EXIT STRATEGY: TASTEFUL TIPS FOR DEPARTING POST-HOOK UP

Ahhh the weekend. The perfect opportunity for relaxing, blowing off some steam and, if you’re lucky, getting a little action. But what do you do when the lights come on (nightmare) and you’re left plotting how to bow out gracefully (bigger nightmare) the morning after? Have no fear, boys, Miss Wingman has your back before you can even say “Walk of Shame.” Here’s a handy dandy guide to the Do’s and Don’ts of post-hook up etiquette.

Do: Decide what your intention is with the person beside you. If you have no desire to keep her in your starting lineup, then I suppose you don’t have to do all the cutesy, adorable morning stuff that will up your stock and win you points. You can just high five her, grab your shoes and be gone. Kidding – a chest bump would be better. But seriously, if you actually want to see her again, then it’s in your best interest to behave accordingly. In which case…

Don’t: Ask her name again. Um, yeah. If you didn’t catch it the night before, I’m not really sure what to tell you. Maybe hand her your cell phone and ask her to add her number, hoping she’ll type in her name, too (you can always delete it later). Or try to scope out a piece of mail on the counter – another easy fix, unless she has roommates. But if you can’t remember her name, perhaps you should forget about a second date, too.

Do: Cover up. Even if she was cool with rolling around half (or less) dressed last night, there is nothing more shocking than waking up to someone else’s equipment in the light of day – especially if that person starts parading around your house. Remember that, no matter how beautiful you think your bod is, a little modesty goes a long way.

Don’t: Give an awkward recap of the night before. If she was really drunk, or both of you were a little more…animated than usual, it’s all good in the evening hours. But reliving the madness in the morning with a, “Wow, where’d you learn to do that?” reference is more embarrassing than flattering, trust me.

Do: Find some toothpaste. (Or, if you’re this guy, a whole travel toiletry kit. Priceless). Granted, if you’re not in your own apartment there’s little you can do to spruce up your appearance in the AM, but most women own mouthwash or at least toothpaste (God help you both if she doesn’t). Please use it. There are few things in this world less sexy than morning breath.

Don’t: Overstay your welcome. No one likes to have their morning hijacked unexpectedly – or worse, their day. Even if you guys had fun together, leaving her wanting more isn’t a bad thing. I’m not suggesting you make up an excuse of something you just have to do to facilitate an early dismissal, I’m just suggesting that you don’t stay too long at the party. An hour or so after you both wake up is sufficient, unless you really hit it off. If she invites you to have breakfast, however, then game on.

Do: Be a little cuddly if you like her. Girls like putting their heads on that parking spot on your chest or waking up with an arm over them. It’s a nice feeling. So if you actually like the girl, a little forehead kiss or some spooning goes a long way (read: could lead to an early morning encore). I’m sorry, the forking joke was too easy.

Don’t: Leave unannounced. Repeat after me: It is not OK to vanish into thin air while she’s sleeping. I don’t care if you sincerely regret your decision for a nightcap, I don’t care if you finally get a good look at her and she’s a 4 on her best day, whatever. Under no circumstances is it copacetic to disappear without so much as an, “It’s been fun” or just a “Goodbye.” You may think it’s bad to announce your departure but trust me – it’s worse if you don’t. No girl likes being made to feel like a hooker.

And that’s about it. The gospel, according to me (and every girl I know). The Art of the Take-Home is a delicate one, and one that – I hope – we all never get too good at. It’s also why women will often invite you back to their own lair, it’s more comfortable on our turf. But if you find yourself the host and not the guest, being too slick can also work against you.

Waking up to find a clean pair of shorts and a sweatshirt to go home in, an extra toothbrush or a cab waiting only works for Pauly D and the Situation. Most women would cringe at such precision. Hooking up shouldn’t be that streamlined a process – unless you do it often. Way too often. And if we get a whiff of that, the smart ones among us won’t be back.

Just remember that even casual encounters don’t excuse you from having manners. Be respectful, know your intentions…and don’t forget to warm up the getaway car.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

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