likely to reciprocate and/or be up for a repeat performance if you get it right. note: please do not comment on her genitals. a blithe, "ooh, brazilian!" will kill the moment in half a second flat. casual sex does not require footnotes. the same goes for anything remotely girlfriend-y. hair stroking, eye lid kissing, calling her "baby", telling her you "love how she smells"-consider it all contraband. in fact, you'd do best to prohibit the l-word altogether.

Don't say: "I love how you feel." She is not a sheepskin rug.
Do say: "That last thing you did was simply awesome and so intense."

2.24 AM
The immediate aftermath

There's nothing wrong with a post-party spoon and, if this were your girlfriend we were talking about, you'd be well-advised to put some tenderness on display. But she is not and so you must not. These are 12-hour rules and they are specific to your situation. Avoid advanced acts of intimacy at all costs, including the whispering of sweet nothings in her ear. Even if you do love the dimples in her lower back, you do not express it thus. You've only just met her. It's creepy. Instead, chat to her. Lighten the mood. Talking to you is what had her interested in the first place -don't let that side of your personality fail just because you've had an orgasm. Whatever you do, Do not turn your back!

She's now stuck at your house for the next five-to-seven hours and all she has to her person is a good deodrant and some provocative underwear. Give her one of your shirts-one long enough to cover her bottom, so she can answer the call of duty without encountering your flatmates looking like a high-class hooker. Subtly locate her clothes while she's in the bathroom, but do not fold them up. The latter says one of two things: "I want you out," or, "I'm a weirdo who's just been rifling through your things." Neither is an emotional unguent. This moment is about sensing the tone and acting accordingly. She's not looking for assurances from you that she did-the-right-thing by sleeping with you. But, much like you, she'll want to know you enjoyed yourself and be treated with respect, not flippancy.

Lastly, a quick word on shut-eye. You know the "hug'n'roll" episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S where Chandler doesn't like cuddly sleeping, but hugs Janice anyway before reeling her away in her slumber? Yeah. She saw that episode too. It might come as news to you, but she kinda likes her own space when the lights are out.

Don't say: "Hold on a moment, I've probably got something here that'll fit you-girls leave stuff here all the time."

Do say: "Here, you can wear this, on the condition you're naked again within five minutes."

The morning after

Just like the 'It's On' moment, this conversation involves a great deal of signal reading and decisive behaviour. You might think that our emotions run highest straight after sex, but in the 12-hour relationship, the morning after can be a psychological minefield. Post-congress, if you've made sure we're satisfied, there's an oxytocin buffer sheltering us (and you) from serious emotional conflict. In the harsh light of day, potentially with a hangover the size of China, there is no such buffer. This is when your behaviour is most crucial. If she's awake and/or slipping on her shoes at the end of the bed, she has stuff to do. Offer her a cuppa then let her get going. Don't, whatever you do, suggest breakfast. She'll think you're clingy and redouble her dressing speed. If you're both awake, lying close together in bed, then it's probably safe to say she's comfortable in the moment and your environment. Your efforts last night might actually mean she's craving a repeat performance: One final encore before she exits the stage. Suggest morning sex only in the subtlest of ways, .

(A firm yet proprietal hand around the stomach or a gentle stroke of the breast is good; an uninvited prod in the thigh is not.) Whether it happens or not, bring her some water, perhaps some tea. Give her a towel, too. Don't be shocked if she doesn't take up the offer of a shower. She probably just doesn't want to spend the rest of the day smelling of your Kiehl's Pour Homme body cleanser. If you think there might be a hint of something else there between you-and only if- consider offering breakfast off-site. But if it was what it was, it's time to say goodbye.

Don't say: "Morning Dimple!" Her name is Sakshi.

Do say: "I'm making coffee-good coffee. Stay right where you are."

The final word

The Number Ask remains a contentious issue. So take this as the final decree, handed down by all womankind: "Thou shalt not ask for a girl's phone number if thou dost not intend to use it. You might think it's polite. But if you're not going to call, or are just going to send a that-was-fun-it-was-really-nice-to meet- you-take-care message, it is not.

As well as being like a greasy spoon, a 12-hour relationship is also like a board game (Note: A woman is allowed to mix her metaphors). It is designed specifically for good times, when merriment is high, fun is to be had and respect for the rules is observed nonetheless. But as soon as someone starts taking himself too seriously, everyone wants to forfeit and go home. Fast love is a trivial pursuit, indeed.

You might think you have nothing to lose by getting it wrong at this point-the deed is done, after all-but that could not be further from the truth; it's what separates you from the Mad Men of this world. See her to the door, kiss her properly, tell her you had a fantastic time and, if that's really it, say nothing more. In the end, the key to getting it right is not so much what you say, but what you don't. So sshhhh, stud.

Don't say: "Take care"-or anything else you'd write in a letter to your grandmother.

Do say: "I'm really glad we met."

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