1. The first person to wake up and realize how terrible they’re feeling immediately starts to pray that the other person is slightly less hungover—not because he or she’s feeling especially compassionate, but because they desperately want to be taken care of by someone all day and the chances of that happening depend heavily upon just how wretched the other person feels.
2. As the first to rise stares at her sleeping boyfriend or girlfriend, they grow more and more jealous because unconsciousness is so much more pleasant than the pain they’re currently experiencing. Feeling cheated out of additional sleep by their body’s internal clock, they decide to shove the peacefulness right out of their bedmate. No one likes to cope with a massive headache alone. Plus, it’s noon, so the hour justifies the selfish maneuver.
3. After challenging each other in a round of who-feels-worse-and-is-thus-entitled-to-having-their-needs-catered-to, it’s time to compare notes about the night before. For clues, you reach for your phones. Chief questions include: What time did we get home? How many nightcaps did we have? Why are there cigarettes on the coffee table? And, or course: We had sex, right?
4. After reviewing the bizarre pictures in each of your phone’s photo galleries, you agree that you had a blast and it was all totally worth it.
5. Next, one of you suggests the magic trio: Advil, food, and water. The genius party behind this idea demands that the other person executes every aspect of the mission since they were the one who came up with the oh-so-original plan in the first place.
6. Absolutely nothing happens for several minutes. But you’re both too damn weak and ravenous for a battle of wills, so you agree to divide and conquer. While one person fetches the headache meds and water, the other rings the diner and orders enough food for five.
7. Twenty minutes later, the food still hasn’t arrived. Your hunger levels are sky high and you’re bored because your brains are too swollen to accommodate any smart thoughts, so you waste what little energy you have blaming each other instead of doing something productive like fix a snack. We could have made our own food by now! Why do you always want to order in? Why do you always have to ask them to scoop your bagel and toast it twice? You’re the one who likes their corned beef hash “extra crispy”! It’s not pretty.
8. Thankfully, the deliveryman buzzes before you break up on account of the suddenly obvious differences in your value systems. At this point, you realize simultaneously that you’re both out of cash. Fuck. Rock-paper-scissors is the only sensible method of determining who has to muster the strength for a trip to the ATM. The winner is charged with ensuring at all costs that the deliveryman stays put until the loser returns. If this requires promising an absurdly generous tip, so be it.
9. It’s a good thing you’re way past the point of trying to impress each other constantly. You eat right out of the takeout containers, on the couch, wearing a combination of loungewear and pieces from last night’s outfits, dripping ketchup and overall grossness. But you can be disgusting together without fear of judgment. Napkins and utensils aren’t necessary. Neither is chewing with your mouth closed, which requires far too much concentration.
10. Stomachs sated, you consider possible daytime activities and quickly agree that the only choice is entertaining yourselves all day in bed. Briefly, you consider drawing the blinds to see what it’s like outside but then think better of it.
11. One of you wants to have sex, then watch movies. The other wants to watch a movie, have sex, then watch another movie. You negotiate the following compromise: have sex, watch a movie, have sex again, and watch another movie.
12. The sex makes you hungry and the movies make you tired so you end up watching one film over the course of five to seven hours in between breaks for napping, binging, and fornicating. The sex is just as sloppy (and satisfying) as the food consumption process. Around 8pm, in the fog of gluttony, you start weighing the costs and benefits of rallying for another night out against going to sleep. As you pass out, you think: So this is what love really looks like.