Well, you did it again. Was it the tequila, the summer heat, or just the fact that you never let an itch go unscratched which led you to be opening your eyes very slowly and staring up in mild discomfort at a ceiling you've never seen before?
Yes, you're 'back at theirs'. The horror, the horror. If the first three morning-after nightmares haven't put you off for ever, there are even more just waiting to turn your stomach.
The cold light of day on unforgiving flesh
Well, surprise, surprise, he's not as hot as you remember. Funny that, isn't it? Who knew that the Abercrombie & Fitch model that was your date last night could turn into a slightly leaner Piers Morgan the morning after?
And guess what? You're not looking crash-hot either. The only thing worse than waking up disappointed is if that displeasure is mutual. Shiver with unease as their eyes flick over your lumps, bumps and dimples. Your one-pack and milky-white thighs are assessed and rejected in mere milliseconds now there's no booze-flavoured filter to offer encouragement. You are never more naked than you are the morning after a one-night stand. Arise! Dress! Exit!
Tip: There's not a lot you can do here, really. Try to keep your looks of disdain at a minimum and hopefully they'll afford you the same in return. Or, look a little too lengthily at their genitals and give them a weak smile. Then leave.
Pictures of Mummy, Daddy and Betsy the dog
When you're out on a date with a guy, especially if it's going to lead to duvet dancing, you tend not to think of his life away beyond that moment with you. He's the guy who downed shots and told you dirty jokes, not the cherry-cheeked, helpful grandson he is to the folks back at home. So it is often a surprise to be confronted with pictures of your date's mum or sisters around the bedroom.
Here he is helping Dad with the barbecue. Another one holding a small baby at what you hope is a christening. And then you turn to look at the guy beside you, broken and rumpled and, you hope, exhausted from pleasure, and you can't help but silently apologise to his poor mother. Look what I've done to your angel; I wonder if he'll think of me next time he's helping his dad clear out the tool-shed.
Tip: If you're the host, shove your pictures, family mementos and greeting cards from your sisters telling you what an amazing brother you are in a box for the moment. It's OK, Mummy can't see! (Or can she? Check the wardrobe for cameras.)
Waking up second
So you wake up, as detailed before, unpeeling your eyelids and all that, only to find that there isn't anybody next to you. You are alone in unfamiliar surroundings. Where are they? The bathroom? And then you hear the light clatter of crockery in the kitchen, the ting of a metal spoon swirls around a cup of tea. You're getting breakfast!
The problem is this well-meaning soul doesn't know the real you; he has never had the pleasure of your presence in the morning. On dates you have been a ribald charmer, mysterious and sexy. Now, however, you smell like a wild boar, have dried drool on your cheek, stinging lips from all that aggressive snogging and a mood to match Reese Witherspoon's when she gets pulled over by the traffic cops. And in comes Prince Charming - no glass slipper in sight but instead a cup of tea and some toast.
"Ah, you're awake," he'll say as he presents his offerings to you like a cat bringing you a half-dead sparrow.
What you do next could be the make or break. I suggest take the food gracefully, smile a lot, try not to talk too much and pray he's not big on morning conversation.
Tip: If you have taken someone back and sense they have woken up before you, give them 15 minutes in case they want to escape. If they're still there, and haven't stolen anything, fake your own waking moment and ask if they want tea. No surprise cuppas or burnt toast. Please.