The potential hazards of house sharing
So, apparently there’s something about me that screams ‘potential housemate’. Maybe it was the make-shift rain cape I’d fashioned out of my cardigan. Nothing says ‘she’ll do her washing up’ like forgetting an umbrella and improvising with woollen clothing.
Whatever the reason, the other day I had a strange encounter. As I was rushing manically through Alcuin to hand in an essay, with a dripping wet cardigan over my head and face, I noticed some people were paying quite a lot of attention to me. Fair enough, I thought. I’d probably judge me too. But as I got closer, I heard them mutter ‘Ask her, ask her!’ So I ground to a halt. IT WAS SUNNY WHEN I SET OFF, OK? I was about to shout, when they hit me with something quite strange. Much stranger than head gear with sleeves.
‘Are you looking for somewhere to live next year?’ one of them asked, ‘because we need a roommate, if you’re interested.’ I wasn’t. But it was an interesting proposal. I ascertained that to approach a complete stranger they must have been quite desperate, so I explained where to check online and that most colleges host housing events, and that seemed to assuage their panic slightly.
But in all seriousness, housemates are not something you should choose on a whim. You might love somebody to bits, but once you’ve watched them pick their own toenails, your relationship changes irrevocably. If you’re a 1st year about to embark on joint housing, there are certain things of which you need to be aware.
- Toilet roll. Some people use a strange amount of toilet roll. Who knows what they do with it, or where they even put it. But it vanishes. At a very rapid rate. So buy your own and just hoard it on your room.
- Boys like football. Your mum might be on Eggheads. She might be singing at the Queen’s Jubilee concert. But if you think this is tantamount to absolutely any football that could ever possibly be televised, you are wrong. Your mum is rubbish.
- Nobody washes tea towels. The more they need to be washed, the less people are willing to wash them alongside their clothes. They’re an evil paradox of germs.
- Some people think 9am is a reasonable hour to get out of bed and start loudly living their lives.
- Majority rules with regards to group fun. If 4 people out of 5 want a night out, it doesn’t matter if you have an exam the next day. Better suck it up and just go to the library.
- 20 year old men are not as handy round the house as you would expect them to be. If a light bulb runs out, you’re faced with the dilemma of actually having to change it yourself. And you’ll probably find that absolutely nobody knows how. God forbid you find yourself needing to bleed a radiator. (Anyone even know what that means..?)
- Not everyone likes it if you invite the neighbourhood cat in for milk and cuddles. Some people have allergies.
Reflecting on my strange proposal, maybe living with strangers would be the smarter option. If you don’t have a relationship in the first place, there’s nothing to spoil. You have no preconceptions; no ideas that can be proved wrong. Also, the less comfortable someone is around you, the less likely they are to use your plates and leave them to go mouldy in the middle of the living room floor.
Which is really, really annoying.