A few quick & dirty fakts about nun sleep habits and sistrrrly knight-rituals at the convent, in the event that you might find the nuns dreamy or that, Dear Readrrr, the nuns might dream of you.
- The nuns are not in the habit of wearing their habits to bed, contrary to popular belief (i.e., the thought had by NoOne, Ever). All nuns are given the choice: sleep nude or in Oscar Wilde’s purfled bed shirt. Most choose the latter. I’ve only known one nun who bravely went for the former and she became such a nun-magnet that, from then on, she felt the need to double and triple up on Oscar Wilde’s purfled bed shirts (turns out he had enough of them to bed-dress every nun across world for seven decades).
- Do nuns sneak into the kitchen at night to obtain “cookies and milk”? Every single night. Every married night. Every it’s complicated night. It is cardinal rule at the convent, and the nuns are under strict orders to sneak into the kitchen in order to consume ample amounts of “cookies and milk” each night. The tricky aspect is that there are no cookies and milk on the abbey grounds, and there never were. All nuns know that the “cookies and milk clause” is part of their rigid self-discipline and self-sacrifice training. When they take their vows, though no one mentions this during the actual avowing ceremony, they commit to a life of renewed self-denial: they cannot simply learn to forget about cookies and milk. They must suffer. They must wake in a fit of hunger, search for cookies and milk in a great wave of anticipation, and ride out the raw disappointment and pangs of starvation at the kitchen counter. (I’m working at my makeshift cauldron, as I write this, to combat this terribly unjust clause.)
- Nuns, as a rule and in all senses, run cold. This isn’t a condition natural to them; it is built into the formation process. If you are not cold when you enter the convent, Dear Readrrr, you can bet you will be before you leave. Unfortunately (for nuns), the papacy does not allot heating or cooling funding to convents (priestly quarters: another matter– of electric bill extremity) so all nuns are expected to freeze their hairy fannies off in winter and burn to a crisp in summer. How do the nuns survive this? Divine intervention. There is simply no other logical explanation. (If you think God isn’t sorting out the grave injustices of the papacy, you would be wrong: priest molestation scandals are the rule; you never hear about predatory nuns in the news for a reason. Speaking of predatory nuns, have I a tale for you! Not yet, Eager Readrrr, not yet. (n)Unbunch your panties, Readrrr… But, back to the priests: God is working on the problem. And if God isn’t, the nuns are.)
- One of the nuns’ favorite phrases is “get a room.” They holler it at each other incessantly. This is because a room (of one’s own) is one of the very few things a nun is granted possession of in her lifetime. Granted, nuns are, on paper, not permitted to decorate their dormitories ostentatiously (no, we know the Catholic church would never foster ostentation…!). So in the Shabby Abbey there are many rooms. Probably too many. The rooms are always compact. As a matter of fakt, they start out small and they only get smaller from there. If I tell you this, I anticipate fully you will trust me on the matter: the convent I currently inhabit is comprised of at least eighty nine rooms. And the convent itself is only 501 square feet. Oh, Purrceptive Readrrr, you probably guessed: we have an excess of dollhouses. Yes, we do. The nuns love to play with dollhouses. If you had your very own Dolly, Readrrr, I guarantee: you would, too. Nuns are notorious for getting caught playing with ‘Dolly’ in the night! But no nun ever turns another nun in. Sistrrrs stick together, at least when it comes to dollhouses. (Get a room, Dear Readrrr, get 89.)
- Nuns go to bed but they do not sleep. They would be nocturnal, like their predecessor, the owl, if they had their druthers; alas, though they hoot the night away, their vocations and vows do not allow for sleep. The “I will not sleep” vow is a big step for a nun-on-her-way to take (v)ows. Believe me, nuns exceed vampires in their love of night but they must be awake during the day to serve their community and worship, and so: sleep is not part of their lifestyle. You may wonder if this makes them cranky. Dear Readrrr, what do you think. Of course, it does. It makes them a proverbial, collective, and perpetual chorus of “Hell on Wheels.” There are many justifications for crankiness among sistrrrs but of these: sleep deprivation ranks high on the list. If ever there is an outbreak of a zombie epidemic, look first to the nuns.
- Naturally, your next thought is to wonder what it is the nuns do all night. That is what this entire website is about: what happens when nuns go bump in the night! Go bump in the night with me, Readrrr, and –(h)extra, (h)extra– read all about it.
- Sometimes a nun has to be put down. For a nap. Though she cannot sleep, she will close her eyes and enter an hour-long trance, to the sound of this:
- Due to sleep deprivation, nuns have to dream while they’re awake. They work it in. They work it in (shhh: all day long). Though perpetually cranky, they do make time for this. They make lifetimes for this. And, though they would smite me for this, I confess: the nuns have extraordinary hex drives and electrifying libidos, due to lifetimes of “celibacy.” When nuns dream, planets in nether galaxies jolt out of their orbits. When nuns dream, meteors shower. When nuns dream, lakes overflow. When nuns dream… Dear Readrrr, you get the picture.
- Prayers. You didn’t think I would forget, did you. The nuns never go to bed (not to sleep but to dream) without first saying their prayers. And, let me tell you, these put elaboration to shame. The prayers of nuns are long, drawn out, and set to Bob Dylan tracks. You don’t know music until you’ve heard a bunch of nuns on a rug, praying. Their Hail Marys are full of (acoustic) grace. It is a beautiful thing to witness, and I hope someday you do, Dear Readrrr (my fingers keep wanting to call you Rear Readrrr, I confess!).
- Finally, bedfellows. Nuns make fine bedfellows (well, every one I’ve ever bed-fellow-shipped with, except for Sister Danita, who farts sardines in her sleep– pardon my American English). Of all the nuns to whom I have been a bedfellow (we consider it a kind of tutelage: I’ll tell you later, Readrrr), my favorite experience ever was with a well-read Shakespeare-loving sistrrr named Willa. Sistrrr Willa read to me. And taught me sign language. All in one long bedfellowshipping night.
There is (always) more that can be said about nuns in the night, but I’ll save it. For another time. Nun Bed is calling.