Then there’s the ‘what to wear to bed’ dilemma. Do I go with the ‘stretched to the limit’ boxer briefs and risk showing half my nutsack to an innocent passerby during a middle of the night trip to the foreign toilet? Do I bring my Pyjama Jeans? If I wear the full coverage flannel or fleece bottoms and shirt I’ll sweat more, guaranteed. How worried should I be about getting all my moist stinky sweat all over their good guest pillows? Do I leave my toothbrush in the bathroom, or bring it back to my suitcase? Is it bad form to clip my toenails here? Well, shit, they’re going to bed, so I guess I have to also. Oh well, they said good night, I for sure can’t just keep watching their TV. I wish they’d stop asking me if I needed more blankets or pillows. How many fucking pillows do their guests usually need? Maybe the last people made a fort.
And how does the showering work here? Should I bring my own bar, or will soap and shampoo be provided, as it is in most hotels? There is definitely a free drawer in this stinky old dresser. Does that mean I can unpack my underwear into it? What if I don’t want to? Is it rude if I don’t? Is it rude if I do? Where do my dirty clothes go? If I put them back in my bag the rest of my clothes will stink. If I shove them in the corner, it will look weird. If I ask them for a garbage bag, that might look weirder. Can I tell them that it’s too fucking hot in here? This is the fan they have for this room? Is that a normal noise? Where is that light coming from?
While all of these questions and concerns are both normal and annoying, they are not the worst part of the stay-over. The worst part is always the SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS. No matter what your hosts have prepared for you, they will always open with a promise of how comfortable the arrangements are.
“This thing is so comfortable, it’s awesometacular. Aw man, so comfy, it’s the best.”
Did I say promise? I meant lie. If it’s really that great, then why isn’t it in their bedroom?
1) The Spare Bed
Every guest room spare bed has a story behind it. Unfortunately, none of these stories are ones that will psychologically assist you in getting a good night’s sleep.
First off the bed’s back story can indicate that it’s as old as fuck. And honestly, fuck is pretty old and probably has a lot of bed bugs and shit.
“That bed, yeah my parents got that bed at a yard sale back in nineteen sixty seven from people that had gotten it from their grandparents guest room. I think it's made of steel.”
Sometimes instead of declaring it to be old as fuck, they’ll casually mention that it was used to fuck.
“That’s the bed we had when we were first married. Jeffrey was conceived on it. Do you have enough blankets?”
If that concept doesn’t spook you, try this haunted tale.
“It was Aunt Cecilia’s death bed. She died right on that side, right there. Oh that’s the side you sleep on? Well, don’t worry, we Febrezed it several times. Do you need some more pillows?”
Sometimes the beds come with instructions or warnings.
“Just try and keep to the top left, there’s this weird brown stain from here to… well... euh… It’s probably nothing, and, I mean, we put a sheet over it so, you know what, forget I said anything. Is that blanket thick enough?”
The brown stain is probably from the last guest who blew his brains out, or maybe a guest who shit the bed, too timid to get up and go to the bathroom. Maybe it just turned brown from being so old, like an old brown banana. And who doesn’t love an old brown banana? In short, be psyched.
That brings me to the physical obstacles, like stains. If you manage to get past whatever emotional baggage the bed comes with, then you will have to deal with the physical obstacles that generally come with the guest bed. You must remember, this is the bed that your hosts cast aside when they couldn’t take it anymore, and went on to buy a new bed for themselves, and put this old dung heap in the guest room. It may have springs coming out of it, dents in certain areas, or even its own signature smells
The bed will likely be shaped like a ‘U’, sunken in the middle like a thick hammock. Don’t bother trying to sleep anywhere but the middle, as you will be sucked into the springy vortex. If sleeping alone, this can sometimes be comfortable. It’s like your own little bouncy canoe. If sharing the sunken-in bed, however, be prepared for severe amounts of night time touchage and a healthy dose of sweat, oozing from the other person's brains, and getting all over your face. If the bed is sunken in enough, you will need a grappling hook to exit. The bed is almost always very low to the ground, so be careful to not slam your knees on the ground when exiting. The lowness would be a plus if you regularly fall out of the bed, but this will never happen due to the patented ‘U’ shape design of the guest bed.
Guest beds are often at least as firm than the floor, so consider both the bed and floor as viable options for sleep. If there’s carpet on the floor, it’s a no-brainer.
B) The Couch
If there is no guest bed, then chances are there isn’t even a guest room and you will be facing the sofa bed or futon. You will be placed out in some heavy foot traffic main living area, probably near a bathroom where people take night time dumps and loud pees. There will be light shining in through the windows from what feels like a UFO of some kind, but is actually some streetlight shining directly in your face. Also, at some point, you may end up being mauled by a cat, or humped by a dog.
In any case, either sofa bed or futon, just sleep directly on the sofa or futon without unfolding them (sometimes all you have been offered is a regular couch that is hopefully long enough that you won’t have to sleep with your legs up like you are riding on a rocket to the moon). It is also acceptable to remove the mattress from the frame and put it directly on the floor. Now you can easily avoid the dreaded ‘middle of the back bar’ on the sofa-bed, or the fact that futons are seemingly made only for people less than five feet tall. Being on the floor can increase cat maulings or dog humpings, so please take that into consideration.
There is no shutting out the streetlight because your hosts don’t have blinds or curtains over those windows. Better luck next time, asshole. In any case, you’ll be forced to wake up whenever the first person in the household wakes up, since you are out in the open. Just pray that your wiener or nipple or vagina or ass-crack or taint or pubes aren’t showing.
IV) The Air Mattress
They always seem like a good idea, but they also always leak air. If you know that you are sleeping on an air mattress, blow it up as soon as you get there, even if it is morning. You need to know how bad it is leaking, stat. Once you confirm that it is leaking, you have to hunt for the holes. Hole-hunting basically means that you have to hover over it with your hands, like it’s some kind of mystical ouija board, and then shush everyone.
“Shhhhh quiet, I’m listening for the air. I’m trying to feel where the leak is – WITH MY MIND.”
Once you find holes, you have to patch them with the million patches that come with the air mattress. That really should have been the first sign that these things aren’t very reliable. That’s like giving out morning after pills with packs of condoms, you know, just in case. The patches kind of look like the patches your mom used to use to cover the holes in your finest pair of husky jeans, and also, they never actually stop the air from leaking out. You fall asleep in the air, and wake up on the floor. The sides of the air mattress are hugging your sides like some kind of hot dog bun. But, in this scenario, you are the big ol’ sausage! You may be thinking, "it's kind of more like a taco, and I am the ground beef", but you are wrong. The answer is hot dog.
Sharing an air mattress sucks even harder, because every move the other person makes shakes you around like you’re trying to sleep through an earthquake. I suggest yelling out “EARTHQUAKE” every time the other person moves. It’s great for their self-esteem. The morning after sharing an air mattress with my wife was the only time that I have ever woken up, looked over at her, and wished that she was way the hell fatter than me. Because there she was, gingerly perched on a cushiony cloud of airy comfort, while I lay on the ground, with my feet slightly elevated. I did what any good husband would do, and rolled off, sending her on a quick descent towards an abrupt hardwood wakeup call. This is an excellent way to share a laugh with your partner, eventually, when they begin speaking to you again, sometime during the following month.
Also, if the mattress is a bit saggy and your partner is laying on it, don’t jump too hard onto it, or you will risk sending them flying out the window, into the ceiling fan or head first into a light bulb. If this is your plan, then be sure to get the angle just right. Practice makes perfect, so maybe do a few trial runs with the local dog, cat or children.
But, honestly, I suggest you just fill the air mattress with water. That way, if it doesn’t leak, you get a water bed experience. If it does leak, then you’ll get water everywhere, but you can blame it on your host for giving you a shitty air mattress. Win – win.
There are definitely other sleeping arrangements that can be thrown at you, like a tree house in the back yard, foam placed on a concrete floor (they look like mushy egg cartons and feel like crap!), sleeping bag in the bathtub, or even a Murphy bed. So bring lots of Aleve, you’ll need it. That or horse tranquilizers. Personally I just ask the host for more pillows and blankets, pile them under the sheets so it looks like I’m sleeping in there, and then I check into a nearby hotel.
That’s it. I gotta go blow up the air mattress for my mom. It’s really comfortable.