The other night it happened again: I woke at four in the morning to the harmonious sound of a bed slat clattering to the floor. Many pleasant adjectives could be used to describe the room I affectionately call my garret, but large or even ample are not on that list. I sleep in a twin bed, and it's affecting my sex life.When I first saw the room, I was adamant that there was no way I could live in such a small space. But then I fell in love with the bathtub (also twin bed–sized) and my roommates’ dogs and the southern exposure and exposed brick and cherry hardwood floors and roof deck and on and on. So I signed a lease. And for the first time since childhood, I commenced to sleep in a twin.It’s fine, I thought. I was just out of a long relationship. I filled my room with vintage furniture. I lit candles and bought fresh flowers and wrote at an antique secretary desk. At night, I crawled into my cozy bed. I was single; I slept in a single. Perf. My room could accommodate a double bed, but then I wouldn’t be able to roll out a yoga mat on my enviable wood floor. Yoga and the illusion of space trumped bed size.
When I started dating, I’d usually go to the dudes' places. I liked it that way. I was keeping things light with these guys, and I didn’t really want them cramping my style. Or to cramp their style in my bed. Really, though, it felt good to keep my room for myself and traipse to Brooklyn Heights or Bushwick or whatever for sleepovers. I broke the rule a couple of times, but it wasn’t a rule, anyway — more of a suggestion to myself. A nice guideline brought on by the very existence of my nanoscale bed. But then I starting dating someone I actually liked. The first time he came over, I almost forgot about how diminutive my bed was. I was distracted by an amazing dinner at this French bistro in the Lower East Side, which had been preceded by a screening of Wild at Heart. I didn’t really have time to worry about my bed size. But on the C train home, the reality of the situation came to me. “One thing,” I said. “You might find my bed a little… small.”
He was chill about it. We made it work. We slept fine, jumbled up like a couple of tangly puppies. But as time has passed, it has become clear that he doesn’t sleep very well at my place. And sadly, neither do I, if he’s there.
The first occurrence of the bed slat incident, I laughed. I’ve been known to break a bed or two in my day, so it felt right that a piece of wood was clanking to the hardwood in the middle of the night. Seemed on point. On fleek, even.
But then there was the night I woke to discover him lying on the ground next to my bed, thanks to how squished and uncomfortable he felt coiled up next to me like a snake stuffed into a matchbox. Or the nights we’ve tossed and turned from dusk 'til dawn (well, from after midnight 'til noon — details, details) and woke decidedly unrested. Or the night he came over to “tuck me in” and ordered an Uber at one in the morning.
It’s one thing to sleep in a twin. It’s quite another to have my sex life suffer as a result. Few things in life get my attention the way the phrase “my sex life might suffer” does.
Don’t get me wrong: It’s not officially suffering yet. But it could. We go to his house a lot. At mine, we take long baths and stay up so late that we basically pass out unconscious when we finally try to sleep. Sometimes we sleep the night. Sometimes I wake up to him lying on the floor, or to the sound of a bed slat peacing out. It’s all part of living in New York. I grew up here, in a studio apartment with my parents in the East Village, so I know all about making it work in cramped quarters. That said, when you wake up in the middle of the night to a fallen bed slat, thanks to the raucous sex you had earlier in the evening, it might be time to get a bigger bed. In the grand scale of life, this is no big deal. I’m about to go away for the weekend to a cabin in the mountains that contains abundant bed. My boyfriend’s place could fit about five of my apartments into itself, and also features a sizable bed. Beds, then, abound. And I won’t live in this garret forever.
In the meantime, while I’m livin’ la vida garret, I cherish my few square feet of floorspace, on which I can roll out a yoga mat and fold myself into half moon pose, or sprawl on a pillow and read, or sit crosslegged and watch a movie on my laptop. The addition of a double bed to my room would be the end of floorspace. My room would basically become one big bed. Someday that might be a choice I make, but for now, I’m happy with the way things are. Perhaps one of my roommates will bounce, leaving a larger room in their wake. Perhaps I will move. Perhaps I will give up my floorspace. TBD. For now, I’m down with living the garret life, twin bed–style.