It’s that time again! Whether or not you have finalised your house arrangements for next year, you are likely to be living with at least one person you have never co-habited with before. No matter how fond you are of your housemates-to-be, shacking up with them can open a whole Pandora’s box of potentially horrifying habits you’d never thought anyone could be capable of in the 21st century.
These can range from the simply intriguing, to those which have the capacity to end your friendship forever. I have been fortunate this year in avoiding the latter; even the nights lying awake listening to my housemate using her hair dryer as an in-bed fan heater, more horrified by the image of the electricity meter ticking up than that of her being cooked during the night, hasn’t put me off living with her next year… Someone who knows how to make your perfect cuppa outweighs the associated fire hazard they bring to the mix.
A common annoyance of the single (or long-distance relationship) housemate is that of someone’s other half constantly being around. “Yes, it’s fantastic that your girlfriend lives in the same city as you, but she did not contribute to this month’s loo roll bill!” In halls this was never such an issue; my friend managed to have her boyfriend move from Wales and into her single bed for the entire time she was there without UoN ever finding out; I was extremely impressed by this economical option! But when you find yourself making a tally chart of how many free showers they have in your house it becomes an entirely different kettle of fish.
“A common annoyance of the single (or long-distance relationship) housemate is that of someone’s other half constantly being around”
I have a long list of experiences of bad shared bathroom etiquette. However, the site of the most disturbing habits is likely to be the kitchen. The possibilities of what can go on in the fridge are endless, and I thought I had seen it all until I read Marie Kondo’s An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying. Full of many helpful tips on how to de-clutter and organise small spaces, I was ready to recommend this book to my more ‘free-spirited’ housemates. I then stumbled across Kondo’s suggestion of what to do with kitchen waste: ‘I have never kept my kitchen scraps out in a container. Consequently, my kitchen never smells like raw garbage. So what do I do with the kitchen scraps? I keep them in my freezer.’ WHAT?! The bin… In the freezer!? Can you imagine getting home from Crisis, rummaging through the chaos that is a shared student freezer’s drawers, innocently looking for a snack, and in your inebriated state ending up microwaving someone else’s food waste?! You can’t conceive the kind of madness the people you know are capable of, and trust me, one of you out there will have a housemate who, if they cast their little eco-friendly eyes over this chapter, will think it’s a smashing idea. If you ever see them reading this book, throw it away immediately.
I feel as though I am being a little too hard on my housemates, they are all lovely really and I should be thankful none of them have tried to put their pizza crusts and carrot peelings in the freezer. I was myself at risk of becoming the housemate from Hell when I seriously considered sneaking my cat in to live with me even after one of the boys told me he was severely allergic… I would have stocked up on antihistamines and occasionally slipped him one to avoid any potential anaphylactic shock. But in the end my stringent moral compass got the better of me. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t have been as ambitious as the story of the girl with the pony, which I’m sure anyone who has connections with someone who came to UoN around a decade ago will have heard. A girl’s father was moving out of their home in Hereford and into the centre of Birmingham, so he could no longer keep her Miniature Icelandic Pony. She was so adamant he wouldn’t go to another home that she brought Thor, in the dead of night, to her student house in Lenton and moved him into her bedroom. Apparently the biggest issue wasn’t Thor’s unpredictable toileting needs, but the fact that she got him up the stairs and couldn’t get him back down. Thor just couldn’t get on with central heating, and so the girl had to keep her bedroom radiator off and windows thrown open throughout the winter months to maintain the beast at a proper temperature.
Whatever you come across next year, just be thankful you don’t have to be as understanding as her housemates were!