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. TC mark

image – Jeffery Bennett


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  • http://brianmcelmurry.blogspot.com/ Brian McElmurry

    Word Stephanie. Love your stuff. thanks

  • NT

    This is wonderful. “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.” So funny…so true.

  • http://twitter.com/no_cazador hunter ray

    Yeah this was way cute. I love the things you learn about people while living with them, you see a side of person you would never see any other way. Sure, there are negative aspects but gotta look on the bright side of pulling roomies’ hair out of the shower drain.

  • http://twitter.com/brunodion Bruno Dion

    I shall cherish this guide as I move in with two girls.

    • qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm

      Good. luck. to. you. sir.

  • http://twitter.com/whoismau Mauricio

    You just wrote my post-college life story to date. Another awesome article.

  • Ang

    SO GOOD. So true. You really do learn alot about your roommate, and the most hilarious thing – their hangover rituals.

  • Guest

    who the hell would subject themselves to such a terrible living situation. if you’re not boning the person, don’t live with them.

  • Amissa

    Not to be THAT person, but this post is so gender normative. But actually…. 

  • Anonymous

    Deliverymen have potentially the greatest job ever (instant porn scene potential with every package stop) or the worst (angry drunk layabouts with nothing to do but bitch to you about your apparent lateness). Non sequitur, I know.

    Burritos > Nachos

  • Guest

    so go into it without bullshit ideas about gender and you’ll be fine

  • http://maxwellchance.wordpress.com Duke Holland of Gishmale

    I lived with a woman once. Despite her having a fiancé (in another state), the sexual tension hit a point where we had no choice. I had sex with her. In the butt. I got poop on me peepee. Cue yackety sax. That was awkward. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    It’s true. Don’t expect the female roommate to be tidy and neat… The bathroom looks like a hair war zone every morning.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=707272007 Alex Thayer

    i think that i’d hate an all dude living situation, to be honest.  it would be cool for a while, but i really like having a random female perspective on totally arbitrary shit sometimes. 

    also, i can meet all of her fine ass friends in a drunken state literally feet from my bedroom- not that i’m that kind of guy hehehehehehehehe

  • ohgirl

    What happened to Circles? Miss her commentary.

  • http://twitter.com/Cackles Mitch

    For most of the past year, I’ve lived with two female roommates and absolutely loved it. The only gender-specific issue I’ve noticed is toilet paper consumption. I understand how it happens (you can’t simply shake your vagina dry after you pee, to say nothing of the mess one’s period makes), but before living with women I never would have believed it humanly possible to go through so much TP so quickly.

    • Guest

      tell them to grab a warm cup of water and flush with that after they pee instead of using all the god damn TP.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=508371039 Rayan Khayat

        a much cleaner alternative

  • Anonymous


  • http://twitter.com/BrianRentas Brian Rentas

    I will be living with three female roommates in the fall. This will definitely help.

  • http://tatingle.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/rogerian-argument-final-draft/ Rogerian Argument Final Draft | tatingle
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