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8th May 2022

SeXion: One night stand-outs

One Night Stands can ruin your faith in men … but they’re not all bad!

Such a staple of our culture. Something so frequently disappointing, fairly messy and almost guaranteed to leave you with a headache. No it’s not Boris Johnson’s latest misdoings, although you’re just as likely to question the rationale and hairstyles of everyone involved. It’s the good ol’ the One Night Stand: or “am goingg back w him !! see u spoon” as you’ll text your friend from about 2m away in a crowded Factory. Although as pulling hotspots go, in some student clubs even the walls are likely to be dripping with some undiagnosed STI. 

As a reformed puller myself, I have some words of wisdom to offer on the subject of ONS. The words coming to mind mainly being ‘hassle’ and ‘not worth it’.

Let’s not completely disregard this great British tradition though. The ONS is always there for you, whether you’re at your lowest, most craving-any-human-touch-possible ebb, or riding high on the fact that you know you look amazing tonight.

The dizzy heights of the ONS experience for me has to be coming home with a gorgeous (tall) Irish pilot mere days after finishing Sally Rooney’s Normal People. After meeting his friends in the queue and convincing the lads on tour that 42s was in fact a reputable club and not the croaking toad of a night out, I knew it was kismet.

Not even the obstacle of an Uber driver insisting we wear masks when I had nothing but a (clean!) handkerchief in my bag to wrap over my mouth could stop us. Yes, as this Irish prince pulled down my makeshift handkerchief mask to kiss, I thought: ‘God Bless the one night stand’. And this was before we even made it to bed. 

Bedside Table
The humble night stand, Photo: @Lexi Rosenberry on Pinterest

To which I mean to say, not every ONS has to leave you with regret. We are in the age of female sex positivity, which means that women are encouraged to live free and unrestrained sex lives. Oh, and just hope they’re not assaulted in the process of course.

Women tend to experience higher levels of guilt or shame after a ONS, 35% of women feeling this way compared to – a still fairly high 20% of men. Since Eve bit into that crisp apple of temptation, women have taken on a lot of the shame for humankind, so its no wonder that this extends to sex, where women are shuffled into the staid virgin/whore binary. 

Moralising aside, it is frustrating that the physical consequences for sex are also on women. Whether it’s being on the pill or having to take plan B after the condom comes off half inside you (who knew Love Rosie had such a foot in reality?), women bear the brunt of the sexual aftermath.

It’s a sorry state of affairs, and only lightened by the fact that you have a vaguely more exciting health worry to think about than the usual period cramps, thrush, or conjunctivitis from sleeping in mascara. 

All this to say, it’s not exactly a women’s world. However, there are vital things that us women can do to make ONS more enjoyable, and dare I dream – emasculating. The bonus of a ONS is that they don’t know you which leaves room to construct hilarious lies such as trying to convince them that you in fact got an Uber to Liverpool not Fallowfield. I also like to keep myself amused by telling them “I’ve never done this before” whilst on top, just to compensate for any particularly poor performances.

Not knowing each other also means that those excruciating embarrassments – such as an Inbetweeners style floppy dick freak-out- can at least happen with someone you could well never see again. My only warning would be that in Fallowfield, everyone knows everyone, and you could well open the door for your ONS to be told that he only lives “in that house literally right over there”. Oh. 

The Inbetweeners
British stallions ripe for a ONS, Photo: The Inbetweeners @

This article (which is already longer than most one night stands) would not be complete without a homage to some of the archetypes I have discovered in my time. The Virgin. The Tourist. The Friend’s Friend From Home (a risky undertaking). The One That Turns You Celibate. 

For all the ONS out there – past and future – let’s raise a cheer. Where would we be without that post sex regret as you shame-facedly shove your sheets into the washing machine? Without that sinking feeling that you’ve wasted your only glow in the dark condom on a random? Lest we find out. 

Izzy Langhamer

Izzy Langhamer

Izzy Langhamer enjoys writing all things Manchester, covering food, drink and music across the city. In her spare time she studies English Literature.

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