Monday, December 13, 2010

Bedside Manor

Do you have a side of the bed?  Can you absolutely not sleep on the “other” side or else you’ll toss all night?

That’s me.  I have to be on the right side of the bed (from the point of view of being in the bed.)  Even during the (many) years I was sleeping alone, I still stayed mostly to the right side, although I admit I’ve gravitated toward the middle as of the last 10 years.

I suppose it started when I got my first double bed. 

I used to have to share a room with my brother.  My entire childhood, we had twin beds on opposite sides of a room (aka my side and the slobby side).  When we finally moved into the farmhouse outside Toledo, we had an extra room that my folks wanted to keep as a guest room.  Eventually I persuaded them to let me have the room, on the condition that when we had guests, I had to hit the couch.  It was a good deal… we rarely had stay-over company.

Anyway, my bed was positioned such that it was right beside my desk.  That’s where I put my hanky, or drink, or whatever else I might need at night.  So I got used to gravitating toward that side.  It stuck.

So now I have all my stuff on the end table beside my bed… my alarm clock, box of Kleenex, and always a glass of water.  Every single night, I draw a glass of water for my bedside.  I only ever drink from it maybe once a month, but on that one night, it’s totally worth not having to get out of bed to wipe out a wicked case of dry-mouth.

It’s only been a matter of luck that every girl with whom I’ve shared a bed from then on either preferred the left side, or didn’t care.  I used to worry about what would happen if I ever encountered a potential mate that wanted “my” side.  I’m sure some top-level negotiations would have had to take place.

Not that it matters, ultimately.  Whichever side I’m on, I know I’m only getting about 2 feet of it.

OK, Pinky’s generally not that bad.  But it’s funny.  Sometimes when we stay at a hotel that has a king-size bed, well, you’d think that with all that extra room, I’d have room for my elbows at my sides.  But no.  She will chase me across the bed, in slow motion throughout the night, until I’m cornered at the edge and hanging on for dear life.

I guess I should just be thankful it’s only Pinky that I have to worry about and not a steady stream of cats and kids and dogs.

Now that I think of it, my dad was always on the right side of the bed and mom was on the left.  I know this, not because I used to crawl in, God forbid, we kids NEVER dared try that.  I know because I used to bring them coffee on the weekends.  Yes, really.

Mom taught me how to make coffee when I was in 3rd or 4th grade.  This was pre-Mr. Coffee days too.  Big metal pot, metal basket inside, filling up the pot to the correct level… it was a big responsibility.  Every weekend morning I’d get up, make coffee and around 9:00 I’d pour one black and one with milk and tiptoe up the stairs and into their room. 

What can I say, besides the words “perfect child?”

Then I’d run down and pour myself a cup, then run back up and we’d all have our morning coffee together.  (Calm down… it was only half coffee, half milk, two spoons of sugar.  As I got older, I changed the proportions accordingly.)  I kept up this routine until I was a sophomore in high school, at which time I discovered that it was much more fulfilling to sleep until 11:00.

OK, where was I?  Oh yeah, Dad was always on the right side.  Maybe that subconsciously rubbed off.  But, I think it’s more like the early conditioning of having a shelf on that side.  Who knows?

So do you have a side?  Have you ever had to sleep on the off side?  How did that go?  And are you the bed hog, or the one clinging to the edge?

26 comments:

  1. My wife always has to sleep on the side closest to the door, which if I think about it, implies that she thinks she should escape calamity faster than I can. I don't care where I sleep, really, but I tend to end up splayed out. Oh, and she kicks. A lot.

    Your parents had you well-trained!

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  2. Nearest the door... that could be either side... so she's ambi-siderous. Good thing you're flexible. (and I mean that metaphorically, of course.

    To the last line... you have no idea.

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  3. I generally have to sleep closest to the door as well. I also don't have a preference on which side of my body I sleep on, as long as it's facing the edge of the bed (and door).
    It's weird though because before I had my daughter, I had to sleep on the side of the bed nearest to the window.
    I think this means that my ex husband was a jackass. I had to be closest to the door so that I could slip out of bed without disturbing his beauty rest to go take care of the kids.

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  4. I'm on the right side. Always. No matter where we are or what we're doing. Right side.

    I'm always up against the edge, too. But that's because I have what Matt describes as a "Pillow Fortress." Now, to that I say, YOU TRY BEING SUPER PREGNANT. Plus, I can't lay on my back, so my pillows keep me from doing that. Nothing is more disconcerting than waking up and not being able to feel your feet because a giant tumor (AKA Baby) is pressing on your vena cava.

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  5. My husband and I quickly discovered that we had compatible bed side tastes. I've always been a left-sider, even when I had a queen size to myself. I like to face out and be near the edge, even if it's just me. I'm not sure what I would have done if we would have liked the same side.

    Some nights, just to mess with him, I'll get in his side of the bed and he throws a fit, or will physically shove me over until everything is as it should be.

    And he used to be the cover hog, but somehow in the past two years he gave up the fight.

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  6. Miley,
    I also prefer to sleep facing the edge, especially when there's someone else in there with me. That way no one is breathing in the other's face.

    The jackass was a real gem, wasn't he?

    Cassie,
    I imagine the rules are all different when your preggers... except that right side thing, I guess.

    Funny thing is that when I'm in bed alone, I do the pillow thing too. Because I like to sleep on my side, it helps to have a pillow to clasp onto, so my shoulders don't collapse inward.

    Aww, little Baby Tumor... how cute!

    Jessica,
    Pinky does the same thing sometimes, just to get my goat. I tried the left side once... it just felt so "unnatural", I couldn't go through with it. It was like trying to write left handed.

    I used to always have my covers tucked in, but I gave it up. With two people, they'd get pulled out in no time, especially the flannel sheets. Now I just try to keep them as even as I can.

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  7. ewwww, don't get me started on bed breath! I don't want some warmth grazing across my face at 2am. Ew.

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  8. Oh my gosh, Bluz, your parents were geniuses!! I'd try that, but with my luck it would end with coffee and grounds everywhere and me having to drag out the carpet cleaner.

    I'm a lefty, but doesn't really matter when we travel. I especially don't like being closest to the door in a hotel. Creeps me out.

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  9. I dated a guy who had never heard of "my side of the bed". He was surprised when I pointed out (with disgust) that he was on my side of the bed (which, by the way, is the right side). Thank goodness I'm single now and the entire bed is my side of the bed.

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  10. Oh lordy. I could write a book on this subject.

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  11. I'm a total bed hogger. Poor Chilla is hanging on the edge for dear life every morning, that is if he actually ends up sleeping all night next to me. My snoring will send him screaming to the couch at 2am. Then I get the WHOLE bed...teehee!

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  12. I'm currently a left-sider, but can switch with a little adjustment. The cat is currently the right-sider. But, like your wife, she often takes her half out of the middle.

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  13. Rod has always slept on the left. It was his choice, and I didn't really care one way or another. So it's Rod on the left, then Mulligan, then Lizzy, then me on the right. But then Mulligan changes sides and one of my feet is hanging off the side. Then Lizzy moves to the end of the bed under the covers, and Mulligan gets up with his head next to mine. Then Rod starts snoring, then I start snoring, and Mulligan starts barking. Then it's time to get up. Where the f*** did the night go?

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  14. Miley,
    Agreed… I hate that. And I try to be courteous about it myself.

    DG,
    I was a very responsible boy and took my job very seriously. I was the oldest, (which was probably why I wanted to drink coffee with my parents in the first place), so I wanted to act the part.

    Not being near the door… yeah, like an intruder couldn’t figure out how to go around to the other side… But I can’t throw stones. I used to be sure that nothing ever hung over the edge of the bed, because, of course, the alligators were under the bed. (Hey, they fit perfectly.) Took a long time to let that one go…

    Sitcom Kelly (SK),
    Thank you for leading me into a bit I meant to put in the post, but forgot.

    You told me that story once over lunch, which led to an “episode” of our “sitcom” where the Sitcom Kelly encounters a date that won’t give up “her” side of the bed. The following is taken directly from our “script” document:

    Move It On Over (Episode title)
    Kelly’s new bf must sleep on her side of the bed, throwing the entire night out of kilter. Montage of shots:
    * She goes to roll over, rolls out of bed.
    * Reaches for a Kleenex, uses bf’s pillowcase by accident.
    * Alarm goes off and she smacks bf in the nose. Upon hearing that it had no affect on the alarm, she continues to whack him across the face.
    Next shot: bf sitting at the kitchen table with a napkin stuffed up each nostril, saying, OK, you can have your side back.”

    Geez, we gotta get this thing made.

    Trash,
    I love it when a subject strikes a chord with people.

    Wormy,
    I always suspected that was a plot. Yinz just want us guys in there when you first get into bed, for the cuddling. Then once we’ve done our jobs, we’re dismissed via subtle bed-commandeerment strategies.

    Kernut
    And the cat has sharper claws… Gotta watch out when the stretch in the mornings.

    Judie
    Sounds like that would be a fascinating time-lapse photo session. Kinda like in the movie Paranormal Activity, except with dogs rather than ghosts.

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  15. I'm a left sider, right on the edge, fetal position. Also, I miss you bluz!!!!!

    xoxoxoxooxoxx

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  16. Vange!
    I miss you too! Where have you been, Stranger? I thought you didn't love me any more...

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  17. My husband takes up three quarters of the bed. Maybe they had the right idea back in the 50's when husband and wife slept in seperate beds. Might need to bring this up with the hubby...

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  18. Jennie,
    You raise an interesting point. A couple sleeping in the same bed as a practice is better in theory than in reality. While it may be more convenient in, ahem, some ways, it clearly does not benefit a sound, comfortable sleep. It’s like you have to choose between having those quiet moments of closeness and getting a good night’s sleep. Between the snoring, sleep-talking, night-wiggles, covers-hogging and territory encroachment, it’s a wonder we get any sleep at all.

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  19. Sides don't matter to me, but I really like to sleep on the opposite end of the bed from where I'm 'supposed' to sleep.

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  20. Sally,
    Do you mean putting your head where the feet go? Or just on whatever side your bed mate wants to be on? Ever the contrarian, you are...

    But then that's part of your charm!

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  21. Yep, I put my head where the feet are supposed to go :)

    And thank you, bluz. The contrary, circa 1979 :)

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  22. Sally,
    So I guess that puts "spooning" off the table. A dude could break his nose that way. ;o)

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  23. I don't care at all where I sleep, and when I'm alone, I switch sides from night to night to keep the mattress evenly used. It seems nerdy when you write it out.

    That graph is so true, though. Even if I can contain my upper body, my legs love to flail.

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  24. Mundane,
    I understand the perfect logic behind that. Although I'm more apt to flip the mattress around.

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  25. HAHAHAHAHA. It should come as no surprise to you that the above is exceptionally true for me and The Guy. I maintain that it's his own fault, though - he STARTS the night curled up on the very edge of his side of the bed! I keep telling him, you'll have better luck if you start out in the middle.

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  26. Mrs. Bachelor Girl,
    Absolutely! He has to stake his claim early or else he has no chance.

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