Why Do We Forgo Basic Hygiene When We Start Hooking Up?

Hygiene_Hooking_up_brushing_teethIllustrated by Ly Ngo.
A while back I started hooking up with someone I really liked. What began as a friendship shifted one night after a drunken kiss. That was followed by a couple of actual dates. Before I knew it, a few weeks after our initial romantic encounter, we were at a bar three blocks from my house.
I picked the place because, well, it was three blocks from my house. She eagerly agreed for the same reason. We hadn’t discussed it, but it was obvious to the both of us what would happen. We’d grab one or two more drinks than normal, enough to get a little tipsy. At some point, I’d say, “Do you want to get out of here?” She’d smile while lightly nodding, and we’d walk back to my place to hook up for the first time.
That’s exactly what happened. Go me. Go her.
It was great. It was what happened after that was weird. Except it isn’t weird. It’s completely normal. But, it’s weird.
Afterward, we did nothing. We lay in my bed and slowly passed out. There were no trips to the bathroom to wash our faces, brush our teeth, take out our contacts or perform any of the many behaviors normal people embark upon before bedtime.
We forwent basic human hygiene to impress each other. Two 30-year-olds, trying to play it cool by keeping filthy.
You see what I mean: It’s weird.
But, it’s normal. We all do it. I did it when I was 20, when I was 25. Now that I’m 30, it’s the same way. When I’m 50 and bringing home a Match 3.0 date, it’ll probably be the same way. Because prepping yourself for bed when with another person for the first time is fraught with peril. Don’t believe me? Every step is problematic.
Brushing Your Teeth
The fear here is that the person whose house you are at doesn’t have an additional toothbrush, so if you ask, it will cause an embarrassing, awkward moment where they tell you they don’t have one, but they feel bad, so they offer you theirs, which isn’t the grossest thing you’ve ever put between your lips (after all, you more than likely just had their genitals in your mouth), but there’s something too uncomfortably intimate about sharing another person’s toothbrush and so, whether you agree or decline, you are now making a latent statement about the relative strength of this relationship way too early on.
Or, they do have an extra one and you’re suddenly like “who the fuck did I just fuck?” Has this person been having so much casual sex at their house lately that it necessitated going to Costco to purchase a bulk travel pack of toothbrushes?
Either way, you lose. It’s just easier to have a grimy mouth. Is morning sex all that better after someone brushed their teeth? No. There’s still that grimy, plaque-y taste, just with a minty finish.
Hygiene_Hooking_up_contactsIllustrated by Ly Ngo.
Taking Out Contacts
I am legitimately blinder than those Precambrian-era sea slugs who had yet to develop even the most primitive of photoreceptors. When I wake up and read my phone without my contacts in, the screen touches my nose. So I save myself the mortification of being a less than perfect human specimen by perpetually keeping in my contacts. That makes waking up uncomfortable, and there are definitely times where I’ve been making out with someone in the morning while doing that weird, aggressive blinking to try and moisturize my eyes which makes them ask what’s wrong. (Nothing. Don’t you have contacts, too?)
I also don’t take mine out early in a relationship because it can kill the spontaneity. If I remove ‘em before going to sleep, there’s no possibility of turning a sensual spooning into passionate lovemaking. At least not without me mistaking a hip for a boob.
And, in the morning? There’s no worse turnoff than pausing a make out session to put in your contacts. It’s downright perverse.
“Hold on one second. I want to watch.”
Nope, much better to risk a corneal staph infection than be that guy.
I always, always offer whoever stays over shorts and a T-shirt. Often — especially the first time — women refuse. I don’t understand. Do you all normally sleep in the underwear you wore to work? I know I do, but that’s because I’m a guy.
But, I’m fine with that. I get you not wanting to take someone’s clothes early on. Too intimate. What really annoys me is when women don’t even put their underwear back on. I don’t like sleeping naked. After sex, I want to be in my boxers. Yet, doing it when the other person isn’t makes me feel like I’m trying to shame their nakedness. Hide your sin, woman.
Face-Washing & Makeup Removal
This is not my concern. If you can’t sneak this in while feigning to take a dump, that’s your problem.
And, don’t worry. No guy will notice that you removed your makeup. It’s 1:30 a.m. and he just got laid. He’s too busy trying to sneak his boxers back on without you judging him.
Seriously. No guy likes to sleep naked.
This post was authored by David Covucci.

More from Sex & Relationships


R29 Original Series