Remember when you were, like, two weeks away from moving into your dorm freshman year, and your biggest worry is “will my roommate be a tool?" I remember those days. Well, in the days before Facebook, you had no idea if housing paired you with the coolest person ever or a person who you would somehow contract scabies from. It was pretty scary shit. I was lucky. My freshman year roommate was a saint. And I lived with my best friends the next three years. We had our moments, but all were easily snuffed out with a quick talk and a couple beers at Bentley’s.
Post college living is no different. Moving in with someone at any age can be a huge pain in the ass: Everyone has their own living habits, their own shady behind-closed-doors behavior. It’s a matter of balancing those habits with a little normalcy, understanding and respect. Some people get lucky, and some people get Hedy from "Single White Female." It really can be a terrifying crap shoot of either ending up with a new best friend, or possibly requiring a restraining order to get pairs of your underwear back.
When I moved into my UES apartment in 2011, I was extremely lucky. I moved in with my two good friends who happened to be brother and sister. They were living in a gorgeous three-bedroom duplex and needed a third when their other brother moved out. I was so stoked that they were giving me the opportunity to break out of my mom’s house, I did everything I could to be a good roommate. My bartending schedule meant I wasn’t home at night so my friends and I had space from each other. It was a great situation. We all pulled our weight, kept the apartment clean, and had a great time together.
When Craig announced that he would be moving in with his girlfriend in June, I got stressed. I didn’t know if it would be easy to replace Craig, but I knew Michelle and i loved our apartment and didn't want to move. But after posting a note on Facebook, I got a couple hits and we seemed to find someone who sounded great.
Clearly, I had been spoiled with Craig. Ten long months later, I have learned some valuable lessons about roommates. Here are five sure signs you’re a shitty roommate, especially if you're a guy living with chicks.
5. You’re taking my food.
Are you taking food from the fridge you didn’t buy? Don’t remember going to Gristedes and picking up that box of Uncrustables that you’re destroying? THEN DON’T TAKE IT. Since I work in a restaurant and they feed me, I rarely have “food food” in my apartment. Occasionally I’ll splurge and order some stuff if I have a light schedule that week, but for the most part all I usually have at home to cook with is pasta, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. It's a good staple if I don’t ever eat at work and want a quick bite or I come home drunk and the place down the street is closed. It's also something simple I can cook without setting myself/the apartment on fire. I’m not Iron Chef over here. So when one of the three things I always have in the fridge go missing, it’s obvious. Especially if it’s not replaced after a week or two. I’m fine with roommates borrowing things if I have a lot and I’m not going to finish it or if they replace it in a timely matter. Ask and ye shall receive. But using the excuse, “in my last apartment we just shared everything” isn’t going to fly when you just take shit without asking and don’t replace it. When you are simply taking my food and bringing nothing to the table but one package of ramen and saved soy sauces from Chinese food delivery, that’s not “sharing” that’s mooching. Don’t take my shit, especially without asking. We don’t live in communist China, and my shit ain’t your shit. If you’re taking your roommates food without asking or replacing, you’re a shitty roommate.
4. You’re taking my booze.
Who really wants to be “that guy”. That moocher who thinks they’re such a great drunk that people buy the booze specifically for them? We had a situation with our roommate where he felt the need to sample all of my third roommate’s alcoholic purchases. And by sample, I mean kill. She once offered him a glass of Macallan 12 she had bought to keep in the apartment because one of her friends liked to drink it. The next day, he apparently took her offer of one glass as “kill the bottle buddy!" I’m not even kidding, the WHOLE bottle, GONE. Never mentioned it to Michelle. She just happened to realize 24/25ths of the bottle were gone and through the power of deduction came to the realization that it wasn't me who drank it.
When it was replaced nearly four weeks later after an e-mail regarding “apartment sharing”, he had friends over and I came up at one in the morning to find one of them in my kitchen. This is the discussion that took place:
“Is this yours?” he said, holding up the bottle of scotch.
“No, it’s our roommate Michelle’s."
“Oh, well Chris said we could have some."
Funny, it’s not Chris’s to give away. A few weeks later, while Michelle was in the living room, Chris was doling out her bottle of Firefly vodka to his friends, going so far as to her ask her if she’d like some of her own liquor. Michelle finally confronted him about it. Instead of asking him to replace is, she simply asked for the cash – because he would just buy it and drink it again weeks later. We contemplated moving the booze into our rooms, but then realized we aren’t 20 or in college and we don’t have an RA and shouldn’t have to hide our liquor in our fucking closets. We stopped buying it all together. I’m looking forward to the day I can put a bottle of liquor in the kitchen again and get more than just the whiff of it as someone else drinks it. Are you taking your roomies alcohol without permission? You’re a shitty roommate. And also, you are a really obnoxious drunk.
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