Author’s note: I understand that all guys are different. Sure, some men would be offended if I punched them in the face. Others are classy as hell and would never make objectifying jokes. I mean no offense to anyone and am just reflecting on my experience living with my four best friends over the course of the past year.
I never lived with a man until this year. I grew up with a house full of ladies and moved off into dorms filled with young women. Moving into an apartment with four guys was a culture shock, to say the least. It also was the most freeing, insightful year of my life. It’s changed me as a person from the inside out. I think the world would be a better place if every woman experienced living with men.
1. Food Intake
There are some basic physical differences between men and women. Men are naturally stronger, usually taller and have a higher rate of basal metabolism. Men in their early 20s wouldn’t blink an eye at the thought of eating a whole pizza or late-night Chinese food. While the women I lived with worried about dieting and healthy alternatives, these guys are scarfing down calzones and cheeseburgers like it’s their last meal on earth. Did you even know that Goldfish could be considered a condiment? As a result, I now have a whole new appreciation for food. Namely, junk food snacking. Chips are great. Chips are also evil.
The stereotype is real. Guys wrestle. A lot. After about a month of passive observation, there really is no choice but to join in. In fact, one of my roommates let me punch him in the face. No repercussions, just for fun. He gave me a brief lesson on how to punch, we hugged it out, I decked him in the side of his face, and we hugged it out again. There’s also a surprising amount of bull rushing that goes on in our apartment. I wonder how my future female roommates will react to me casually bull rushing them while they’re preparing breakfast…
This is not necessarily reflective of living with guys and may just be the men I live with right now, but I’ve found that in general they are more apt to join in on any wild adventure I’m ready to take on a moment’s notice than any woman I’ve lived with. I’m not convinced that it’s because women aren’t spontaneous, but women are constantly running at 100 mph and don’t have time to take off on a crazy journey through the city at any given time. Whatever the reason, it’s certainly been an exciting year.
4. Drinking Tolerance
In case you didn’t know already, men usually have a higher drinking tolerance than women. It’s something I learned the hard way. Drinking games and pre-gaming with the guys takes skill and craft. If I try to go shot for shot with one of my roommates I’ll probably end up in the hospital. The same goes for trying to keep up with their drinking games. Sometimes I need my own rules, and that’s okay. That said, I can now drink whiskey with the best of ‘em.
5. Vulgar Language/Jokes
Oh, you mean it’s not normal to have “poop” and “jenk” written in Sharpie on my living room table? Or for there to be a long-running joke about a jenk lab under my bed?
6. Constant protection
I will never know what it is to walk home alone again. No way. Not allowed.
7. No jar is off-limits
See #1. Men are naturally stronger and usually taller than women. They can open any jar that would otherwise be deemed out of order and reach any shelf without a step stool. It’s marvelous.
8. Comfort with basic bodily functions
Farting over breakfast. iChats, SnapChats and all other forms of chats while pooping. Beware: nothing is off limits.
9. Privacy and/or handling general life tension
Men have a bizarre sense of privacy. They’ll announce to the whole room that they’re off to a good poop, but won’t let it all out with a good cry after a bad week. They’ll keep their problems to themselves. In the same realm, my roommates are always there for each other and always there for me. There doesn’t need to be a long, heated, tear-filled vent session. Sometimes a person just needs to be alone in their room. Sometimes an “I’m here for you if you need anything” is all the comfort it takes.
This is all-inclusive and incredibly refreshing. I recently put on a new album and asked for opinions from my roommates, to which I got a “what is this shit and why is it playing in my house.” I also once put on an outfit to be immediately told I looked like a pirate. At first, the honesty was a bit harsh and probably the hardest adjustment, but it’s this honesty that has taught me to be more comfortable with myself. It’s helped me to be more outgoing in any situation and to approach people with straightforward, unfiltered confidence. For that, I am forever grateful for this rollercoaster of an experience.