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Instantly, she knew. As I walked into the bookstore, Karen beamed from her table, “Well, somebody had a good night!” I chuckled too loudly—James (the guilty party)  trailed behind me. I didn’t dare meet his eyes, both of us more peaked at our outing than ashamed. Karen sized us up. “You don’t need to blush!” she exclaimed. I wanted to say, hadn’t I already been blushing? Or how else did she know?

It happened again, twice, later that weekend (the sex and the glow) at a going-away brunch. Brunch requires a certain considered, balanced style of Sunday poise and Saturday disarray. My hair really did look like someone had pulled it for a few hours, voluminous. I rolled in, late, a bit sloppy, just like I had rolled out of his hotel bed hours before. More than one friend gravitated towards me, told me how “good I looked” (damn right I’m good). The grin in their eyes was knowing, too knowing. Fuck, did I have “I just got fucked” written on my forehead?

We’ve all heard of pregnancy glow, but what was there to this purported post-coital glow? What triggers signal to people that you’ve been well served? A quick Google search results in unsatisfying explanations: a rush of blood to the extremities, endorphins pumping. There’s even make up tutorials on how to achieve that “I just got laid” shimmer (apparently, Beyonce has perfected this look, though I’d guess she doesn’t have makeup to thank for it). But, the substance of one’s morning-after-bliss isn’t superficial to just the skin. Putting on powder will not produce the same effects as 5 hours of fucking.

Last night, my friend’s roommate came in a bit late, apologizing with a smile. Instantly, we knew. It wasn’t even a glow, it was the mischief in her eyes. And a certain relaxation in her pose, less agitation, loose. We couldn’t do anything for her that hadn’t already been done to her. She didn’t need to say anything.