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Home / Opinion / Housemate Horrors and Happy Honors

Housemate Horrors and Happy Honors

There ARE Rules… They’re Known as MANNERS

Dear Reader,
What type of housemate are you?
… It matters.
Warmest Regards,
The rest of the house-sharing world.

As a twenty- something- year old, I still share accommodation. Sometimes this is wonderful; sometimes it is not. I guess I still share because I’m too busy eating Avocado and Eggs Benedict Toast to be able to save and afford my own roof and four walls; that’s what some believe. I, on the other hand, one of the people experiencing life as a young Irish person would personally blame it on how us ‘millennials’ have been dealt a rough hand, been given the short end of the stick shall we say. Now, I’m playing my cards as best I can and working hard on proving anything is possible… Please, let this dreamer dream!

My father sometimes takes liberty in reminding me that by the time he was twenty-two or so he owned a house, one he built himself. He understands how life in the ‘80s was different than it is now in the ‘10s and it pains him on my behalf as it does me. Nonetheless, the opportunity for that milestone has passed me right by because when I was twenty-two I was neck deep in student debt, no gift of land from family (small time farmers, callow land… I’m sure some of you can appreciate the struggle!); and to top it all off, I had another year left in college to get my lovely middle class qualification with my working class wage after busting my barney for six years between under-and post-graduate courses.
Many would blame me for achieving only a middle class qualification, and not aiming towards a more affluent qualification, but before jumping to that conclusion, please consider background, ability and interest, and God forbid, that a young one would choose a career that they believe they can engage in and enjoy.

On the housemate front, don’t be afraid if you’re a former housemate of mine, as while I may reveal stories, I won’t reveal names. If I lived with you anyway, you know where we stand. I’m honest, sometimes to a fault. Also, as you read this, let me be the first to admit, I’m far from perfect- I’m merely human, so I just strive to be.

Here are the housemate profiles I’ve been blessed to learn from and love (and sometimes even hate):

The Nut-Job
In an affectionate way, the nut-job is known as so for being, quite simply, bonkers. This is the type of person that may drag you out ‘for one’ and drink you into a slumber as they dance on tables that they may or may not break from dancing so crazily upon!
They’re the wonderful type that inhale the challenges of day-to-day life and exhale a magical energy and reckless joy for life and are full of random surprises and quirks. A loose cannon and a free spirit, the nut-job generally is so consumed by their own agenda that they don’t upset you too much, once you learn to say ‘no’.

Word from the wise; if you are the nut-job, just remind yourself, not everyone is able for your antics as frequently as you are. Take it easy on the tamer ones!
I’ve enjoyed living with my Nut-Jobs. Thanks for the love, the journey and the life you bring to the world!

The Thief
We have all lived with The Thief at some point. We may all even have ‘borrowed’ at some point. The rules here, as the title suggests, link back to simple, basic manners. If your housemate has offered the use of whatever, grand, use it- but be sure to reciprocate. The person on the giving end will soon get tired if they are not receiving too. This goes for food and kitchen ware, TV time, washing detergents, clothes etc. It’s a bit embarrassing that I even have to write this.

Just be a nice human. Don’t assume someone’s kindness- don’t abuse it. They may have no problem at all with you using whatever, but just be sound and ‘okay’ it first. It’s the little basic manners that mean a lot.

If ever there was a niggling quality to a housemate it is The Thief. Stop being unreasonable people! Karma will come and get you.

The Thermometer
Sharing qualities of The Thief in that The Thermometer lacks basic manners and understanding that controlling the heat/ cool levels can be costly to both your wallet and your health. There is always a middle ground. If you’re old enough to live out of your parent’s house, you should be adult enough to realise you live with other people who have different means and needs to you. Some of us are hot blooded creatures, some are cold. It is simply unfair and uncalled-for if you think you can keep the heat on 24/7 or the A.C. blasting all night. I’ve lived in both situations and it’s simply infuriating to the less brazen one, or the one without the controls.
Again, talk about it, ask your housemates, use a hot water bottle, wear shorts. Be fair. Nobody wants to get a chill or feel claustrophobic because of the heat.

The Tight Meanie
Scroungers. Scroungers. Scroungers everywhere! Actually, I’ve been lucky enough to have avoided tight people a lot. I could probably learn from them, as I am like the women in the ad fighting over who pays. “Sure I’ll get it this time” I’d hear my voice say before my mind processed the lack of means and consequences of paying that bill in full or of tossing in the extra ‘few bob’ to ‘be fair’.

The Tight Meanie can very often be the most lovely person otherwise but when they repeatedly rely on you to spot them, or they leave the pub before their round or the ‘next’ time is always their time to pay for the take-away or cinema, or the bins or whatever. The frustration you feel towards The Tight Meanie can drive an awful rift between you both so grow a backbone yourself and say it in a nice way, and if you are The Tight Meanie, cop on to heck! There’s no need for that. Especially when your housemate is most likely well aware of your ability to pay for things they’re too mean to dish out for.

The Threatening One
Perhaps the most dangerous of all, and boy am I happy I escaped the wrath of my Threatening One, or in my case The Threatening Two- two different places, two different years. In my experience, physical size was used against me. Standing just shy of 6ft, not many can tower over me, but when I lived with a 6’ 7” psychopath, I certainly felt small. The squinty eyes, the vindictive hiss when talking, the use of physical space, the broadening of shoulders to square up to me… it’s all very unnecessary in all and any circumstance.
Particularly if it is over a dirty spaghetti pot you expected a female housemate to clean, or an email that wasn’t opened because, guess what, there is more to the world than you and needless emails. Notably, both these individuals, were ignorant to the fact that we no longer live in the 1500’s where women are completely answerable to men. I’m sad to say, some people still live in the dark ages and have yet to open their eyes to basic respect for others.

This is not to say that you may never have come across a female Threatening One, but if you are a Threatening One… check yourself. We live in the 21st century. Each person is an individual, with their own mind and heart. Be respectful. You are not their puppeteer.

The Legend
Of course we all love living with legends. The Legend helps share responsibility. The Legend is chill about your stuff staying in the sink until morning or if you accidentally break a bowl. The Legend is only the best craic on a night out and happy enough for it to go either way- a tame one or a wild one. The Legend is realistic about life and keeps you on the straight and narrow and appreciates when you do it in return for them. They know how to use manners and how to be fair when it comes to expenses and is great at keeping receipts for the bills. Sometimes you may even get jealous that the housemate is outshining you in legend rays, but you love them so much you can’t be bothered to dwell on it for more than a fleeting second. The Legend has got your back.

Everyone should be The Legend. Use manners, be fun, give space (emotional and physical), be decent. Some may even say, you must be from Bray. I beg to differ, I believe we can all be legends.

The Cooking Buddy
I love when I find cooking buddy housemates. I once had a really good one, and it was glorious. Taking charge two days a week each, having a cooking buddy gives much more than food; which even alone would be the best bonus in a housemate you could get!

The Cooking Buddy provides opportunity for friendship to really blossom under the guise of a meal. Those who eat together grow together- they grow in heart and in mass! Having a cooking buddy housemate means you actually spend time with someone in this crazy world on a regular routine basis, you turn into counsellors for each other and can set a standard for delicious grub and a tidy kitchen.

If you find a Cooking Buddy, it’s all winner winner chicken dinner… No pun intended!
The Mammy
I think this is me. I’m the one who knows when to stop drinking (most of the time), and knows when to get a pint of water for the less wiley and the more wild. Some of you may call The Mammy the dry-shite though! The Mammy organises all the bills and contracts, makes sure there is always washing-up liquid beside the sink and washing tablets beside the fabric conditioner for the washing machine.

The Mammy always has too much food in and makes extra for you and stores even more ready-made dinners in the freezer for a rainy day. S/he can magically whip up something out of nothing should there be no food in, for some strange reason. The Mammy generally fusses over the cleaning- even remembering to throw the tea towels, hand towels and couch throw into the wash at the weekend.

The Mammy knows that life is all about balance, and that if your feeling down today, you’ll be up tomorrow. S/he always has an open ear. Appreciate The Mammy; like our own Mammies, even if s/he is a head ache, s/he means well and appreciates the appreciation. Let her know gently if she is being a thorn in the side mind.

Maybe when I’m a forty-something I might be able to afford an over-priced mortgage to rule my own roost and fluff my own feathered pillows, but until then, I may keep my chin up and my head clear along with crossed fingers that I will meet as many more Legends, Cooking Buddies, Mammies and Nut-Jobs as possible. As I cross those fingers, I’ll strive to be the housemate characters just listed… because there is certainly enough Thermometers, Bitches, Threatening Ones, Tight Meanies, Thieves and Creeps out there already!

Article by: Rebecca Egan


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