How do you short-sheet a bed?

Ahh, yes, short-sheeting. I sure read about it a lot as a kid. Never heard about anyone doing it in real life though. I googled and got brief explanantions that assumed I already knew what was involved - you take the top sheet and fold it in half, then tuck it in like normal. So… wait, top sheet? Wouldn’t that be kind of obvious? And by “sheets” do you mean blankets or bedsheets? I mean, okay, let’s start from the beginning here. Explain to me how you make a bed normally. Because being Chinese has kept me from knowing about the finer points of western home life, including the art of making a bed. Sure, we make our beds too, but we don’t use “sheets” and we don’t tuck anything into anything else. Wouldn’t that make it hard to turn over at night? :dubious: But anyway explain this to me please, and explain short-sheeting after you’re done :slight_smile:

Someone commented in a thread asking how to sew a button a while back that it was the easiest GQ ever. I think I may have upped to ante with this one. Explain to csharpmajor how to make a bed! Hur hurr.

The basic procedure is to first put on the bottom sheet, which may be a “fitted” sheet with an elastic edge designed to fit over the mattress sort of like a sock. Then you’d put the top sheet over that and tuck it in between the mattress and the boxspring. Finally you add however many blankets are necessary.

I’ve also never seen short-sheeting in real life, but I think the way it works is that you use just one sheet total, which you fold widthwise and place on the bed so it looks like there are two ordinary sheets on the bed. The victim climbs into bed between the sheets and finds he can only get in halfway. Hillarity ensues, perhaps with a seasoning of wrath. All in all it seems like a lot of trouble to go through to get someone’s goat.

Besides, if my thinking is correct, it only works if the intended victim normally uses two ordinary sheets, rather than a fitted bottom sheet and a regular top sheet. Otherwise, observant victims would immediately notice that the bed looks different.

I was the one that made the “easiest GQ question ever” comment. This one isn’t quite as bad.

Western style sheets have a bottom sheet that basically just wraps around the mattress and is form fitting. Some are just flats sheets that need to be tucked under the mattress just some but more common ones have elastic that just slips under the mattress a little bit. They are just basically covers for the mattress and look nice and are smoother and softer than the typical mattress fabric.

The top sheet also wraps around the mattress but it stops at chest level. It is supposed to make a little pocket that the sleeper can slip under and feel all cozy. Personally, I can’t stand a bed made like that.

Now picture that pocket with the pocket folded in half so that the pocket is only half as long to the foot of bed bed. The person looks at the “normally” made bed, climbs in. sticks his feet in, and finds that the pocket stops half-way down the bed.

Good joke huh? No, it is silly and ineffective and makes little sense in this day and age when people don’t make beds so formally anymore. Personally, I prefer a snipe hunt myself.

A bed has two sheets: the top sheet (the one you sleep under) and a bottom sheet (the one you sleep on top of). Bottom sheets now are often “fitted” sheets–they have elastic around the edges to keep them tight around the mattress. However, in college dormitories and summer camps–where shortsheeting often happens–the bottom sheet is just like the top sheet, and you have to tuck it in around the mattress and hope it stays (and it never does).

To short-sheet a bed, you take one sheet. Tuck it under the top and sides of the mattress. Then, fold the bottom up and lay it across the top of the bed so that it looks like the top sheet.

When a person jumps into bed, they can’t get their legs in very far–they get caught in the sheet.

On preview, I see that Specter and Shagnasty have already explained better than I could.

Slight hijack:

I know I’m probably going to be alone in this, but fitted bottom sheets are the work of Satan himself. They never seem big enough. Putting them on is a nightmare unless you have somebody to help you. The corner diagonally opposite the one you’re pulling down invariably springs back across the bed, so you run around to fix that, then the first one comes undone… I’ve also lost track of how many times this happens during the night too, and you wake up with an uncomfortable ridge of sheet running diagonally across your back, and your shoulder on the bare mattress. They always seem to be slightly too small, and you can’t just go the next size up like you can with a flat sheet. You can’t even fold the things when they’re in storage.

On the other hand, a crisp, flat, linen sheet with none of this elastic nonsense, tucked in with “hospital corners” is wonderful.

As someone who actually has short sheeted people, let me actually explain how it works.

First of all, forget the fitted/flat sheet issue. It’s not relevant.

Step one is to put the bottom sheet on normally (flat or fitted doesn’t matter).

Next you take the top sheet (usually between the sleeper and the blanket). Normally, you’d tuck the sheet at the end of the bed (using hospital corners :)).

For short sheeting, you take the top sheet and fold one third of it under the top. Now, instead of tucking it in at the bottom of the bed, you lay it across the bed about 2/3rds of the way down, with the extra 1/3 tucked underneath. Then you tuck the folded over portion of the sheet under the sides of the mattress. Tuck it tightly.

|------| <— normally tucked here

Folded over and tucked at the sides

When the victim gets in the bed, his feet will bump against the fold in the sheet. In theory, he could rip the sheet, but more likely he’d catch on before that.

I have never been in the military but I this is a traditional prank there where I believe a well-made bunk is still required to be able to bounce a quarter. Also, a key part of this prank is that the victim is drunk when trying to get into bed, a distinct disadvantage.

Yeah, I hate fitted bottom sheets, too. They’re 0.25-times easier to make the bed with than a flat with hospital corners, but 5-times harder to fold and put in the linen closet. But since sheets are sold in sets of fitted bottom with flat tops, what are you gonna do?

Well, if your target is female, before going to bed you put Saran Wrap over the rim of the toilet bowl, then put the seat down over it.

Yep. I’ve never had any problem fitting fitted sheets on my bed, having them come loose in the night, or folding them for storage. But I do appreciate good hospital corners, too.

See, that’s the part I don’t get. If I came to my bed and saw that the bottom of my sheet was a third of the way up the bed I’d notice kind of fast. Or is there another sheet over that?

Don’t you use a blanket or bedspread on top of your sheets?

No. None of the explanations have mentioned this; is it assumed? I guess this is what I’m missing then.

I mean, wait, yes, I use a blanket. A thick one, folded into a tube. As the only covering.

“Folded into a tube?” Are you sure that’s not a sleeping bag? :confused:

Typically, the bottom sheet is fitted (see griping above). The top sheet is the uppermost of the two sheets, but is really the bottom layer of “the covers”. Most people I know sleep between the sheets and under the covers. “The covers” can be one or more blankets depending on the weather and the sleeper’s preferences (and the sleeper’s wife’s preferences).

The prank relies on the presence of at least one blanket covering the sheets so that the irregular tucking won’t be noticed.

I’m a white guy living alone, but having lived in Chinese/Vietnamese households for over ten years, I sleep the same way all the Asians I know do. That is, there is a normal bottom sheet (either fitted or flat), and there is a doona/duvet which you throw over yourself. No top sheet. The doona is a padded cotton affair which has a bag-like cover on it. This cover is made of cotton and feels similar to a sheet when against your skin. The cover is changed frequently. In winter (mild Sydney winter), an extra blanket may be thrown over all that. On very hot summer nights I may ditch the doona and use a single flat sheet.

I haven’t made a bed in the traditional western sense (bottom sheet, top sheet, blanket(s), top sheed folded back oner the blankets, quilt) probably since I was a teenager, but that is the way I was brought up. I certainly don’t miss having to make the bed every day. These days I just straighten up the doona after I get up, or maybe pull it right off and let the bed air.

The key, perhaps in understanding why a person might be fooled by such short-sheeting, is that, around here anyway, there is always something more on top of the top (flat) sheet, either a blanket or comforter/duvet/quilt or bedcover or a combination of those.

In my defense, I honestly think Google was conspiring against me that day, giving me lots of stuff about surgeons sewing up people and nothing about people sewing stuff onto shirts. :rolleyes:

AH!! I’ve never understood the instructions for this, because all my life, I’ve used fitted bottom sheets. Now I see how this works!

My aunts did this to my father once when he was in high school (oldest, only male, FOUR younger sisters).

When I was in boot camp they brought our squad into an unoccupied dorm to clean up and make the beds for the new incoming recruits. We were fairly deep into training then so the DI left us along to get the job done. We short-sheeted every bed in the dorm (maybe 50 beds).

I never got to see the results but I can only imagine 50 terrified new recruits unable to get into their beds while the DI is standing over them getting increasingly angry. Actually I bet no one said a word and they all slept hunched up in little balls.