“To Sleep, Perchance to Smother Your Flatmate with a Pillow”

“You’re not sleeping with me.”
“Why not? It’s perfectly reasonable to wish to test this hypothesis and you already live with me anyway.”
“You’re NOT. Sleeping. With me.”

“But John,” Sherlock whines, following him around the kitchen like an unhappy toddler in a too-expensive scarlet housecoat. John wants to kick him. A familiar impulse, that. “There have been many claims already made that sleeping with a bedfellow improves the quality of sleep. I honestly see nothing against sharing a bed with me for a certain amount of time to serve as a sleep study of sorts. It would have been incredibly useful data for this case.”

The case he is referring to was more than a little ridiculous and absolutely no reason for John to allow Sherlock to nip into bed with him. A woman from Brentford had found her husband dead in their guest bedroom. They had been sleeping apart due to his dreadful snoring, and according to her sleeping apart was so detrimental to his health he might as well have dropped dead just like that. It had been fairly easy for Sherlock to deduce in under two hours he had in fact been murdered by their neighbour who was so angry with him for consistently parking his car in front of his house he’d snuck in through the window and smothered him with a pillow. Still, her outlandish theory appeared to have awoken Sherlock’s curiosity, and despite her being proven more than a little bit wrong he had thrown himself unto several articles and two books on sleeping patterns and was now apparently looking for empirical evidence gathered all on his own.

“Just the fact that you see nothing against it is reason enough to say no. If there’s studies out there already can’t you just take those at face value?”

Sherlock looks so aghast at those words John might as well have suggested the ritualistic butchering of a basket of baby bunnies. He supposes that for a man of science like Sherlock taking another’s test results at face value might, actually, be much the same. He also has the niggling suspicion that Sherlock wouldn’t look nearly that horrified by the actual butchering of a basket of baby bunnies.

“What could you possibly have against sharing a bed for a brief period of time? Are you worried people might talk? The walls of my bedroom aren’t made of glass, John, London won’t be able to see us, nobody has to know.”

“People already talk, that’s hardly the problem,” John says gruffly, wiping down the surface of the kitchen counter with a dishcloth decisively. It’s rare for it to be empty enough for a proper wipe down, so he decides to make the best of it now he can.

“Are you worried something might actually happen? Fascinating.”
“I am not – Sherlock. No. I just feel I’ve given up enough of my privacy living with you as it is, can I please keep a couple of hours to myself every night?”

Sherlock’s face screws up with discontent and he turns with a huff, the housecoat swishing around him dramatically. John is fairly convinced that’s the only reason he wears the damn things, anyway. They add something of a theatrical element to his moods.

“It’ll just be for a week or two,” Sherlock says a few hours later as they are sitting in a cab, on their way to a fresh crime scene Lestrade called them to. “Fourteen days, at most.”
“No,” John says.

“We’d aim for a set number of hours of sleep every night, perhaps the common eight, and see if it makes a difference with our usual sleeping habits when there is a partner present,” Sherlock says as they are both leaned over the headless corpse of what, judging by the unusual outfit, appears to be an aging circus clown.
“No,” John says.

“I’m sure it’s got to do with natural instinct, after all when sleeping with another present there are two individuals who might detect potential predators and subconsciously one might feel safer and therefore sleep more deeply,” Sherlock says as they are prowling about the campsite of an almost abandoned circus, the scent of sawdust and old cotton candy tickling up John’s nose.
“No,” John says.

source: (http://archiveofourown.org/works/346797)


2 thoughts on ““To Sleep, Perchance to Smother Your Flatmate with a Pillow”

  1. This was an interesting passage to be because it framed Sherlock as the aggressor or pursuer, a typically male role. Most of the fanfics I read portray Sherlock as fulfilling the traditionally female role and Watson meeting the need for a terse, military, masculine character.
    Instead of feminizing Sherlock to create a dichotomized chemistry between him and Watson, between male and female, the author poses them both in more masculine roles.
    As the story progresses it shows Watson as homophobic and against anything “weird” happening between them. This acts to emphasize his traditional masculinity.
    There is still a strong feeling of domesticity between the two characters that is coupled with a bro-type, homosocial friendship that is not “cleared” of its queerness by the presence of a female character with which they could prove their straightness.

  2. I think that this selection of the blog does a really interesting job creating self-awareness between the characters and the person reading the blog, about the queerness within it. The characters and the way that the blog is written teeters on the line of encouraging a lens that is queer and beating back this assumption. Doty contends that “queer” is used to “mark a flexible space of all aspects on non-straight cultural production and reception” (338). This blog discusses two types of reception of the queer culture, endorsement in terms of curiosity (Sherlock’s emphasis on experimentation and the good of science) and repulsion (John’s urge to kick Sherlock and demean his clothing). What I found to be particularly interesting was the way that the queering of Sherlock focused on things that constructed him as embodying pejorative stereotypes. Thus, while the blog is obviously queering this text, it does so in a way that helps to expose the internalized “straight culture’s homophobic and heterocentrist attitudes and later reproduce them in their own queer responses to film and other mass media” (340). For example, Sherlock is quite forward in asking John to share a bed with him and goes to extensive lengths to convince him that this is the course of action that ought to be taken. In my mind, this activates some of the outdated, pejorative, and incorrect fears of queer folks “turning people” gay. Second, Sherlock’s dramatic demeanor and clothing are criticized heavily by John and are characterized as “swishing around him dramatically” adding a “theatrical element to his moods.” It is clear that Sherlock’s pleas to get John to share a bed with him could be taken to mean having sex with him, because he makes several statements that would allude to sexual activity taking place between the two of them. For instance, he questions John extensively to see if he is “worried something might actually happen” and assures John that no one could see them in bed because his house’s walls aren’t made of glass. Sherlock is the initiator of the bed sharing, yet he represents several aspects of homophobia by both embodying stereotypes and trying to assuage John’s fears by assuring him no one will find out, drawing attention to the overall homophobic cultural underpinnings. In this way, the reader becomes aware of the cultural undertones of unrest surrounding the queering as well as the ways that the character navigates the cultural resistance by accepting the queerness of the situation. John never condemns same-sex couples; rather, he is irritated at Sherlock’s insistence and unwillingness to take no for an answer. John, on the other hand, seems to be embodying the figure of tenuous tolerance. This blog entry really applies Doty’s argument about queer readings becoming a “part of a reception space that stands simultaneously beside and within that that created by heterosexual and straight positions” (345). By illuminating the ways that the queer reading navigates through cultural and social spaces both the queer and the normative readings can exist within the same text.

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