The roomie challenge

By Camy Roch

There we go again: New start, new city, new flat… followed by the cortege of new roomies that comes along. Cohabitation has its ups and downs. It can be a drag or result in damn good laughs. You just have to make the best of it…


What society tries to make you think ‘cohabitation’ is…

Call it luck or lack of financial resources to support any form of independent accommodation, over the years I have had the opportunity to share several apartments. Since January, I collected 5 different roommates, and incidentally crashed two guest families. With each time more or less success. Some say sharing a flat is an experience from which you’ll gain life lessons. I don’t know about life lessons, but it’s true I learned a lot: How to complete dishes within 24h; How to be away from the house on garbage’s day; How to deal with various personalities and psychological issues…


What’s ‘cohabitation is likely to turn to be…

Thing is, to live happily with your roommates, you have to pick well. Which leads us to an existential question: How to best choose your roomies?


See here, the poor guy poorly chose his roommates…

Remember, the key to a peaceful cohabitation is to know what you want and do not want. Always put your own interests first. In brief, find what suit you. Yes, it’s a bit like choosing a pet or a new smartphone… Just trust your instinct. The first encounter may be as short as 5 or 10 minutes, so you’d better be ready with some ideas about what the next months of your life should look like. Feel like living on the edge? Play smooth and move in without having met anyone!

To help you perform a choice in the roomies’ jungle that’s out there, here are some truth-based characters I experienced sharing apartments with. The following is in no way an attempt to assess those people. Like I’d ever dare! No, this is a mere TRIBUTE to my former roommates, whom I happened to cherish a lot.

The Nerd

You suck at technological stuff, at life in general, and your social life is a complete wreck? Go for the computer science student. That’s already a few things in common! If you’re as lucky as me, and your new friend happens to come from China, even better. You may get spring rolls on top of the rest! (No dirty jokes allowed.) You’re already some kind of roomie’s Master? Good! Make sure the guy is comfortable on both, Mac and PC. Not only you’ll get an ass-kicking connection but he may also help you solving inopportune problem. Vested interests go first, I said.

The Bestie

There are plenty of advantages to live with your best friend. You know the person, Besties know you and you probably manoeuvre within the same circle of friends, making unannounced dinner and drinks less awkward. Besties are like family, so they’ll do services, like lending tobacco, money or baking you cookies. But same as with family, proximity somewhat rhymes with danger. For sure at some point you won’t be able to bear each other. Without mentioning the looting of your wardrobe and the up-to-now missing clothes that were ‘just borrowed’.


The Paramedic Student

Ideal choice for all hypochondriacs and introverts. They study a lot, have tons of exams and won’t bother at all. Besides, we nowadays live a life where the probabilities you end up burning pan, meal and cooker remain dangerously high. Paramedic students will be there to rescue you. In the meanwhile, you’ll ensure some fun time and dinner shows with live survival exercises taking place in the living room. See a guy lying unconscious on the ground, surrounded by a crowd questioning his well-being? Keep cooking, don’t you bother. Paramedic student and colleagues are repeating exams.

The Hippie Drug dealer

Days of Great Hunger are finally over! A drug dealer crashing at your place strongly implies you never be short of anything. You don’t seem to see the problem here? Yet the answer lies in the premises. Premium access is rarely free of charge. Meaning you may find yourself – damn high yes – but stupidly broke, sooner than you think. What’s more, be aware of societal evolution. General clichés of weird-smelling dreadlocker hippies are nowadays doubled up with 50kg moulting Rottweiler and loud experimental Russian Psycore. But, I guess here the risk is what creates the reward, so ‘keep your enemy close and your dealer even more’.


The Practising Muslim during Ramadam’s month

Particularity applicable during that specific period: not only you may be invited to share an amazing meal after a harsh day of fasting, but when coming back at night wasted, you also have someone up to chat with. Keep it low with the expectations though! There are few chances that person becomes your 3AM new drinking buddy. But you may still learn some very interesting stuff about the roots of Mouride Brotherhood and the life of the Prophet. To a larger extent, don’t expect too much from that roommate during daytime of the very same period. It’s likely he’ll be sleeping to recover. Still practical in case you forgot your keys, notebook or simply feel like a powernap in the middle of the day. There will be someone to open the door for you.

The Crazy Bitch

Crazy bitches are boundless sources of entertainment. Throwing pistachios at strangers through the window, making fun of the girl next-door, learning how to bike or repetitive bitching about fat ugly couple upstairs: they’re the perfect partners in crime. Crazy bitches are also often victims of random incidents that may divert you for a while – falling in the stairs or getting lost. Crazy bitches are fun and mischievous as long as they don’t direct their mad fury against you. This is when you’d stop laughing. So be aware of the risks and do not upset them, for fear of finding your cooking equipment in the common container or your belongings plastered with tooth pasta.

Having roomies is a somewhat good compromise between couple life and family. The big plus being here to avoid any form of proximity pressure, endless fights or the prospective you’ll be FOREVER TIGHT WITH’EM !!!

They also represent the perfect allies to cope with a situation you may face at some point of your life: Single, Unemployed and Lazy. Thus, roommates will help you coping with the  ‘Stuffs-you-don’t-want-to-do-but-really-have-to’. So send them off to the shop to buy you beers, or food. Leave the dishes in the sink until they carry out. Dispatch small signs in the house for them to complete the tasks you don’t feel comfortable with. Placing the unblocking product next to the sink until they move into action is therefore one of my favourite!

Roommates are fun! Just find out what pisses yours off!!

Roommates are fun! Just find out what pisses yours off!!

Roomies are endless source of amusement and no matter how crazy they may drive you, bear in mind that un-friending them for good on Facebook always remains the ultimate revenge option.

So go ahead, run in the wild, pick a roomie and live happy!

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