Morning encounters of the young and awkward

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Illustration by Emily Reising Photo credit: Emily Reising

Rolling over in bed the morning after a wild night out can be met with surprise, shock, awe or enjoyment. Whatever happened the night before, you’re now in another person’s bed and the looming presence of the morning is upon you. The morning after can be a complicated dynamic, and I’ve decided to split it up into the most stressful and awkward categories.

Morning breath

What’s the appropriate way to handle morning breath? This might always be an unanswerable question, because it’s such a tough problem to tackle. In all honestly, it’s probably doubtful either of you brushed your teeth the night before (too caught up in the passion) and you both probably feel like all you can do is silently acknowledge that your breath smells horrid.

Waking up, I feel obligated to give them a kiss good morning, but how gross is that? I think a good rule of thumb is to bring mints along no matter what in order to always avoid the dreadful morning breath.

Hair and makeup

The next morning, my hair is guaranteed to be a mess. The combination of a night’s sleep and sex hair is definitely not cute. On top of the hair, there’s bound to be streaky mascara covering my face, making me look equivalent to a raccoon. If I get really lucky, I have time to run to the bathroom and try to look somewhat human before I have to face the cruel reality of my morning-after face.

In order to help yourself out, I would try to bring along makeup for the next morning if you know you’re going to need it. Also, maybe set an alarm to wake up extra early to give yourself time to run to the bathroom and assess the damage.

The hangover

My biggest issue in the morning after is my horrible hangover that follows from the night before. The minute I wake up I immediately feel that “Uh-oh, I have to throw up” sensation which follows with a mini panic attack. One of my friends actually threw up on the floor and bed of someone she went home with the morning after, and after that, I’ve always been terrified of a similar experience. When I wake up, all I care about is safely making it to the bathroom and then safely making it home as soon as possible.


Depending on how long you stay, it may get to the point in the morning where your stomach starts grumbling and your body screams, “food!” Do I ask for some breakfast, or is that overstepping way too many boundaries? If you’re really lucky, they may offer to make you breakfast (and in that case you must have done something right). Unfortunately, I’ve never gotten the special privilege of a morning-after breakfast, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed. If they were to stay at my house, I probably wouldn’t whip up anything fancy but I’d be generous enough to offer a bowl of cereal.


This is always an awkward situation, and I’m never sure when the appropriate time to leave is. Of course, you never want to be left lingering and that’s why picking up on cues is essential to a successful morning-after departure. The goodbye is also a confusing situation. Do you kiss goodbye? If you really want to avoid the whole thing, you can just secretly slip out before anyone’s awake— a little cruel but sometimes necessary.

I’m sure everyone has their fair share of morning-after stories, and everyone’s experiences are different, but I hope other people can identify with my chosen awkward encounters from the morning after. While the next morning can often go better than expected, I strongly believe in preparing for the worst— especially when it comes to the morning after.

Emma Vidak-Benjamin can be reached at [email protected] or @gnarlyemma on Twitter.