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After spending five nights sleeping on the floor of Violet's dorm room and the two of us going to the restroom to change into our pajamas we both started opening the door to her closet to change in the peace of her room. Another two days later, during one of our conversations, Violet told me that she used to be an extremely shy person but had grown less timid over the last few years. I told her that I felt much the same way about my own life and that from what I had seen so far she appeared to be less timid than me at the moment. Violet seemed to raise her eyebrows at the truthfulness of that statement, which led me to comment on how we could always stage a competition to test which of us still displayed the greater level of shyness. This was said as I was walking out the door to brush my teeth, so Violet only had time for a mischevious "Oh, really?" before I was gone.

However, upon my return she said that it had to be uncomfortable sleeping on the floor for so long and offered me a spot in her bed for the evening. I made an effort to hug the wall that night, and as I didn't hear any complaints the next morning I can only assume that my being there hadn't been an inconvenience. The following night was more of the same, but after a week's time of spending the night in her room I noticed that instead of wearing her usual black tank-top and light sweatpants Violet had on a pair of very small, light gray shorts. As she was sliding under the covers - and I should mention that despite us sharing a bed we still used our own individual blankets - she also made a comment about how cold it felt in her room. Being the young, warm-blooded male that I am it didn't take a lot of work to figure out the underlying request in that statement, so as soon as she was comfortable I gave Violet my own blanket to provide an extra layer of insulation. Yeah, and I bet you thought this was going to head in another direction, right?

The past three weeks have seen Violet continue wearing shorts to bed, although there haven't been any other comments about the temperature during that time. We still use our own blankets as well, even if it does make things more difficult when making her bed in the morning. Our usual schedule is for Violet to set her alarm for 8:25 and for me to set mine for 8:45 - her alarm wakes us up in the morning and mine is the deadline for how long we can stay in bed before we need to get up and prepare for classes. However, earlier this week I woke up before either alarm had gone off and noticed that, while I was still resting on my "half" of her bed, Violet had moved over to lay next to me, with one leg touching mine and her back resting at an angle against my side. The odds are in favor of this being a move that took place without Violet's knowledge (in other words - while she was asleep), but if I'm being completely honest with myself I do have to admit that it was a pleasant experience.

Thursday and Friday saw Violet change behind her closet door as usual, but instead of using the door in front of where I was sitting she used the door diagonal from my own position - so that I could see most of what she was doing as she changed. I made it a subtle point to busy myself with other things as soon as I noticed what she was doing, but it does make me question whether this is a simple coincidence or if there's something more involved. If she picks her clothes out before she changes why move from one side of the room to the other after four weeks?

Getting to the point brought up by my subject title though, during a telephone conversation with Wendy yesterday she made a reference to how I've been "sleeping with" Violet for the past few weeks. If I were asked to comment on the situation I would say that I've been "spending the night with her" rather than "sleeping with her" - but in the end this might just be a matter of semantics. After all, you can spend the night with someone without sleeping at all while on the other hand you can say you've slept with someone and it can imply an act far removed from the innocence of sleep. Hearing Wendy's expression was very surprising, although her choice of words doesn't have to possess the extra meaning that can be associated with the phrase. Is there a fine line between the two? Can they be used interchangeably? Obviously I'm not the most objective party to be making a decision one way or the other, but I don't think Wendy meant anything extra by stating things the way she did. Of course, considering the rest of our conversation that afternoon (which will probably be described later) there's always room for doubt.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
ajodasso
Feb. 19th, 2006 09:33 am (UTC)
Linguistically, I think the expression "to sleep with" has accrued such a thick layer of sexual connotation that it would be impossible to remove. From that standpoint alone, yes, what you've been doing is spending the night, but on the flip side, literally, sleeping with somebody is...sleeping beside or with them as they sleep. I guess it's an example of the power of connotation: it's become synonymous with definition in the greater psyche.
samedi
Feb. 20th, 2006 01:19 am (UTC)
I compeletely agree with you concerning the connotations of both expressions, although it may be that non-native English speakers don't necessarily realize the underlying cultural assumptions that accompany the use of "to sleep with" in the United States.

Any idea if there's a similar relationship in French regarding "coucher avec qqn" and "passer la nuit avec qqn"?
i_phianassa
Feb. 20th, 2006 07:16 am (UTC)
I think in French they mean the same thing. At least, if someone told me that, I would think they meant something not entirely innocent. But that might be my English knowledge creeping up on me.

Both 'sleeping with' and 'spending the night with' sound...bad. But I think if it was actually just sleep I use 'slept with' because the sentence actually has the word 'sleep' in it, whereas 'spending the night' makes it sound like you spent time with them and were awake.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )