Understanding Your Opposite-Sex Roommate

Post-college, many of us move out on our own and find that life isn’t what we expected it to be. We pay more in rent than we’d planned, we live in neighborhoods that keep our parents up at night (or cause them to turn to us during a visit and ask us with genuine concern, “Why is that 35-year-old man riding a skateboard?”), and finally, we live with people we never expected to share a bathroom with.

My ‘wildcard’ roommate Steve went to college with me but graduated at the end of my freshman year. Five years later, my roommate Ashley and I were looking for an apartment upgrade, and Steve was looking for roommates. We reconnected at the end of 2009; got a ballin’ ass apartment together, and our own alcohol-soaked spin-off of Three’s Company ensued.

It’s been fun as shit, but as with any foreign living situation, it’s also been a learning experience. Between my roommate and the men we’ve hosted as houseguests for extended periods of time, I think I have a pretty solid handle on what it’s like to live with both sexes. If you’re planning on moving in with a member of the opposite sex, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

Don’t expect your girl roommate to be tidy and neat just because she’s a girl. For real. Living with a girl does not mean the laundry gets washed and folded with precision. Hey babes, some of us are women of the world – we’re too busy hustling to clean up every five minutes. I’m a change-clothes-and-go type of bitch. The only time my room is put together on a regular basis is when I’m dating someone and don’t want them to have to go on an excavation to find their pants in the morning (and even then…). Perhaps one day I’ll date someone long enough to make a habit out of it, but today isn’t that day.

Don’t expect a guy to be ready in five minutes. Guys have their grooming rituals, too. They have hair gel questions. They have shirts-matching-with-pants questions. They have beard questions. You might want to tell your male roommate to quit being a diva, but he’s just trying to look nice and represent for the household. Throw him a bone (he gets three costume changes only – after that, no mercy).

Do not ignore your roommate’s love and sex advice. If you don’t want to get schooled, don’t ask – but if you’re genuinely going through something and need guidance, listen to what your roommate has to say. We’ve all loved and lost; we’ve all fucked and fucked over. We’ve collected graveyards full of anecdotes from our failed relationships, and we’ve tripled that intel by caring for our emotionally inept friends. LISTEN TO US. WE KNOW WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT (says every guy/chick ever). Your opposite-sex roommate is like a brother or sister who isn’t freaked out by the idea of you fucking someone. Hear them out.

Don’t expect your female roommate to be a fine ass woman all the time. Look, we’re glad you think so highly of us that you’re fucking shocked when we lay around all day without showering, sans bra, eating a perpetual plate of nachos. But my house is my house, regardless of who else lives there. Sometimes a girl just wants to wear an ex-boyfriend t-shirt and sweatpants covered in paint. Ask any deliveryman. They’ve seen some dark shit.

Don’t expect the guy to do all of the manual labor around the house. Perhaps the unwarranted syndication of Home Improvement has conditioned us to believe that every man has a toolkit strapped to his dick and knows what to do with a level, but this is bullshit. In my house, we have a Ms. Fix-It. (Hint: It ain’t me.) While Ashley puts our furniture together, the two remaining roomies sit back and pass our handywoman tools and brews, as needed.

Be conscious of the accidental cockblock. If you’re out together as a twosome and people hear you referencing ‘your place,’ laughing hysterically, and putting beers on each other’s bar tabs, you’re as good as married. You don’t have to ignore each other – just be aware of your vibes. Reinforce the nature of your (platonic) relationship when talking to a group of single babes so that y’all can double date at brunch in the morning.

In my experience, living with a member of the opposite sex is the ultimate ethnography. I’ve been first responder to enough facial hair-related crises to last a lifetime, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Jeffery Bennett

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