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on roommates, and not having them.

i'm getting really, really close to that point where i'll actually move. into an apartment. on my own.

panic and excitement are mixing in a strange cocktail and i've taken to pinning copious amounts of all-white rooms to pinterest and googling whether or not ikea furniture can be painted.

my dear friend alisha put together a hilarious rant on why living alone is the bees-knees (she's been living "alone" for quite some time with the man she'll call her husband before the year is out). i happen to think alisha is the bees-knees...


(also, it should be noted that alisha's opinions often depart from my own. for example, i actually quite like cats. and also, that i myself, have been the annoying-terrible-no-good-roommate more times than i care to count, though not alisha's roommate, that could've been fun). 

(a room in an apartment that i would never be able to afford. but a girl can dream). via 

On Roommates, and Not Having Them.

Living alone is the bees knees. No, let me be clear. It is the shit. Everyone should try living alone sometime. And not just alone, alone. You can live alone with a dog, or a fish, or a cat (although, eugh, why would you? cats truly are evil incarnate), or a really friendly houseplant, or a special someone. And by a special someone, I don't mean a roommate. I mean a special someone. Who you sleep in bed with. Because this is all about living alone, remember? And your special someone counts as you living alone. I feel that once you have gotten to the place where you can turn over in the middle of the night onto your special someone's pillow and fall back asleep in a puddle of their drool and not really notice, they have ceased to be a completely separate person from you. But I do think you should maybe try to live alone for a bit before you procure your special someone, if you can. Just imagine... you, and your apartment, finally having some quality time all by yourselves. 

Now don't think I am totally against roommates, I don't think roommates are life-ruiners who ruin people's lives. Although sometimes they can be. I'm just against roommates forever. Or at least consecutively. I just happen to think that there is a time in every gal's (or guy's) life when the need to know EXACTLY WHAT IS INSIDE OF YOUR FRIDGE becomes significantly more important than knowing that someone may have "accidentally" deleted the last episode of Mad Men on the DVR. Oh wait, those things both stink. I mean- roommates can be fun! Sometimes!

When I was in college I lived with three (3!!!!) other people. Two guys and a girl. The girl, who was (and absolutely is still) an awesome person on the whole, had several peccadillos that began to grate on my nerves almost immediately. She had this way of wanting to try everyone else's food.... not steal it, necessarily, but if you were, say eating carrots and hummus, she would be all: "ooh! carrots and hummus! what a GREAT idea!" and you would have to be all: "please, totally have some with me" and THEN (and this is the part I simply could not handle) when she couldn't finish the LAST BITE OF HER CARROT she would wrap it up in a piece of paper towel, and put it in the fridge. She did this with everything. Apples, sandwiches, Fig Newtons, single wedges of clementine. Girlfriend just wanted to save that last bite for later. In billions of little freaking paper towel pieces all wrapped up. IN THE FRIDGE RIGHT NEXT TO MY ORANGE JUICE!!! AHHHHH!!! 

So there's that. Also, she and her boyfriend frequently had what was arguably the loudest shower sex on the planet, and her shower was against the wall containing (you guessed it) my headboard. So there's that as well.

But this isn't my place to word vomit all over the place about my many former roommates. Because ultimately all of my (and everyone else's too) roommates can be categorized into two very simple groups:

People Who Are My Wonderful Friends In Real Life But Are Ultimately Hard To Live With On Some Level, and
People Who Are NOT My Wonderful Friends But Are Random Horrible People Who Scream At Me For Taking Long Showers Or Using Their Sugar

Which brings me back to: Living Alone. Starring, you. 

Why is living alone so fantabulously wonderful? 

1) Nudity.
This one is a biggie for me, friends. Outside of the fact that I love purchasing skirts and tops and colored jeans in places I cannot afford, like Anthropologie, I deeply resent clothes. I am so much happier doing all activities fully nude. Watching TV? Nude. Reading a book? Naked. Eating some popcorn and drinking a glass of wine? Undressed, thank you very much. Cleaning the house? This one's so obvious: if you do it while nude, you can't get bleach on your clothes! There are so many fun things to do in the buff I couldn't possibly list them all here. But you get me, right? When in the privacy of your own home, naked is your new little-black-dress. 

2) All the gross stuff is your gross stuff.
What's the weird gunk in the shower? Whose hair is on the toilet seat? These dirty exercise clothes in the corner, where did they come from? Why is there a plate with dried flakes of cheese on it in the sink that still hasn't been washed? 
These questions are so much easier to answer when you live by yourself. So much less finger pointing. You can take that finger and proudly turn it right back around on yourself, my independent friend! YOU made the mess! AWESOME! Do you feel like cleaning it up right away, possibly in the nude? Leaving it to rot for hours, days, weeks? DOUBLE AWESOME. You get to do that, my friend, because it's your mess and no one is going to come home all grumpy and tired after a long day of bartending/financial advising/studying/auditioning and leave you a passive-aggressive note about it.

3) Your fridge is your temple.
We've already touched on this, but this is one of the things you will begin to treasure about living alone. You know how living with roommates routinely places you in the position of discovering tupperware containers that contain ACTUAL MOLD at the back of your fridge which you are not allowed to immediately place in a hazmat bag and dispose of because it is not YOUR tupperware container? That will be a thing of the past. 

4) What is for sharing and what is for not sharing.
Having roommates makes the lines between mine and yours get very hazy. Obviously, you are sharing the couch. It possibly belongs to a specific roommate, but ultimately, no one is charging by the minute for sitting or even taking a long nap on the couch. However, spill a glass of red wine on the couch, and suddenly, just like magic, POOF! it belongs to Specific Roommate again and you have to reimburse her for the damages. Then again, roommates can double and even quadruple your apartment's milk needs. Why is it that no one can ever agree on milk? Why must you have your soy? Your non-fat? Your whole? Your almond? Your special organic brand from cows raised entirely on diets of conscientiously-farmed alfalfa? Why can't anyone just split a friendly half-gallon of 2% with me? 

5) And most importantly... Learning what you're like by yourself.
This might sound like some pretentious Eat, Pray, Love blather, but I think the most valuable thing about living alone is that you begin to find out what you are actually like as an adult inside your own head. We have such a good idea of what we're like around others- we are constantly projecting the self we want everyone else to see in social settings, at work, at school, at the bar after work, on the street walking to the bar after work, at our family's home, at our friend's homes, that we rarely get to see a glimpse of Actual Us. That person with her hair not just down, but frizzy. The person who sometimes just wants to come home to a completely quiet apartment and listen to showtunes while eating apples and cheese for dinner while wearing nothing but a bath towel. And not have to worry that someone may walk in at any moment with a spontaneous gathering of friends who all want to change the channel. 

I admit that living alone can seem financially daunting. Here in New York City, which has been scientifically proven to be the most overpriced city in the world, it can seem next to impossible. But I want to encourage you to make it happen at some point! Even if it's just for a year. Do what you need to do to afford it: join a cheaper gym, cancel the extended cable, buy the generic brand, consider living in Brooklyn or Queens (but not the Bronx) (or Staten Island), use your imagination and begin embracing the idea of "studio apartment" to mean "room possibly smaller than my childhood bedroom". You are about to embark on the Great Adventure of Living Alone and once you put a cute rug on the floor and some art on the walls, that tiny room is gonna look like home. I think so many people are only willing to live by themselves in New York unless their apartment can be Meg Ryan's from "You've Got Mail". But you don't need that enormous brownstone to be happy in your own space in the city (am I right, though? Does it not appear that Meg actually owns that entire brownstone?! And apparently doesn't bother locking the door or even carrying a bag or purse when she leaves?!). It has also come to my attention that there are other places to live besides New York, and many of them make solo living quite affordable. So that's great.

Speaking of finances, I haven't even mentioned the number one annoyance of not living alone, which is Constant Awkward Conversations About Money. Sharing an apartment with someone means you're sharing one of your largest monthly expenses (and here I mean your rent as well as utilities, internet and usually cable) with a person who may have questionable financial habits. Possibly you have questionable financial habits too, but they are ALL YOURS and if you are late with the rent, you have no one to blame but yourself. Roommates create a giant black hole of Weird Money Problems just by existing. When are they going to give you the check for their half of the rent? Can you charge them more than their share of the electricity because they insist on never turning off the A/C or lights when leaving the house? Why did they buy new and expensive dishsoap that you don't even like and then magnetize the receipt to the fridge with the note: "you owe = $3.78"?

Anyway, who's been ranting in here? Oh, me. Sorry about that. I realize that this is just my personal pile of issues having to do with roommates, and you may disagree with them entirely, and who's to say you're not right as well. But just think of what fun it could be having a living space uncluttered with anyone else's personal piles of issues! Think of what an irritating roommate I must be! Doesn't this entire article just make you want to run off to your own private island so you don't have to listen to me complain anymore?! 

That's what I thought. 

so do tell, what's your worst (or best) roommate saga?!


Ana Magdalena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sara said...

Does Alisha have a blog, because I would love to read it? (:


Erica said...

This is hilarious! I generally skim long posts, but I actually read every word of this one.

My worst roommate saga isn't really all that bad, but to me, it was enough to make me consider homicide. NONE OF MY ROOMMATE DID THIRE DISHES! I am a neat-freak to the extreme but I can overlook a few things, but NOT THE DISHES. And I had multiple sets of roommates, but none of them cleaned up after their meals! I even cleared out the dishwasher (always) and loaded my own dishes while my roommate was eating, then left the dishwasher open for her. So what did she do? Leave the dishes in the sink! Right in front of me! ARGH!

Ok, this wasn't the worst roommate experience I had. The roommate who tried to commit suicide and the other one who decided to hate and sabotage me were definitely worse. Well, maybe not...not doing your own dishes is a big deal.

Nicole said...

I lived with a roommate who, for the most part, was great. then she got a boyfriend and said boyfriend decided to move in with us (I obviously had no say in this until it happened)! three people in a two bedroom apt splitting the rent/food was a disaster. this did not last long....I refused to be third wheel in this place I called home. and that is when I got my OWN place, alone.

Brissa said...


my roommates have finally moved out and i'm alone for the rest of the summer. it's the best thing that ever happened to me. i agree with everything she said. the plates, the music, the mess. it's all mine and i love it!

Melissa said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Alisha - Living alone is the shit. With the exception of my soon-to-be husband, I've pretty much failed at having roommates. Reading this brought back memories of a college roommate who would drown herself in cotton candy scented body spray every morning. She also had a boyfriend with the stinkiest feet ever. We'd have to spray down the apartment and open our windows every time after he left. My stomach lurches a little every time I think about it. Yuck.

Kim said...

SO TRUE. I am alone for the first time ever, also newly single from being engaged and in a home I just bought. At first I was awfully afraid but in just one short month, I have come to absolutely love it.

Alexa said...

My sophomore year of college, I lived with 3 girls--one of whom cheated on Roommate C with Roommate C's boyfriend. On our couch. While the rest of us were sleeping.

The roommate that replaced her deep fried all sorts of things and ran a hair salon out of our den.

Mostly, though, my roommate memories are happy ones, and such an important part of my growing up. I'm 24 now and have been living alone for 3 years, and I look forward to living with my someday boy.

Carrie Rosalind said...

Oh my gosh, this is so awesome. I feel the exact same way. I had some horrible roommate experiences and I've lived alone for almost 2 years and it's the best thing I've ever done. I know you'll love it too, Meg!

L.A. said...

My worst roommate story ever came from my freshman year of college.

I was sick with strep and had had it up to here with my roommate, so I sent a long angry text ranting about her to my best friend. Turns out I accidentally sent it to her. As she was sitting at her desk two feet away from me. Her phone vibrates.

"Oh, shit." That's the only thought I managed as she looked up at me and we made eye contact after she read it. That made for an awkward couple of days to say the least.

megan said...

Oh man, I loved this whole thing. It's all so true. I'm still not on my own, but recently cut from living with 5 other girls to just 2 others and that has been brilliant. I had one good year of roommates, living with two of my best friends. Other than that, I've always been stuck with the messy ones - moldy dishes because no one accepted responsibility, leaving me to cave in and clean. The awkward ones - with the awkward boyfriends. Who would never go to his place, always ours. So many "good" times. But definitely memorable. My mom always says that living with these people will make having a husband a breeze; can't wait for that!

Danielle said...

Hilarious!!! I have lived her rant! haha. In college, I lived with 4 other girls!! 5 of us. In one house. A NIGHTMARE! Luckily, I live alone now. And it's lovely.

Kate said...

Dishes not being done, petty "this is my food please don't eat it" notes, taking up the drivway...but the funniest to me was the toothbrush incident. I still laugh about it.

I had my toothbrush in a toothbrush holder containing two (2) other brushes, presuambly belonging to my 2 (two) roommates. Fine. Mine was yellow and had the name and phone number of my dentist on it. I was definitely the only roommate who went to that dentist. Also, I use white toothpaste. None of this blue-green shiny stuff. And I never let toothpaste goop up on the handle of my brush. So anyway, one day I notice my toothbrush has fallen behind the sink/toilet onto the floor. No biggie, happens all the time, and I always have an extra for times like this. So I pick up MY toothbrush off the floor and put it in the trash can.

Next morning - said dirtied toothbrush is BACK IN THE TOOTHBRUSH HOLDER. I figure maybe one of my roommates thought it accidentally fell in the trash and picked it up for me. So I throw it away again.

Later that day - TOOTHBRUSH IS BACK IN THE HOLDER WITH GREEN TOOTHPASTE ON IT. Someone had now twice taken MY toothbrush out of the trash can and USED IT! I dont' remember what I did next. I think I was too shocked.

Allison said...

You certainly hit the nail on the head. I am now married, but before that I lived with one of my good friends. It's safe to say we are no longer friends and haven't talked in 5 years, nor will we probably ever talk to each other again! Definitely do everything possible to live by yourself, so worth it.

MMW said...

Living alone was the best thing about my final year of college. I loved my apartment - called The Arlington! - a swanky hotel from the 1920s which had been renovated into apartment suites. My studio had a murphy bed in the wall, a cast-iron bathtub (no shower) and a small kitchenette. I furnished it from left over set pieces from theatre companies I worked with. And SO refreshing to have no roommates.
YOU WILL DO WELL MEG! all the best.

Lela said...

I've never leaved all by myself, though it is something I aspire ro do eventually. The best roommates I'm finding, for me, at least . . . are boys. Yup, boys. Smelly, sweaty, grunty, dirty, beer drinking, video game playing, scrath-themselves-any-time-and-place-they-please, boys.

Because the thing is. . . as much as I love red nail polish, the ballet, the Help, Pinterest, and my Dolce & Gabbana perfume (a gift) I am not really very good at being a girl. In fact, I am often referred to as a "bro." And the wonderful thing about boys is. . . they don't borrow your clothes. They remember to lock the doors. They will buy 90% of the grocerries as long as you cook a few nights a week. They are much better about giving you your space - and know when to crack a dirty joke to make you laugh. With a gentle but firm hand, they can be trained to do the chores (any chores you don't like because they don't like chores AT ALL so it's all equally ick to them). Yes, generally as long as I have my own bedroom I don't mind roommates - as long as they're my boys.

I've even got them house trained.


Vanessa said...

Ha! I loved this post. I'm married now, but the year before I got married I lived with my best friend, another really good friend and a stranger. Stranger was nice but didn't socialize much, good friend was awesome, best friend decided mid-lease that we were no longer friends and commenced the silent treatment - FOR SIX MONTHS!! We shared a bathroom (which she never ever cleaned). It was horrific, and so perplexing because I had no idea what I'd done to make her angry.

Nothing, as it turns out. She was just crazy.

Jennifer M. said...

Ahh roommates. Story of my life. I vow to never again live with anyone I'm not related to by blood or by marriage. The last 15 years of my life have been dominated by roommates of some sort. Sometimes they're great, other times not so much. Ironically the best roommates have actually been strangers first. For some reason roommating with friends never seems to work out.

My worst roommate experience was with an acquaintance who turned out to be OCD, except she was in denial about it and constantly blamed me for "messing things up". She literally washed the coffee pot about 5 times a day, scrubbed the shower 2 or 3 times a day, straightened the couch cushions every time I got up from sitting on the couch, etc. I think it would've have been so bad if she would've just admitted she had a problem. Instead she would barricade herself in her room so she wouldn't have to see me, then would sneak out whenever I'd leave a room so she could clean/straighten/sterilize it. It felt like living with an invisible cleaning Nazi. So awkward...

The Childlike Empress said...

so true, so true!

I'm getting married in 4 months, and am making good use of 'the-last-time-i'll-ever-live-by -myself'

i'm such a slob when i live by myself, my fiancee has told me to live it up and use up all my bad habits...

Robby Spratt said...

This is awesome!
I just moved to a new place with roommates, and now I am sort of regretting not getting my own place.
I'm kind of shy, so having roommates that are more social than I am is usually good for me.
But besides the social element, I would totally love living alone!

Chelsey said...

Oh gotta love roommate stories! My first year of college I had a roommate who got a scholarship and her parents lived ten minutes away, but she chose to live in the dorms because it was free for her. Her parents had stocked her with about 20 towels, which she had her own little cabinet for in the bathroom, all nicely folded. I moved from 2 hours away and had TWO towels, which I would use and reuse. My roommate flooded the toilet one day and used one of MY two towels to clean it up. None of hers. Oh man, I was pissed.

I also had a 30 year old roommate a couple years later who drank hydrogen peroxide. All the time. Like bottles were in every room. I have so many scary stories about this roommate but I'll leave it at that :)

Bri Rios said...

BAHAHA! Oh gosh, I just love this. I've been married for almost a year now, and it is so dang awesome. The kitchen is MINE, the decorations are MINE, the hair stuff/food is MINE. Ok, I share with the husband, but he doesn't care how I decorate and knows how to clean a pan after he uses it. Really loved this rant and posted it to my fan page to share :)

Annie said...

I had a housemate once who would leave his bedroom to come out and use my bathroom. With the door left open. Despite having his very own ensuite. It infuriated me! I think he was marking his territory or something. Then another housemate used to constantly sing a mash-up of Stairway to Heaven and Californication which he called Stairway to Californication. It was terrible and damn near sent me into a seizure whenever I heard it.

Living with my parents again (32 and back at home! Good times) and I refuse to move out until I can afford to live alone!

Shawnee said...

ok hi i LOVE LOVE LOVE this. completely agree on this. i've always wanted to live alone...i don't need roommates! much like many of my peers. i just need more money please and yesssss i'll spend all day in my bath towel thankyouverymuch. xoxo

Emily Lauren said...

i'm pretty sure i can agree with just about everything that miss alisha said.

Ritika said...

i feel exactly like this. absolutely, i agree with your every single point, hmmm the nudity bit can be modified - no one to judge my thunder thighs in that shorts or my granny arms :D
so to me living alone is truly awesome.

Julia said...

Oh gosh, I don't think I could live with a flatmate again!! the usual no-one-claiming-responsibility-dishes-drank-all-the-milk type stuff, but the best was : flatmate who grew pot in her wardrobe, and the flatmates boyfriend who dealt stolen goods out of her bedroom. Not Awesome.

Lottie said...

Worst experience has to be when my housemates when through my room, my drawers and everything, they let someone stay in my room when i wasn't there without asking--dam not having locks on the bedroom doors. Lots of other awful things they did, lets just say i was out of there as soon as i could be.

colleen said...

i live alone. it is, indeed, the shit.

Amber aka: AmBam, Amborghini, Ambular, BerBer, and Bambi said...

My one and only roommate that I've ever lived with had a cat with allergies and it would sneeze thick green snot EVERYWHERE and she NEVER cleaned it up. My couch, the kitchen counters, the dining table, the windows in her bedroom. She is the reason I only had one roommate. She moved out and I downsized and got my own place. It's heaven.

MERN said...

At one point in college I lived in a house with 5 other girls!! There were 2 bathrooms but one girl was SO NASTY that no one would share a room with her. At one point she brought a duck home from the park and let it live in her bathtub. Another day she showed up with a snake skin she wanted to hang on the wall. Turns out it was dead on the side of the road and she skinned it and brought it home. haha I can't make this stuff up. We called her crazy Mary. She was BEAUTIFUL and fun to be around, but crazy.
I still live with 2 roommates and 1 drives me BONKERS. She is a kindergarten teach and acts more like her students than the 30 yr old lady she should be. Just yesterday she was crying to me because she bounced 2 checks and gave a boy her phone number. ?? You are crying because you gave a boy your phone number? you.have.issues.
I own my own house, just wish I had the funds to pay for it on my own.

Tania said...

I completely agree!! I have been cohabiting with people for the past 3 years while being at university, and now I'm nearly done with my finals, and one thing I cannot wait to do, is live by myself!!

aspasm said...

The only roomate I've ever had was my best friend (who is more like a sister). It was actually great. Sure, there were little fights but being as close as we were, there was no passive agressive crap - we just said what needed to be said.

Even though my roomate situation was ideal, living alone is HEAVEN. I've been living alone for 2 years and am genuinely starting to worry that I'm unable to live with others anymore. Have you ever seen this UCB video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yv_uwzlpx4A&feature=player_embedded

aspasm said...

Addendum: I just hoola hooped in my living room to Robyn's Dancing On My Own and there was no one to judge me. Living alone is honestly the best.

Rachel Upshaw said...

Hands down, the worst two years of my life in a nutshell (and why I am the HUGEST proponent of living alone: http://www.guidetomenhattan.com/2010/02/psycho-roommate-diet.html

Krys72599 said...

Even though I'm loving living with hubby, I could really get into living along again... (No offense, hon!)
College roommate #1: We moved into a dorm room together. I got there first, chose the bed near the window, put my nice striped comforter on the bed and went out to see the campus. Came back to find she'd moved in with one big black box. Turns out the most important thing she had to bring to college was her accordion. (And a 42-year-old boyfriend in jail who sent her a personalized license plate for Christmas)
College Roommate #2: The first day we moved into the dorm there was a knock on the door. It was a cute guy on crutches offering us each a Miller Light. I said no thanks, I don't drink, and he asked what I was studying. I was confused and he pointed to our whiteboard on the outside of the door. She had written "Do Not Disturb: Studying" on it. This was the FIRST night in the dorm. Classes hadn't even started yet! AND she hung up a life-sized poster of Bela Lugosi as Dracula in the room.
College Roommate #2, #3, and #4: Three of us got an apartment. Dracula girl wrote "Lost V to Steve" on the calendar. Roomie #3 locked herself in her room when she turned 21 because she was traumatized that she wasn't young anymore. Roomie #4 invited herself along on a first date when a friend invited me out, wound up dating him and moving him into our apartment. She's also the one who used every utensil, pot and pan when she cooked, but didn't clean any of them "because she cooked." She also flipped out about double-dipping into the peanut butter or the pickle jar or anything... She wound up marrying said guy, then divorcing him...
Roommate #5 = my husband, and he's cool. A little neat for my tastes (I have a higher tolerance for clutter) but for the most part, no complaints!!!

The Rookie said...

I've been blessed. For the past 6 years plus I've been through three different apartments with the same roommate and best friend since childhood. She is more sister than friend, and every one of those perks (sans nudity) somehow fits into our housing situation. We're both financially responsible. We're like-minded in our cleanliness expectations. It works for us.

Prior to that, however, another friend and I spent six wretched months with The. Weirdest. Roommate. Ever. We all pay our time, I suppose.

Mary-Sweet Bookshelf said...

I'm new to your blog, but I just HAD to put my two cents in.

LOVED living alone. Pure bliss. Most of my single life I lived alone, minus about 5 yrs of weird roommies. I'd recommend it to anyone. It was an awesome time in my life! Now I'm married and have a son, so I share space with them...

Now for a story. I had a roommate who answered the door for my blind date and actually went on the date with him instead of me. I came into the lving room to see the two of them getting in the car together. She said he was too good looking for me, so she thought she deserved the date. How nice. I'd rather live alone!

lene b said...

this is the most accurate account ever of how i feel about room mates. because i have not put it into written word myself. so thank you alisha. and thank you meg for sharing.

my current room mate is my separated-for-5-years dad, who i didn't grow up with, and who is the most opposite me a family member can get, as well as 2 dogs. sadly, a situation worse than any college room mate i had. needless to say, i dream every day of the day i can finally live on my own. which is approaching slowly, but surely.

Little Tree Vintage said...

hahahahaha that story about the roommate and the paper towel got me, hilarious!

Libby said...

Right now my special someone and I have a roommate. Talk about everything you listed in your post but times 10. This roommate has been pushing me on the brink of losing my marbles. I haven't come in contact with a girl like this since high school. She has brought out every trait in me that I hate. But I have to remember the small quite moments right?

Thank goodness for change and the ability to move whenever we need too.