How to leave a one night stand like a gentleman

Learn to play the walk of shame game

It is likely, in these times of Tinder, that you have heard almost every conceivable one night stand escape plan. And, be they relayed by a friend or overheard in the office, it is also likely that you were struck by just how tortuous these elaborate excuses and get-outs can be.

In fact, many of these methods are so convoluted – not to mention morally murky – that it’s a small wonder some of these cut-rate Casanovas manage to charm their way into a woman’s bed in the first place.

But, fake emergency phone calls and extremely important (not to mention fictional) 9 o’clock meetings aside, there are a set of rules you can follow to ensure that you leave the love nest with your trousers, principles and maybe even a little scrap of dignity in tact. And they all hinge on one simple concept: honesty.

The post-sex exit – ‘sexit’, anyone? – is tricky to master at the best of times. So, the minute you introduce deception into the mix, you’ll just make the entire process harder for yourself. Instead, approach each step of the morning-after minefield honestly and you won’t go far wrong.


To stay or not to stay? A simple question, with a simple answer. Stay the night – unless she’s throwing you out, of course – in which case, problem solved. But, if she’s bolted the door and hidden your trousers, you’d better buckle down and accept that you’re staying ’til the sun comes up.

However, if you really do have to leave – for an early-morning flight or your weekly pre-work pilates – again, be honest. Nothing rings falser than self-diagnosed night terrors, nothing is more cowardly than a premature ‘I love you’ to scare her off and, if you do actually happen to be meeting your mother for breakfast in the morning, then good luck – because that’s page one in the little book of ‘I need to get out get-outs’.

And how bad can a little snuggling be, anyway?


In the cold, hard light of day, things may seem bad. Be it a budding hangover, a mouth like sandpaper or the harsh realisation that the girl lying next to you has dropped from a solid nine to a borderline four overnight, your throbbing head may be telling you to leap out of bed, dash for the door and never look back. Do not do this. Remember, act honestly.

You do, however, want to wake up before her. Don’t try to disguise your actions, but get out of bed decisively and go to the bathroom to make yourself both feel and look a little more human. The worst thing you can do is ‘the duvet shuffle’ – a man-tastic man tactic which involves wriggling out of the bottom of the bed like a discarded sock.

And, by the time you’re back from the bathroom, the likelihood is that she’ll be awake anyway.


There are no rules for getting dressed, but if one person is fully-clothed before the other one has even put their underwear on, you’ve gone wrong.

A common pitfall of men trying to act the Lothario is to get fully dressed before she stirs, pour themselves a cup of coffee and pose, staring faux-meaningfully out of the window waiting for her eyes to open. Again, don’t do this – she’ll either feel like she’s woken up on the set of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or American Psycho – neither of which you want.

Instead, maybe throw some trousers on and sit back on the bed. Act casually – and honestly.


Whilst you should never leave before she wakes up, you shouldn’t overstay your welcome either.

If she offers you breakfast, gently decline, but instead offer to take her out to breakfast – she’ll likely say no, but she’ll appreciate the gesture. Talk about what plans you have, which should never involve lying – a gentleman always has somewhere to be. Before you leave, locate a notepad or piece of paper on which to jot down your number. This way, you put the ‘next move’ ball firmly in her court. Never leave your card, however – you don’t want to turn a casual meet up into a business transaction.

Finally, end with a kiss rather a hug and, if you had fun and are interested in seeing her again, tell her – if you didn’t, don’t. Remember, and we can’t stress this enough, even if it’s not what they want to hear, women appreciate one thing above all others, and that’s honesty – honestly.

Further Reading