So for one year at college, I lived in a house of boys. I was in a bit of a pickle with my housing situation that year; I hated the dorms and found out I was being placed with 3 strangers because my only good friend who I planned to room with was transferring at the last minute. The thought of this horrified me. So one of my male friends who I also went to high school with mentioned that he got a house with two other guys, but they needed a fourth roommate. I didn’t hesitate. Usually the reactions I get after saying I was the only girl living with three boys are mixed: girls are horrified because they assume boys are disgusting pigs, and guys are a little freaked out because they can’t imagine themselves living with some random chick. They always ask how it went, to which I reply that it was awesome. (The following two years I lived with three girls, whom I all loved and thoroughly enjoyed my time with as well, but I was always aware of how different it was compared to that one year).
1. Pregaming & Going Out
For girls, getting ready to go out is an event in itself. Music is blasting, drinks are being poured, hair is being straightened, makeup is being applied, clothes and jewelry are strewn all over the place. Everyone’s running into each other’s rooms to ask, “How does this look?” “Can I go through your closet?” “Can I borrow your curling iron?” There is gossip about who’s going, if they’re going to see the guy they like, if that bitch will be there, what time they should leave, who they should tell to come drink beforehand. They’re flipping out because something doesn’t look right and it’s coming closer to the time to leave. They can’t decide if they should bring a jacket or depend on liquor’s warmth to make it through the cold walk. It’s chaotic excitement that always precedes a night out.
For boys, unless people are coming over to pregame, there’s no chaotic excitement. It’s the cracking of beers and the sound of ESPN on the television. Although I liked the calm demeanor of guys when it came to the weekend, it could still get a little lonely being the only one in the house who put effort into my appearance. They would shower, throw on jeans and a t-shirt, and be ready to go. But the process wasn’t as overwhelming as it usually is surrounded by girls. I would sit in the living room with the boys as they watched TV, sipping beers as I straightened my hair. Waiting for me wasn’t a question. While girls wanted to make sure they beat the lines and got into the bars first, willing to leave stragglers behind, guys didn’t care as long as we were all together. I’d go upstairs by myself where I got dressed and did my makeup in silence, with no clothes to borrow and no one to borrow anything of mine. Occasionally, when I really wasn’t feeling sure about an outfit, I’d go downstairs and ask them what they thought. I’d usually get a whistle or a thumbs up, and that was my indication I looked fine.
Girls are dirtier than boys. I’m sorry, it’s true. Maybe it’s because we have so many more clothes and accessories (?) but you can never see the floor to a girl’s room. But in general, it was nearly impossible to keep a college party house clean. Even after sweeping and mopping I still felt like I had to wear socks at all times. Beer was pretty much a foundation in the tile. But cleaning with girls is all haphazard, done separately, sporadically, and usually at the last minute. Dishes are only done when the sink is overflowing. The carpets are only vacuumed when dust bunnies are everywhere. It’s like everyone did a “nose-goes” with the garbage but not in the presence of each other. Wrappers will be left on the counter for months unless you throw it out yourself or remind the person.
I never had to say a word about cleaning or picking up after yourself to the boys. I wasn’t their mom, they were very aware of that, and I never had to remind them. Our sink never got full, the counters were always wiped clean and bare, and at the end of the night before bed, everyone would collect their respected stuff and either throw it out or bring it to their rooms. And what the biggest difference was, when one person started cleaning, everyone did. It was an unspoken thing. If one of the boys saw someone mopping the kitchen floor, someone would start cleaning the bathrooms, and another would start vacuuming the living room. We wouldn’t stop until everything was clean and tidy.
Should I even go into this? You know how girls are. They gossip and talk shit and roll their eyes behind backs and bitch and complain. I’m a girl, I’ve done all of it too. But in an environment where you’re living with girls 24/7, it can get difficult. Three will gang up on one, and they’ll uniformly decide if they don’t like someone that day. They’ll whisper mean things and get silent when someone walks into the room. They’ll divide into two groups, avoiding each other and talking shit about the others. They’ll get into catty arguments and storm out of rooms and cry. 98% of the time, it’s over something dumb. Thrown into this after living with boys, I was shell-shocked, to say the least.
As much as I loved living with girls, this is where boys took the cake. I actually forgot what girls were really like when I lived with boys. Everything was so chill. There was never an issue. If there was a minor problem, like someone left all their clothes on the bathroom floor, boys would address it without giving off any attitude. “Yo bro, you mind grabbing that stuff?” “Sure.” That’s it. With girls, it’s talking shit about them first, “Ugh, she’s SO messy.” And then it’ll become passive-aggressive, like picking up their stuff while grumbling under their breath. And then maybe it’ll eventually lead to, “Um, Brittany, can you please pick your shit up already??” And then that’ll be a whole problem in itself due to the tone. Boys are able to say what they’re thinking without any implied malice. If they disagree, it’s not an issue, and is usually handled quickly and easily. I first realized the difference about a month into living with them. We were having a party, my friends and I were hunting for one of my roommates, and in a drunken stupor, assuming he was in his room and his door was open, I kicked his door in and broke his lock. I finally found him minutes later and he was pissed. But it’s not like when a girl is pissed at you, because that feeling sucks, it was like my older brother was disappointed in me, which in its own right sucked too. I begged my other roommates to fix his lock immediately, which they easily did, then I sat in my room and cried because I was so upset I did something to make him mad at me. My roommates = all found me and demanded an explanation, and when I said why, they laughed. The roommate hugged me and told me it wasn’t a big deal, while my other roommates were like, “Holy shit, girls really are dramatic.” I was super embarrassed because I didn’t realize they could get over it so quickly. We never had a problem again. But thinking if that took place with girls?! Yeah, right. My belongings would be thrown out of the house and I’d be burned on a stake.
4. Hanging out
In fact, there’s not a huge difference here. On the weekends, regardless of who I was living with, we’d all stumble downstairs one at a time, hungover, and plop on the couch. The bong would come out, we’d start reminiscing and laughing about the night before, but the only difference is here: with boys the Xbox would immediately go on, too. And before any girls feel bad I had to tolerate watching Xbox all day, I was the one playing with them the whole entire time. I was the one actually supplying the Xbox, and most of the controllers, and Gears of War, and every single Call of Duty.
At the end of the year, my roommates finally admitted how skeptical they were about living with a girl. In summary, they pretty much thought it would suck, because they assumed I’d be a little prissy bitch who would be dramatic and girly about everything. But they were pleasantly surprised that I was laidback and could keep up with them when it came to drinking, smoking, and playing video games. And I was fortunate to have some great guys to live with. They came down in the basement with me to do laundry when I got too scared alone, they scolded party goers for using my beloved crayons, and they smoked me up all the time without fail. Not to mention, I was the first female any of these guys ever lived with besides their mothers (none of them had sisters). So I’ll be forever fortunate that what seemed like a weird situation turned out to be one of my best experiences.