10 Floors I’ve Lied On, Ranked

Listen. Sometimes you just need to lie down on the floor. Maybe you need to cry, maybe you need to feel your feelings, maybe you just read an essay by Rachel Kincaid, maybe you’re just fucking tired and the floor is right there. It’s July 2018 – I know you know what I mean.

A few weeks ago my friend Dana and I were messaging on Instagram, as you do, and she told me she’d been lying on her floor all day sweating, and I said I hoped the floor was comfy at least, and she said “it’s not the worst floor I’ve ever lied on,” and then I burst out laughing and said I should pitch an Autostraddle article titled “Floors I’ve Lied On, Ranked”, and then Dana suggested that I check to see if the correct verb is “lied” or “laid” but I never did that, I just pitched the list, and the editors said yes, and now here we are! [ed note: the correct verb when a direct object is being used, ex. “I lay the blanket on the bed,” is “lay;” the correct verb when Vanessa is lying on the floor herself without a direct object is “lie.”]

Join me on this short journey of 10 floors I’ve lied (laid?) on, ranked, and then please talk to me in the comments about all the floors you’ve ever lied (laid?) on, all the things you’ve done there, all the feelings you’ve ever felt. You know, just regular low key gay conversation. Just queers being queer! Nothing to see here, everything is normal, we are all! totally! fine!

10. My bedroom floor when it is clean

This is where we begin, because I feel like this is kind of best-case scenario? And for the sake of this list I decided “best case” is definitely #10, because we’re working up to the most horrifying scenario, which will be #1. There’s nothing horrifying about lying on your bedroom floor when it is clean – I do this once a week, minimum. Sometimes you just need to lie on the floor, even when your bed is right there, and that’s completely okay.

9. My bedroom floor when it is covered in dirty laundry, clean laundry, Lara Bar wrappers, sex toys, and glitter

This is less ideal because it’s hard to actually get to the floor when it’s covered in your shit, but honestly it’s still pretty fine. No one ever died from lying on a pair of dirty underwear or a Jimmy Jane Form 2 vibrator, you know?

8. The kitchen floor in my sixth-floor walk-up apartment in Williamsburg that got really amazing afternoon light

I felt a lot of feelings in 2013. They were all best felt on the cool tile of that huge kitchen, until the day came when I was home alone in the apartment, lying on the kitchen floor, basking in the beautiful buttery yellow light and listening to the soothing hum of the J train which we could hear as clearly as if our apartment was built on top of the train track itself, and a fat grey mouse scampered across the room. And touched my foot on its way. I howled. I never felt my feelings on that floor ever again, I took my feelings directly to our neighborhood bar and never looked back. I did not ever lie on the floor there, bless.

7. The bathroom floor in that same apartment after my then-girlfriend told me she had just made out with her straight best friend

In retrospect this was not a big deal at all but at the time it felt like The Ultimate Betrayal and honestly I took a lot of self righteous joy in locking myself in the bathroom, squishing myself into a position wherein I could actually lie on the floor (this bathroom was TINY), and refusing to come out while my then girlfriend banged on the door and I sobbed.

6. The bedroom floor of the two-year-old I used to nanny, the day after Donald Trump was elected

This was a nice floor, because the rug was organic because the kid’s parents wanted everything he might put into his mouth to be organic (straight people – they’re sometimes the exact same as lesbians!). But you know what is not nice? Donald Trump. I went to work the day after the 2016 election, but I couldn’t stop crying and I just sort of leaned into it. Thank Lesbian Jesus the kiddo was extremely understanding for a two-year-old, and we spent most of the day in his room, lying on the floor. He played with cars and books and stuffed animals, I stared at the ceiling and cried. When he took his nap I relocated to the living room and lied on the floor there instead.

5. The kitchen floor in my current house, which is always dirty, but very cold because of our AC unit

We’re bad at our chore chart, okay? The kitchen floor is never clean. But the kitchen is the first room that you enter when you come into my house, and the AC unit lives in the kitchen, and sometimes I just need to lie down immediately upon getting home. Did you know it’s Cancer season? There are feelings to feel. So I lie on our dirty kitchen floor and feel slightly cool, and my very neat Taurus housemate definitely judges me, but it’s fine. Everything is fine.

4. The office floor at my old corporate job in NYC, specifically the nook under my desk where I used to take naps

Things I used to do at my corporate job: work on Autostraddle articles, gossip with the one other queer person on my team, text my then-girlfriend, lie on the floor under my desk and take naps. The carpet was comfortable.

3. The bathroom floor at Cosmic Cantina on Third Avenue in NYC

I don’t think this bar exists anymore, which is sad for nostalgic reasons, because it was our main hangout spot my freshman year at NYU. It is truly horrifying to me that I ever lied (laid?) on a floor in a bathroom in Manhattan, and yet. Being drunk and 18 and in love with a boy who doesn’t love you back is a really special state of mind. I would drink beer all night and it would be okay-ish, but then near the end of the night I’d always accept a flaming shot of Bacardi from Ricardo, our favorite bartender, and I would always end up in the bathroom, lying down, blacked out, calling Jon and leaving him embarrassing voicemails, usually crying. Ah, nostalgia.

2. A gravel pit in Israel, does that count as a floor

This one is weird because is a gravel pit in Israel a floor, I’m not sure. My very first serious girlfriend and I kissed for the first time in this location, lying down in a gravel pit outside of our apartment building in Israel, and I honestly thought it was the most romantic and magical thing that had ever happened to anyone. I now feel certain that either animals or children or both had definitely peed in the exact spot where we first touched lips, but I don’t care.

1. The lobby of my dorm in London when I was studying abroad and realized Emily, the first girl I ever loved, didn’t love me back

This is number one because ten years later I’m still so embarrassed about it, who allows their friends to tuck their drunken self into bed and then takes off their pajama pants and goes downstairs to lie on the floor of the lobby, Jesus Christ, but also because it is just so gay, like are you kidding, I couldn’t just cry in my room about this rejection no, I had to make a big dramatic scene and throw myself on the floor in my underwear in the lobby of our dorm building in front of the security guard and all the other students to be like “EMILY DOESN’T LOVE ME EVEN THOUGH SHE FUCKED ME LAST MONTH AND MADE ME REALIZE I LIKE GIRLS, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO, SOMEONE FLIP A TABLE LIKE THAT SCENE IN THE L WORD, THIS IS WHAT BEING GAY MEANS RIGHT?!?!” Thank goddess I’m not a baby dyke anymore. Thank goddess.

Vanessa is a queer feminist writer and photographer currently based in New York. She really misses Portland. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 255 articles for us.

78 Comments

  1. Controversial opinion: should it be floors I’ve lain on?

    The current headline makes it sound like these are places you have told fibs, which is also a list I would be seriously interested in.

    I spent a significant amount of time lying on bathroom floors at uni because of (I would later realise) some kind of reaction to whatever chemical shit they put in alcopops that gave me searing chest pains, and the only thing that seemed to give me relief was lying chest-down on a cold, hard floor. After about 10 minutes or so, the pain would subside, then I’d get up and start drinking again, and blissfully cycle through this for several hours until closing time.

    I credit these experiences for making me the determined woman with a surprisingly robust immune system that I am today.

    • You’re right, but also, I’ve always really really hated the word lain. I usually say laid even though I know it’s wrong just because, for whatever reason, lain just sounds absolutely ridiculous to me.

    • The headline sent me to research the verb before I even opened the piece. I gather “lain” is correct but also read that “lay” is past tense for “lie.” How does that work for your grammar ear, “10 Floors I’ve Lay on, Ranked?” I was expecting a story about fibs, too, until I got to the word “ranked.”

      • My inner grammar nerd is coming out:
        “Floors I’ve Lay On” sounds wrong because when you use “have” (or in this case, “‘ve”), you don’t use the past tense of a verb (lay), you use the past participle (lain).

        So:
        “I’ve lain” sounds wrong to a lot of people but is grammatically correct.
        “I’ve lay” sounds wrong and is grammatically incorrect.
        “I’ve lied” sounds right but is grammatically incorrect if you’re talking about lying down (but would be grammatically correct if you were talking about fibbing).

        BUT also language is whatever we make of it, and while I love knwoing and sharing grammar-related information, I also feel like people should talk/write however they want 🙂

    • i refuse to use lain, i’m sorry. but i love you, sally, and i am so sorry you had such intense alcopops related pain but am also extremely impressed with your dedication to consuming them.

      also: are alcopops what they sound like? alcoholic popsicles?

      either way, you’re a hero.

      • I’m startled by the seemingly visceral reaction of many to “lain.” Is it because it is merely one typo away from “loin” which is a truly unsettling word?

        Alcopops were/are premixed drinks that were usually a combination of some kind of spirit with some kind of toxic neon highly-sugared flavouring. They were wildly popular in the UK for about a five year period over the the turn of the century and received much bad press about the drunken debauchery they induced in their target teen market, which I can happily verify.

        Possibly in the US they were called coolers?

  2. Also Vanessa, I really identify with your choice of floors.

    Alas, I’m too physically stuffed to lay about on floors anymore but since I seem to have developed a new trick of falling over at regular intervals these days, that might soon change.

    I need help to get up now though, so I could be staying there for a while.

  3. I’ve been a person who lays on the floor to feel my feelings for a lot of years. Anyone who’s ever asked, I’ve always said “I just need to take up some space in the universe.”

    In fact, I was lamenting just yesterday at work that it’s weird to lay on the floors here. Bless Vanessa and this article for seeing me.

    • “I just need to take up some space in the universe.” <-- HELL YES, AMEN. bless YOU for this comment, i hope your weekend includes some top notch floors and that you take up all the space you want and need in the universe.

  4. I relate to this so much. But I would make another list, I would call it floors I’ve cried myself to sleep on. I could also make a list of places I’ve slept because “fuck it I’m tired”. I can literally sleep anywhere, it’s my superpower. Another list of floors and places I’ve passed out on. I’ve spent a lot of time on the ground y’all.

    This website does really important work.

  5. VANESSA. THIS IS PERFECT. THANK YOU FOR THIS HONOR *several crying emojis* I love your list of floors and laughed audibly a number of times as I read this, the only thing that would have improved this experience would be reading it while I lied (laid?) on the floor so I’m going to do that later.

    Extending my deepest sympathies to you for the Williamsburg kitchen floor situation, and in my professional floor-lying (laying?) opinion, yes, a gravel pit does count as a floor.

  6. Favourite floor lying situation: Actually the street, during a surprisingly wonderful carnival in this small northern UK city, next to two adorable queers I didn’t know I fancied, taking a break from breathless wild dancing to lie on the street together, near the drums, and continue dancing.
    Second best: A dear friend who’d routinely plop herself on the floor of our uni bar (!!) to casually “rearrange her organs.” Such a manky floor, such a glam, chill woman.
    Worst: The hall leading to my bathroom, when I was too depressed to get all the way to it, just lying there sobbing and farting.

  7. What do lying on the floor feeling my feelings, owning 5 pair of cargo pants/shorts, and wearing a 30 year old black and blue checked flannel shirt have in common?

    They are all things that I just do AND that turn out to be really queer. Who knew?

  8. I am just utterly delighted that a conversation with my little bumblebee whippet (I’m totally obsessed with Dana, it’s fine, I’m fine) led to this list, and that you are the sort of person who lies on floors and writes about it.

    This was just a feelings-forward treat, Vanessa, and thank you for seeing us so well in writing it.

  9. I really identify with this whole article. As a Cancer crab, I have a lot of feelings. And I have often felt those feelings while lying on the floor. I found it interesting that there were no kitchens in your list, as much of my floor-lying has occurred in kitchens. But I have also lied on living room and bedroom floors, in my own house and in other peoples’. In fact, I have been known, when someone is going through a painful breakup, to advise that they spend some time lying on the floor. The floor is very solid, and bigger than you, and comforting in that it is capable of holding you and all of your feelings.

    • The floor is very solid, and bigger than you, and comforting in that it is capable of holding you and all of your feelings.

      Yes. This! I’ve done a lot of floor lying and also floor sitting for this very reason. I went through a rough time when I was really only comfortable sitting on my kitchen floor leaning against the cabinets.

  10. I feel so seen. Floors are meant to be lied on (lain on? I’m indifferent).
    Best floor was the floor of my very first solo apartment after breaking up with the middle aged dude I dated when I was a tiny closeted 19 year old. Terrible carpet, but amazing light, freedom, and a sense of “this is who I am SUPPOSED to be”. Ah, nostalgia indeed.
    Worst- My dad’s office building women’s washroom at 4am, violently ill from all that Sambuca, 2003.

  11. This article touches so many parts of my gay heart!! 1. I hate grammar and love when people ignore it 2. I fucking love lying on floors! 3. I constantly call floors “ground” and ground “floors” so gravel counts as a floor and actually everything else is the ground to me.

    Floors/ground I’ve lied on has almost always been a positive experience for me so I have so many good memories to think of! I am a disgusting human being who will lie on legitimately any flat surface (sidewalks, streets, gas station grass, public bathroom floors, etc). Some of my favorite floors have been 1. Eating chips on the bathroom floor from A-Camp in 2015 with my cabin mates 2. My first kiss with a girl was while lying under a street lamp next to a major road 3. My friends and I pretending we were in The Notebook and lying in the middle of the road 4. Meditating for the first time recently in a gorgeous art space, lying on a shag carpet.

    Love this, love you Vanessa!!

  12. There is truly something about floors that just lets the feelings be felt.

    I was lying on the floor depressed once (literally right in front of a perfectly good and unoccupied couch) and my dog came and snuggled into my side and was perfect. I even managed to get the sweetest photo of him.

    Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time on the bathroom floor, crying over my dog where my girlfriend can’t hear. The upside is I understood that the underside of the bathroom radiator might be the root of all our allergies.

    • Lots! And you can think about rollerskating on it, because it’s pretty empty, except you’d have to be careful not to skate into the light fixtures. And you have to decide whether or not you’re going to worry about whether gravity might suddenly reassert itself and all the furniture floating up there on the ceiling might crash down onto you. Curtains look really silly when the ceiling is the floor, and you can’t play hot lava very well because it’s all just lava.

      Lying upside down on the couch with your feet stuck in the air is a good alternate version of lying on the floor. I prefer it for games of “ceiling = floor” because then your head is already in position to look like the ceiling is down.

  13. I dunno if I really have a top 10, but one of the best floors use to be the upstairs carpet of my house when it was newer. It’s now wooden floor all over and not the soft carpet so not as nice. I guess this would be considered more ground that floor, but the sand at the beach. Way too many times I have had a short nap or just laid down and relaxed there. It’s mendable, can be soft, and get down a layer it’s a bit cooler than the hot top layer. My favorite beach so far is the top of a sand dune(non in the rock filled portions) across the street from the beach in the LA/Ventura county line. Had a good nap there once and it sticks with a you.

    Now if we want to talk about worst floors? San Diego State dorm rooms hands down, just a hard, dirty thin layer of carpet.

  14. If I lie down on the floor, it’s almost always going to end in a nap. There are no feelings, just a puddle of drool and a face with carpet/tile/concrete pattern impressed upon it.

    • I was going to say the exact same thing. I often lie on the floor and fall asleep. The floor is where my back feels the most rested , after my emotions. I would sleep on the floor everyday and get rid of my bed, but I live with people and have to appear a ‘bit’ normal 😀 so I don’t do it as much as I’d like to.

  15. Oh man Vanessa, I feel this so hard. I’ve lain on a lot of floors, for a lot of reasons, some good, some bad. Ten minutes ago I was lying on the floor in the hallway of my house because my shoulder felt sore lying in bed. I spend a lot of time lying on concrete floors because of roller derby and jamming and being hit so hard I fall down and just decide to stay there for a while. The floor of my high school drama classroom is especially memorable, we used to hang out there at lunch. My old apartment didn’t have air conditioning, and when the bed or couch got to warm I would spend a lot of time lying on the floor in front of the open fridge door. And yes, the day after Donald Trump was elected, and the day my girlfriend left me were two other times I can remember spending a lot of time lying on the floor. Ahhh the memories!

  16. Maybe I’m an outlier here but my bedroom floor is…not good for laying on. Even when it’s clean, it’s not because to really get things clean I’d have to move ever single piece of furniture to get the dust bunnies that accumulate under the furniture as a result of 2 cats and one dog, which lol, moving every single piece of furniture is Not Happening (both because some pieces of furniture you physically can’t move them enough to clean under their current position because my room setup is Tetris Hell, and also because I do not have the spoons to do that like, At All), and also it’s hardwood so it’s just not comfortable, but MAN does hardwood do an excellent job of showing off those dustbunnies (at this point some of them are more like dustmammoths).

    My bathroom floor is…better to lay on because I find tile more comfortable than hardwood IDK WHY, and it’s easier to clean, buuuuuut most times I’ve lied on the bathroom floor have involved Real Shitty Times from Migraine Hell or Colonoscopy Prep Hell/Post Colonoscopy Hell Because Hey You Still Have Massive Diarrhea For Days So Forget About Sleep (seriously don’t sleep it’s a bad idea. SUCH a bad idea.) or Chronic Pain Flare Hell or Dysautonomia Hell because hey what you really need to do after passing out is puke.

    Surprisingly my college dorm floors were very good floors to lay on, though tragically I was slightly too tall to comfortably fit under the beds at their highest height bc underneath them made a cozy little study cave (if you were short enough to not bonk your head on the bed if you sat up straight).

    The Worst Floor Award probably goes to the ancient house of my friends’ that I lived with for a bit while they were getting their new house built (they bought the house/property more for the land than the house but…needed a place to live while new house was built so ancient house got lived in. Ancient house didn’t have electricity or running water and had propane lamps and a literal outhouse which was uncomfortably close to the well so it obviously didn’t get used because uh. water contamination.). Their new house is very nice and 10/10 would lay on those floors. Old house…yeah, nah. They cleaned the floors but it just seemed like all the dust from the early 1800s shoddy construction just…Showed Up on the floors and never could be swept away ever. Even their cats and dog didn’t lay on those floors, which SAYS SOMETHING.

  17. Okay I THINK people lie, and the past tense of lie is lay, so it’s “floors I’ve lay on”? And honestly I’m not sure about that.

    The first girl I ever fell in love with tried to teach me the correct conjugations of lay/lie and wow did that relationship lead me to lie on the floor and feel things A LOT so. We’re all in here feeling together

    • To dispel confusion: When you use “have” (or in this case, “‘ve”), you don’t use the past tense of the verb (lay), you use the past participle (lain). So it would be “I’ve lain on.”

      But also, I support everyone who chooses not to care about and/or is confused by grammar. Language is weird! 🙂

  18. Love this. I am a big fan of carpet over hardwood, exactly for the reason that carpet is nicer to lay on. And I vacuum much more than I did before I started laying on the floor regularly (around November 2016, coincidentally). This has also been great for my allergies.

    But, the best thing about feeling my feelings while laying on the floor is that my little dog thinks it’s very strange and will come and chew on my hair and jump on my back and be a cute nuisance until I am cheered up.

  19. Recently my girlfriend has taken to immediately removing all of her clothes and throwing herself on the cool tile floor every time she comes home drunk.

    At first I was mildly concerned about her, now I think next time I’m gonna try it too….

  20. this is perfect, and the kind of deeply relatable content that autostraddle really crushes.

    all through my life, i have preferred lying (laying?) on bathroom floors. the dirtiness of the floor is generally in direct correlation to my level of self-loathing.

  21. i love this post to pieces

    1. the floor of my adolescent bedroom, staring at the ceiling fan and wondering how to go on living now that my dad was dead (SORRY THIS IS DARK BUT IT’S TRUE)
    2. kitchen floor of morningside heights apartment with natalie, confessing things i’d done with a girl i wasn’t supposed to do things with and feelings i may or may not have about it
    3. november of 2017, two hours before the new homeowners were due to move in: the wall-to-wall carpeted and spotlessly clean floor of the guest room in the giant house i’d bought with my ex, who’d left a year earlier, with sarah sarwar, who’d spent the past month or so helping me perform the herculean task of getting everything moved out of said giant house. we reflected on the past week of insanity and how shit had gone down the year before and then we got cheeseburgers.
    4. the floor of our former COO brooke’s rental apartment the week of new york city pride 2009, slaughtered by fibro and about to meet 12 interns for the first time, also i think carly and stef were mad at me
    5. the floor of every airbnb we’ve rented for our annual senior staff retreat, inevitably, at some point
    6. the floor of the doctor’s office three weeks ago after i woke up from fainting after getting my blood drawn and they were afraid to let me walk across the hall to a room with a table i could lie on inside it
    7. the floor of my cabin at a-camp, trying to sort out whether or not i’d just ruined my entire life
    8. the floor of my office in my house in michigan, trying to sort out why i’d just ruined my entire life
    9. the stage floor at a-camp after a perfect thing happened in the mx.ocean contest
    10. TBD

  22. I wrote a long ass comment about floors I’ve laid on everything from sexually leveling up(I’d didn’t lose nothing), menstrual misery to medical events but my phone ate it.

    Was feeling too binary to function that day so I ranked them in 3 non-numerical groupings.
    Realm of Okay, Realm of Medicore, Realm of Would Not Recommend My Fren

    I can’t rewrite all of it but feel like sharing one in particular because uh it’s where my brain went when “laying on floors is a queer culture?? was conveyed:

    #) The cheap carpeted floor of the office that was less itchy and more padded than I expected. I laid down on it in full catholic school uniform sans underpants a sexual noob to the touch of another, died a little death, floated on clouds before returning to earth in a body made of noodles swimming in hormone soup.
    Violet was 100% correct about hands.
    Bound is a great movie, watch it if you haven’t already.

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