more on my new living arrangement
I had training for this. This isn’t something that is new to me. I’m not shocked. I’m not scared. I’m not uncomfortable. But I’m suddenly living in a house with two boy humans and two boy cats. I am the only shred of femininity in this entire apartment. I think I’m winning, but I still wake up every day and am reminded that I’m living in boyzone.
But yes, I am prepared. In college I had a boyfriend who lived with three other boys. Because I wanted to be with my boyfriend and dorm curfews declared that unacceptable, I quite often found myself staying over at the boy’s place.
There were two bedrooms in the apartment. Two boys per room. They slept on mattresses pulled from couch-beds on the floor. They each had a sheet. That was about it for bedding. Cigarettes littered the floor, mixed with underwear, scripts and empty packs of cigarettes. The rooms were covered in posters for films (one worked at a Blockbuster, another used to work at a movie theater). There were (thankfully) two bathrooms. The one I used remained mostly clean, as the boy who roomed with my boyfriend either didn’t shower or didn’t shower at the apartment.
I could go into the nasty part of this living arrangement– the sleeping in a room with another naked snoring boy right next to you as he played Peter Gabriel’s Passion at full volume, masturbated and then fell asleep with a mighty snore. I could go into all of the holes in the walls that were the size of other roommates’ bodies. I could mention the tables filled with trash, the broken front window, the fact that there were six couches in the living room and a stereo. I could mention that the kitchen was used as a giant trash receptacle, only to be cleaned out when the trash filled the floor of the kitchen and threatened to reach into the “dining room”– a small corner that was used for more trash holding and the “guest couch,” which was always filled with some crashing student. I could discuss the empty fridge, the hidden stove, the fact that there was only one lamp in the entire place. I could talk about life with those boys and how there eventually came a day where they didn’t care that there was a “lady present” and picked themselves, aired gas and discussed sex stories as if I was just another boy that lived there. I could discuss all of those things, but they aren’t important here. What I learned from that experience was not only how to live with boys, but how to live with boys well. The main rule of living with four different boys when you only sleep with one? Leave them alone. Don’t mother them or clean their things. Don’t cook for them. Don’t ever let them think that you’re going to take care of them or they’ll have you making cookies while they play Playstation all night long. Keep your independence and guard any food you bring into the apartment. Don’t leave your bras all over the place. It makes them uncomfortable.
This apartment was made for a boy. There are no electrical outlets in the bathroom. The bathtub, which I can only assume is good for hand washing clothing and shaving your legs, has no privacy at all and sits right next to the draft under the door. The shower is incredible. It has three shower heads and you can control the water pressure and temperature. There is only one small place to hold things in the shower– one small soap dish. You simply cannot shave your legs in that thing. There is plenty of storage space in there, which is great. And I’ve already taught Ray rule #1 about living with a girl: you can never have too much toilet paper.
This place is also made for the tall. The tall boy. In the kitchen there are shelves at least four feet out of my reach. I’ll never be able to reach my crock-pot or the wine glasses. They’re dead to me. I can’t even reach on top of the fridge. The floor in the kitchen becomes instantly black from just one footprint. There is hardly any space under the sink, so a proper trashcan isn’t really possible. You end up having a bag of trash sitting in front of the fridge. There is no dishwasher and the world’s smallest microwave. This is a kitchen made for a man that wants a TV dinner.
People stop by all the time. This is something I don’t really have a problem with (as I wrote this sentence another friend just rang the doorbell) but the main rule that comes from this is “You can never be naked again.” Clothes are worn at all times. Clothes from the shower to the bedroom. Because I keep the bedroom door open at night for the cats, clothes are worn constantly in bed as well. That and we don’t have drapes in the bedroom yet, so our upstairs neighbors get the Pamie Butt Check every single morning on their way to work.
When you light a candle, the entire apartment marvels at your ability to make the place smell nice.
You have to have a more laid-back attitude about your belongings, your food, your clothing. You must be on guard for fighting cats, snoring men and the occasionally dropped razor blade. The seat will never ever ever ever ever be found down again. There are more pee stains on things than you can believe. You will never be clean again. The phone rings all of the time. They never answer the phone. There are piles of newspaper that they are constantly “going to read soon.” The mail threatens to fall over like the end of a Jenga game. Something important is always lost. Large shoes trip you in the hallway. There are strange pieces of “art.” There is beer. There is a lot of beer.
But, you’re the one girl and you get some GirlAllowances that they don’t get. You don’t have to worry about someone borrowing your underwear. They don’t want to have anything to do with your CD’s. They let you have the television, for the most part. They are very happy when you finally do decide to cook. They are stunned when a cup of coffee makes you have to clean the entire house to feel satisfied. They are grateful that you remember to buy cleaning products, and they are even happier when they see you know how to use them. They offer car help, computer help, and are always ready to go into the basement to lay more cords through the house to make your Internet connection faster, cleaner and safer. You never have to lift anything heavy. If you’ve planned it correctly, you also never have to take out the trash, do a load of laundry or make a beer run ever again.
I’ve placed a few girlie elements around this place. Out on the porch is a copy of Bitch magazine. There are stuffed animals somewhere in this house (It’s a secret). There is a plant by the kitchen. Cats run all over the furniture. Candles burn at night and there are usually clean towels. Guests will find themselves with both pillows and a blanket each. There are several clocks and lots of soap. There is the sound of giggling in the house. Even some singing. The sense of girl is strong here.
But every morning when I strain to reach my coffee cup, I’m reminded that this isn’t a place built for me. It’s a place that I’m making accept me. I can survive in boyland. In fact, I think I can even improve it.