Living alone seems brilliant in theory – you don’t have to worry about being tidy, you can walk around naked if you’re that way inclined and there’s no chance you’ll ever run out of hot water (unless you’re OCD and need to have eight showers a day or your family will die). However in reality it can be a bit lonely, as there’s no one to empathise when you’re having a rubbish day, or calm you down when you become convinced your family are going to die because you only managed seven showers instead of your usual quota.
For those reasons most of us spend our formative post-parent years sharing our living quarters with friends and strangers. Which is mostly great, but sometimes it can be utter hell. Here’s a few housemates you should look out for next time you’re advertising on Gumtree.
At first sharing with a couple can seem pretty cool. It’s like having your parents back, only without the annoying curfews and constant terror that they’re going to divorce and you’ll be forced to choose between them. Couples are a glowing picture of contentment and domestic bliss, their rosy cheeks and smug grins a reminder that love truly is possible.
Yeah, that won’t last. If you’re in a relationship yourself, but not ready to co-habit, then you’re seen as some relationship failure, “But why wouldn’t you want to live with them? What’s wrong with them?! What’s wrong with you?!?” If you’re single the glow fades even more quickly. Days after unfurling your ‘Manhattan’ poster to hang over your bed, you’ll begin to find their constant head-tilting concern of, “Sooooo….have you met anyone special yet?” pretty annoying. There’s nothing worse than sitting face to face with a couple as you try to explain that, actually, finding true love at this tender age isn’t really that important to you, and to be honest you’d rather not be tied down. Although this can actually be quite satisfying to proclaim, especially if one of them starts shifting uncomfortably and avoids eye contact. You’ll also find the horror of a walk of shame compares little to the judgement, or worse the vicarious living through, that you encounter upon stumbling through your own front door. Mr. and Mrs. Lurve quizzing you for hours, as they sit in matching pyjamas slurping coco pops.
However, it’s all worth it when you hear them engage in an all-out door-slamming war, and every little thing they’ve repressed for months (“Your Mother is horrible”, “You’re getting fat”) comes screaming out into the open air. On these occasions you can sit in your room and gloat, perhaps making notes of certain quotes so you can put them on their Facebook when they forget to log out after borrowing your laptop.
The Control Freak
Yeah, we get it, you don’t want us to use any of your milk, but do you really have to mark the line of liquid on the side of the carton with black marker pen? Is that really necessary? (You know we can just top it up with water if we borrow some). And don’t think we don’t realise you lock up all your CD’s and Vinyl’s when you leave the house, we’ve snooped in your obsessively neat room loads of times to try on your clothes and take pictures, so we know you’re freaking mental. Although we really are astounded by your meticulous collection of Pendulum records and Whitney Houston, that doesn’t mean we’re going to pinch them as soon as you leave the house. We might have sneezed on them though… Also your constant wiping down of the TV remote is getting pretty old, especially since it makes our fingers smell of baby wipes and talcum powder.
In general your constant hogging of the TV to watch Top Gear on Dave is driving us slightly crazy. It’s one thing to be a self-proclaimed Clarkson fan when you’re 45 and living in Norfolk, quite another when you’re 23 and supposedly still in possession of some modicum of self-respect. The worst thing is that while we once appreciated your neatness and hearty attitude towards scouring the oven, your passive aggressive snobbery has taken on a life of it’s own, and we’re no longer appreciating the subtle hilarity of the weird notes you leave everywhere. We live in the same house, come and talk to us about the washing up rather than scrawling angrily with red pen on 23 Post-It notes. Yes, we counted them. You should know that the more you try to control the uncontrollable (namely, us) the stronger we will be urged to have a party in your bedroom when you’re visiting your parents. This party will involve us destroying everything you hold sacred and dear, so that when you return to this lair of crumbs and unclean crockery you will no doubt murder us in our beds.
And my GOD will it be worth it.
The housemate even worse than the control freak is the over-sharer. I think this is more commonly found in female housemates, as I can’t really imagine boys checking out each other’s outfits before they leave the house and saying, “You know what that really needs? My chunky white belt, hang on I’ll get it for you”.
If you were never blessed with a sister then moving in with female friends can be so exciting you squeal hard enough to break your larynx. (If you have sisters you know its miserable 50% of the time). You chatter about how nice the house will be once you’ve all got your stuff in there, you plan meals you can have, “We’ll take it in turns to bake!”, and even talk about just having one huge shared wardrobe where all your clothes can live together happily, “We’re all the same size, so we’d have quadruple the outfits!!!” Now this can actually work – I know loads of girls who’ve lived with their friends and it’s basically been one big party: cooking, dressing, menstruating, all at the same time.
However, what if one of your friends is that rare horrific breed of girl – the over-sharer. The over-sharer is hard to recognise, since at first she seems just like the rest of you – you’ve been friends for years, of course she’s not a weirdo. But then you notice that every time she borrows your clothes they come back covered in makeup, or booze, or blood. The first few times you laugh it off, “It’s just clothes! I’m so above material possessions anyway”, but by the fourth occasion of vomit-soaked denim you’re getting annoyed. Luckily she pays for the dry cleaning, so it’s not that bad, but then you start to get the fear terrors. You get a text from her while you’re at work, asking to borrow something, or even worse, “I’m wearing your new jumper hope that’s OK”, and you begin to panic. It’s this horrible hot, itchy panic where all you want to do is reply asking her to remove the item immediately. You don’t care if she’s at a job interview. But you try to be rational, you try to be calm. You get home and obviously the jumper is sitting outside your door with a huge steaming turd slap bang in the middle of the knit (or something similar). So you freak out, and shout at her. But after relief comes guilt, and you start feeling really bad that you’re not more laid back, chastising yourself for being so crazily material-0bsessed, and for placing some stupid jumper over your friends. So you apologise and to make up for your outburst you lend her your brand new designer snood or something, and quiver the whole night until its safe return.
Then she sleeps with your boyfriend, whimpering afterwards, “But you said we could share everything” and you cut up all her clothes and cover them in petrol, laughing manically over the pyre of stinking cotton. You even throw a few of your dresses on there, just to prove once and for all that you really are above material possessions.
The Party Guy
Gary is sooooooo KERAZY. Last time I lived with him, back at Uni, he was always going mental. Like, literally mental. This one night he brought home three girls, I could hear him in the next room with them. Then next morning they all crept out his room – and guess what- one of them was only the sodding dean of the Uni. (That’s why he’s got that tattoo that says, ‘It’s only the sodding dean of the Uni’). It’s going to be amazing when he lives here. He’s one of those guys who always finds the best party, and then makes it even better. I remember when he wore dresses for a whole week just because it was January! I mean what the hell?! That. Was. Legendary. The only thing is that he’s not that tidy, and he’s a bit crap about doing the washing up and stuff, but trust me, his jokes totally make up for it. He’s SUCH a laugh. He’s totally open about basing his entire personality on Chris Finch, that hero from ‘The Office’. He’s always making jokes…what’s that one he told about the dog and the Queen? I can’t remember, anyway suffice to say it’s HILARIOUS. Oh and he’s pretty cheap to live with too because he only eats food from Iceland – he might nick a bit of milk here and there, but who doesn’t eh? – and also because he’s not that crazy about washing (his clothes/himself) he doesn’t use up that much hot water and stuff. WHAT A HERO. You’ll love him.
Yeah this guy is going to kill you, so there’s nothing I can really say. Expect maybe watch ‘Single White Female’ in preparation.