I read a wonderful blog post from Lisa DeCanio last week on why she couldn’t live with a co-ed roommate. It got me thinking about my past living situations, and I realized that I’ve never actually had a successful female roommate experience yet. They’ve all started off well enough, but usually ended up with someone setting the other persons worldly possessions on fire or a fist fight.
Is it me? Am I that much of a nightmare to live with that I should just live alone? (Hint: most likely) I’ve lived with plenty of men, and none of those situations ended with a police escort on moving out day. It must be something about my personal tastes clashing with the same sex.
I decided to break down some of the reasons why a woman like myself can’t possibly live with another female. Keep in mind, I’m a little out there – but so are lots of people.
Common Interests: This may be because I’m a tomboy, but I’ve always had a hard time getting interested in some of the more girly aspects in life. Yes, I’ve tried to wear make up and a tight shirt like my other female friends when I’m up in the club. Unfortunately it usually ends up with running, ugly makeup (I’m a sweater), and a night ruined because I’m too busy trying to suck in my gut wearing a shiny shirt that’s a size too small. Give me a roommate that I can sit down and talk about video games with while in sweatpants, and I’m the happiest girl in the world.
Judge others as you would yourself: Most women I know tend to judge others critically; which if you’re my roommate, being judgy could be a full time job. I like to do some weird stuff when in my own home. None of my male roommates have ever made a catty comment about me hitting the peanut butter jar with a spoon at 11 pm or singing show-tunes in the shower.
Gender roles aren’t always a bad thing: Guess what? I can’t fix a clock or DVD player to save my life, but I am obsessive about a dirty toilet. If I clean a bathroom, then I know that it’s clean enough for my standards. It’s all about setting boundaries on day one and making sure everyone is doing their fair share; not about unintentionally getting into some weird mom or wife role.
Passive Aggressive Princess: Before you jump down my throat about me making sweeping sexist statements about the female race, let me clarify. I tend to be the passive aggressive one. I’m personally much more comfortable calling a guy out for something I’m unhappy with than women. My past experiences with men have been being able to air my grievances, talking about both sides point of view, and then hugging it out. I just can’t seem to do that with women, I hold it in and spite myself out of a healthy household.
Being comfy in your surroundings: Farting? Yep, ladies do it. Speaking like a sailor 99% of the time? It happens. I’d much rather be farting around (get it?!) in a towel around someone who wouldn’t notice that 5 lbs I gained over the holiday break; then to worry about what people may hear about my bad habits though gossip. I can’t speak for all men, but the ones I lived with were never attracted to me or judgmental about the way I looked (at least not to my face, so I was comfortable being myself in my own home).
Don’t hook up: Getting too involved in any roommates life is asking for trouble. Yes, you may be besties…but how long until you get sick of each other? If you’re stopping yourself from living with the opposite sex because you’re nervous of getting feelings or a drunken random hook up is crazy. Hey guess what? Don’t let it happen! Again, it’s all about the boundaries; set them and don’t cross them. If you’re getting black out drunk enough that you’re concerned you may hit the hay with your co-ed roommate, then you may have a bigger issue at hand (yes, giving any advice on moderation on my end is the pot calling the kettle black…but it’s true).
Any roommate can be a nightmare to live with, and it all comes down to personal preference and good communication between you both. The key to a successful roommate experience is to set boundaries on day one and communicate effectively the entire time; even when it’s a uncomfortable subject. There are pre-screeing services out there like Roomiematch.com that can help you find someone to live with. I’d suggest in your roommate pre-screen to make sure you ask about the typical stuff, but also be brutally honest. If you just can’t make yourself do the dishes for three days after you cooked, tell them! Ask for references from previous roommates, and if they don’t want to give you any then red flags should be going up. eHow.com has a good article on all the things to look for when finding a roommate. Good Luck, you’ll need it! Sharing a living space with anyone will always take some hard work to have it be a successful and positive experience.
11 thoughts on “Living With the Same Sex – Is It Even Possible?”
this post is all sorts of sexist and judgy. the truth is, everyone is different and can get along if you play nice with others, and having roommates doesn’t have to be a nightmare if you’re mature enough to be able to identify and surround yourself with the right kind of people. Most of my roommate conflicts happened early on when I was younger and less experienced in managing expectations and shared spaces.
I now live with a roommate and we are both also avid travelers, couchsurfers, hosts, airbnb’ers. ie we share living spaces with the randomest peoples and usually with no trouble at all. Screening people takes experience and practice. I don’t know if there is an algorithm for this, because it’s subject to mutual trust and understanding. The better you are at interacting with people IRL, the better your chances of finding and experiencing better living situation with other people. If you’re not a people person, fly solo.
You’re 100% right it was judgy, though I will disagree with you about the sexist part (both men and women can be equally terrible to be around; this post was in response to why another blogger couldn’t live with men, so I focused on the other sex). This post was an opinion piece based on my personal experience as a young renter. I made a point to be clear in there that these issues were based on my personal opinions and preferences, not hard facts. I also mentioned a few times in there that I was the one with some of terrible traits I mentioned. I would never in a million years tell anyone to not live with a certain sex because of the way I feel about it.
I do agree with you that most of those experiences usually do happen when you’re less experienced in the game of life. Had I known how to communicate better with people at the time and be a little more self conscious about others around me, my roommate experiences wouldn’t have been so insane.
I would love to do a calculator on this topic, but like you said, it’s based on mutual trust and understanding, not hard numbers.
Apologies in advance for making another comment about sexism when I’m sure you’d rather talk about renting. But, I agree with the above commenter.
This post is comes off as saying how most girls you know are just so annoying, but you’re not like those silly fools. THEY are just obsessed with weight, going to the club, and cattily judging each other. But not you, YOU are more like a man, you’re smart enough to have real conversations and not be shallow.
It might be just your personal opinion, but your personal opinion is kind of sexist.
And if, as you say, this is just your completely personal experience and not at all intended to be generalized to anyone else, then why is it on a blog that basically exists to give advice to people? And why are the bold headings in the imperative? That doesn’t make any sense.
Feel free to agree away, and as I stated before this was in response to a very tongue in cheek blog post from another blogger whom I love to read. Both Lisa and I chose a side of the fence and wrote our feelings about it.
The Splitwise blog was never just about giving advice, that is just one of many types of articles we publish. We do research, technology, humor and opinion posts (those last two being what this post was). Next time I do a tongue in cheek piece, I’ll make sure to point that out right away so no one misinterprets my opinion or humor as fact or advice.
We’re getting to a point where we can’t say bad things about X, or else we’re Xist. Which is, IMO, ridiculous. I could have written this article. I’d rather work with, and live with, men. Women I’ve lived and worked with, with a few exceptions, were way to emotionally volatile for me to deal with. I’m already contributing to that factor, I don’t need it multiplied.
Saying “All women are emotionally volatile and annoying” could be construed as sexist – whereupon I meet a woman and assume she is those things before I get to know her at all, and don’t try and correct that assumption, evidence to the contrary. Saying “in general the women I have lived with were harder to deal with than the men I have lived with, and this I will (like a smart monkey) learn from my experience and choose to live with male roommates, with whom I have had far fewer problems” is called being smart, not sexist.
As for judgy? Yes, and the author copped to that. I can deal with judgy as long as it’s admitted judginess. Lord knows I’m judgy! People need to stop painting EVERYTHING as sexism. Krikey.
This seems unnecessarily condescending. Neither of the above critical remarks seem especially hair-trigger or extreme in nature. If this is an advice blog, then opinion pieces are theoretically presented to foster discussion, right? Well, the people who want to discuss this are uncomfortable with some of the presentation. They’re allowed, it turns out.
If the piece isn’t up for discussion, maybe it’s better suited to a more personal context. If it is up for discussion, maybe we can all take a deep breath and discuss, rather than dismiss.
I apologize if I came across as condescending. But when the sum total of the replies was “hey that’s SEXIST”, and it’s by definition kind of not, it’s frustrating! How does one fight actual for-real sexism if every criticism becomes mislabeled as sexism?
I think what Tara’s getting at is that we need to make a little room for people to express their ideas. Nellie tripped all over herself explaining how her experiences are not meant to be generalizations. She even writes “before you jump down my throat…” Let’s take her at her word that she’s not trying to reinforce oppressive gender roles.
Even as someone academically and personally familiar with issues in gender and sexuality, it’s my experience that MOST people still generally adhere to traditional gender identities, myself included. The distinctions between genders and the generalizations we make about them may not be strictly accurate, but they can still be useful. As long as we’re not using them to judge individuals by how they conform to their traditional gender assignment, this isn’t problematic.
Nellie rejects some aspects of her traditional gender role, preferring to let one rip when she feels like it and play video games (a historically–but increasingly less so–male dominated pass time). She also embraces some. She’s not saying all women are meticulous toilet scrubbers but can’t fix clocks, just that she happens to conform with gender expectations in those areas. Anyway, Ari, I agree with Tara that your and some of the other responses to this post are definitely erring on the side of dogmatic obsession.
As for my own experiences as a cis man, I can say that I have always preferred living with women. I am certainly not the picture of masculinity. While I am hetero, love video games and football, am direct, argue loudly, and will jump at any opportunity to bust out my tools, I also love watching ballet, sometimes tear up at compelling movies, and squeal with joy when I hear Regina Spektor on the radio. Most cis men have been judgmental about my lack of uniform masculinity, and I have come to feel uncomfortable expressing those aspects of myself around them. The women I’ve known and lived with have never criticized me for those things, and I feel more comfortable in my home because of this. I still fart when I want, but I don’t catch flak for dancing in the living room.
Of course I’ve known other men who don’t fully conform to the masculine standard, and I’ve lived with a couple of them for short periods. They have been somewhat successful, but, to be honest, those experiences made me miss having the curtains my female roommates had hung instead of towels, a sanitary bathroom, and the opportunity to get the other side’s dating advice…
Tara, I think you and I could be successful roommates, let’s move in together!
Hah! Best ever. You guys would have an awesome house of awesomeness.
Or complete chaos, either way it’d be exciting.