by Madeline Laughs
Early on I developed a set of rules that I adhered to regarding house mates. I tried to get other people moving in with me to adhere to them too. This was not always successful.
The first house I ever lived in was a rambling Victorian monstrosity in the historic district. The guy that owned the Three Penny Gallery got a bunch of us together to share this huge place. I remember having a lovely room on the top floor and my own bathroom.
My most vivid memory of this house was dating a rock singer from an out of town band. He was in town working and stayed at the house with us. I wasn’t sure how much I liked him, but he was insistent he be allowed to romance me. So I relented and let him stay with us, platonically. One night after he had left to go to his music gig, I told my roommates, Gilchrist and Jerry, the resolute feelings I had about him being there. Gilchrist marched upstairs to where the guy had hung all of his show suits in the closet. She gathered them, brought them downstairs and placed them in my arms. “Missy, it’s about time you learned to say No. Take him his clothes and say see ya!”
Jerry grabbed half of the load and helped me take them to my car. Once on the curb I realized I had forgotten my keys. Jerry and I put the garments in their garment bags on the trunk of my car. We walked back to the house, Jerry patting me on the back and reassuring me. I ran upstairs, grabbed my keys and jogged back to my car.
The garment bags and everything in them, was gone. Someone stole all of this poor guy’s stage wear! On top of that, I was planning to dump him! I went back inside and when the rock star got back to the house that night, Jerry and Gilchrist stood beside me as I told him what happened and that I didn’t want to date him. He did freak out a little and we let him. Then Jerry drove him to a hotel and paid for his room.
Before you start to feel too sorry for him, he now lives in a posh flat in London and he licenses music for feature films. He came to visit me once on location when he saw my name on a crew list. He’s doing great.
The deja vu about this first house is that years later I would live there again, with different roommates.
The best roommates I’ve ever had were always boys. The worst, without a doubt, were girls. This went against every standard for a roommate you can imagine, but living with girls drove me nuts! I have always been very independent and very private (well, sort of private) and girls never respected that. Boys never borrowed my clothes, used my things, or stuck their nose in my personal business. Most of them were afraid to even come into my room!
One of the rules I lived by with boy roommates was never date or have sex with the boy roommates or their friends. Long after we weren’t roommates, I still adhered to this rule and made very few exceptions. I don’t know why. It just seemed like a good idea.
My first co-ed house was two boys and two girls. I had been living with this one girl for a bit. I liked her, but she played loose and dirty with every man that crossed our threshold. When I say every man, I mean even the ones that were there to date me. I dumped more boys because of her than for any other reason. It went like this;
Him: I have a confession to make.
Him: I slept with your roommate. I’m sorry it just happened, but I love you and you’re the one I want to be with!
Me: Um. Well, that’s never going to happen now.
I swear, if I held on to my virginity for an inordinate amount of time, she was the person responsible for it. I was a dater. I liked to date the guy and get to know him better before it went beyond kissing. I found out that I had just been warming them up for her to seal the deal with them. I guess I can thank her for weeding out all of the louses that gathered around me.
It was normal for me to exit my bedroom, which opened into the living room, at 3AM and find over a dozen people all sitting on the floor playing D&D, Dungeons and Dragons. One of my roommates was a notorious Dungeon Master and people came from miles away to play under his direction.
I hated that game!
They finally talked me int0 playing one time. I developed a fairy sprite character that lived for about 60 minutes. The Master rolled his dice and solemnly announced “You’re dead.” I couldn’t believe it! I protested. How come no one else in there had died?! He pushed his glasses up on his nose and very seriously replied “You can not spit in the eye of God and expect to live. Everyone else here is Level 12 and above. You were Level 1, and well, you’re not even Level 1 now, cuz you’re dead.” I stomped off and I never played again.
Many of our houses had living rooms full of band equipment. Nights of hearing Robert Plant’s new album come back to me. I remember vowing I’d never listen to him again after hearing his title hit played hundreds of times.
Most of my roommates were all extremely talented musicians. The poetry these guys could produce without even trying, was mind-blowing.
Youth…it has an enormous amount of forgiveness and tolerance. Most girls would have kicked this roommate to the curb, but I liked her, so I dealt with her promiscuity.
“Listen Roomie. We found this great new house and we have two great new boy roommates, but there has to be a rule. No sex with the boy roommates, okay?” She agreed to these terms and exactly one month later I’m walking by one of the boy’s bedrooms. The door was ajar and there she was, curled up asleep, obviously naked, with boy roommate #1.
I prepared myself for the proverbial poo to hit the fan and it did. An argument, a fight and boy roommate #1 moves out in a huff.
Yay Team Roommate!
I lived from one rental property to the next with one particular boy for years. He was, in fact, my very best friend. I told him that the next place we lived, I didn’t want any girl roommates. Witnessing the destruction and havoc firsthand from Typhoid Roomie, he was totally on board with this request.
In fact, his older brother lived with us for a while and he is still one of my dear friends today. When I count my family, I count the brothers and their families.
One night the entire house was kept up from the high pitched, keening screams emanating from behind her closed door. At one point we gathered in the hallway to listen because it was operatic and vocal and all done in a pitch heard mostly by dogs. I was impressed. “YES! YES! YES! LIKE THAT! OMG! LIKE THAT! OOOOOOOO! DON’T STOP! YES! YES!OMG!OMG!OMG! OOOOOOOOOO!!”
I’m not kidding. It went on all night long.
The next morning her door was open so I bobbed over to make sure she was still alive. There propped up by pillows, reading the morning paper and drinking coffee was a handsome blond boy/man. “Oh! Hello there!” he looked up and introduced himself to me. I asked if I could get him more coffee, took his mug and bounded down to the kitchen where Roomie was making a fresh pot. “Wow! He’s cute! I can see why you were screaming so much last night.” She turned around, put her hands on hips and said “That wasn’t me! It was him! I couldn’t make him shut up. I even tried putting the pillow over his face!”
He’s one of my friends on Facebook…teehee 🙂
Then there was the British sailor from the HMS Bristol that went AWOL and pledged his undying love to her after spending many nights as a stowaway in her bedroom. Upon receiving the news that she would not marry him so he could get a Green Card, he crossed the hall to profess his undying love to me. LOL!! Dude! Really?
I heard he spent many nights in the brig for that. We wore his Naval Uniform Hat on Halloween in honor of his defiance.
The funniest thing I remember was making out with a guy I was dating. He did that thing that every guy that age does; he shoved my hand over his “package”. I went into shock. Not because he was forcing me to touch him, but because it was…unusual. The second I made some calculated deductions in my head, I broke our lip lock and loudly yelled Roomie’s name.
The poor guy looked at me in utter confusion and shock as Roomie came barreling into the room. “OMG!” I exclaimed. “You have to see this thing!” Like a doctor making an examination she leaned forward to have a peek. Meanwhile the guy is quaking in his shoes, trapped there between us. “Oh my!” she says. “I know!” I replied. Granted, at the time I was so inexperienced, I’m surprised any guy wanted to date me, but I knew enough to know that this was not ever going to work.
I won’t tell you how grotesquely enormous this thing was, but it was HUGE! Freak show huge! I remember very curtly telling him that he wouldn’t ever be getting near me with that thing.
I’m pretty sure he nailed my roommate though.
One of my most memorable roommates was a dark, moody, smoldering boy. He had eyelashes like Bambi and brown eyes so big and so sensuous you just wanted to dive right in them. Or were his eyes blue? I can’t remember now. He was the first boy I lived with that stocked the refrigerator AND knew how to cook. His voice was deep and melodic and his angst made him seem very mysterious. He liked staying home and you could find him on any given day sitting in the living room learning a new song on one of his numerous bass guitars. A real dreamboat, huh? I know!
We immediately hated each other.
He complained about me all the time. I never helped clean the house. I figured there were 3 boys there and me. Three boys! Why should I have to clean the bathroom? I barely made a mark in there! I never cleaned the kitchen. I never cooked. I never bought food. Well, I never really ate much either, but they were always trying to feed me. I never paid my rent on time. I was too loud during the day when he was sleeping. He worked a graveyard shift and I worked when the mood struck me. The list seemed endless. I knew I annoyed him, but for some reason I just couldn’t behave.
I admit it! I was a horrible roommate!
The thing is that I don’t remember being in that house with them very much. For me, the house was a pitstop on my way to some place else. I never truly understood how all of them took such great care of me and tried to protect me. I never even had to move myself in there. I never even packed a box! They went to our old house and they packed all of my belongings and had set up my room for me before I ever got home. How could I have missed that kind of loving care?
To his credit, he never addressed me with anything but respect. And I did nothing but constantly complain to my best friend in the house about him. My best friend was quick to delicately point out that this roommate actually paid his share of the bills and some months, he even paid my share too. Oh…I didn’t realize that.
When I think about the enormous amount of crap they put up with just to have me in the house, I wonder why they never threw me out. But they never did.
Then one day on my birthday I came home, walked into my room and found a huge surprise. I won’t tell you what it was, but I will tell you that it nearly moved me to tears. It was thoughtful and planned out and presented with fun and with the love of a friend. For the life of me I will never understand how he could move beyond the diva princess that I was and celebrate anything to do with me. But he did.
He was definitely one of the good guys.
I haven’t had a roommate in years that wasn’t my boyfriend/husband. Sometimes I miss those days. I was a lucky girl to have lived in the presence of goodness. For they were all good in their own way and they all had something to teach me.
I highly recommend the roommate experience. I dedicate this to everyone that ever shared a space with me. May your life hold the riches of peace and safe haven, no matter where you may be.
- Dropbox Etiquette – Stu Maschwitz (stoweboyd.com)
- Some relationship advice from your roommate (passiveaggressivenotes.com)
- Ask Me – Question 1 (staceyarcher.wordpress.com)
- Bringing dates home when you have roommates? (ask.metafilter.com)
- Two friends enter, one friend leaves. Roommate or boyfriend? (ask.metafilter.com)
- Surviving Your Roommates (bossip.com)
- Cost of Living and Roommate Agreements (brighthub.com)
- Where It All Began (weddingbee.com)
- Muffins for Love? (youngatheist.wordpress.com)
- Really, Really Love (hibagel.wordpress.com)
- The Wet Jet (kellieckdahl.wordpress.com)
- Hiding from your roommate? (powertopenguins.wordpress.com)