{stories and snapshots from my new york city life.}


The Torrid Tales of a Formerly Single White Female

Between the ages of 18 and 29, I had 20 different roommates. Twenty. That means that over the years I have been intimately acquainted with the grooming, eating, hoarding, drinking and sexual habits of 20 very unique little snowflakes. Some were good, some were bad, and some were so bad I still get queasy thinking about them.

In college, having roommates was a ball-- a 24-hour, three-ring circus filled with impromptu karaoke parties, giggly pillow fights and a neverending waterfall of ramen noodles. I changed roommates every year and lived with good buddies every time. This was exactly the way our young hassle-free lives were supposed to be lived--we made communal meals and snuggled during movies and curled each other's hair.

We sat on breezy apartment balconies with our feet curled under us, feeling grown-up as we swirled glasses of red and gabbed for hours about our dates, our decisions and our dreams. We didn't bicker about keeping things clean or decorating preferences. We were too young to be too set in our ways. We were flexible and we were fun. We were creating the kinds of memories you look back on at 34 and think, "Damn, those really were the good old days."

Once college was over, the roommate thing took on a different vibe because we all understood that the arrangement was no longer born of desire, but financial necessity. I moved to New York, and left those good buddies behind. I was forced to live with strangers in a very strange town, and that offered up some truly scary possibilities.

What if she steals my stuff?
What if she stays up till 4 in the morning playing Ace of Base every night?
What if she likes to vacuum naked?
What if she tries to kill my boyfriend by copying my haircut, crawling into bed with him and stabbing his eye with her shoe?

What I got instead (and in no particular order) was:

* A neurotic clean-freak who scolded me every time I dropped a crumb, called my boyfriend's house to ask when I'd come home to mop the floors, and flew into an inexplicable rage after I threw away a disposable almond-scented Softsoap bottle that she'd kept for five years because she liked to sniff the empty container.  She also corrected my mother's grammar and routinely burst into my room to show me newly purchased bra and panty sets. While wearing them.

* A hoarder who kept no fewer than six half-eaten jars of peanut butter in his room at all times. Pizza boxes were discarded after they reached knee-height.

* An exhibitionist who liked blow-drying her hair in the nude--one foot propped on the sink and the front door wide open.

* A Wall Street exec who was so busy she made a sex schedule with her boyfriend (every Tuesday, 1 a.m.)

* A nanny who lived full-time with her employers, but rented a room in our apartment so she could have a place to bring guys home to.

* An attention-starved executive assistant who bragged about her affair with her boss, tried to make out with me at bars to lure guys and eventually went on a reality show about...roommates.

* An angry day trader who worked from home and hurled expletives like bombs when his stocks went down.

* A snotty name-dropper from Beverly Hills who never missed an opportunity to remind me that his father produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and his best friend was Monica Lewinsky.

At the time, their idiosyncracies drove me up the wall and I dreamed of the day when I'd no longer have to ask anyone else to pony up their portion of the cable bill. Looking back I am grateful for every kooky habit, every annoying personality trait, because not only do those memories make me laugh deep from my belly in hindsight, they also make me tremendously appreciative of my current (and hopefully last) roommate--a long-haired technical director who tucks me in every night, washes the dishes after every meal and has never once left the toilet seat up.

I can live with that.


  1. I don't have any super-crazy roommate stories. But my friend once lived with a woman who rarely left the couch - she would just watch TV all day long, eating pints of Haagen-Dazs - and who would leave the toilet unflushed, even if (and maybe especially) she had pooped and/or had her period. She was...troubled.

  2. LORD. HAVE. MERCY. GIRL. wow. I would have died. Or killed one of them. BLESS YOU! wth?

  3. Justine--I just threw up in my mouth a little. That story will continue to horrify me all day.

    1. Right?! And then my friend couldn't get the scary roommate to move out so my friend ended up leaving (what was her apartment!).

  4. Hey, I recognize those girls in your first picture! We had some great memories that I’ll never forget and it makes me think back and say we had it pretty good. I guess I probably could’ve cleaned the bathtub more than I did, but hey no one is perfect. Miss you and sounds like you’re doing great!

  5. Holly--you were one of the fun ones I was speaking of! You always made me laugh and I started worrying about hitting publish what old roommates would say about me if they wrote down their horror stories! I know I borrowed your clothes without asking more than once and I'm so sorry about that now!! Hope you're doing great too, sista-friend!

  6. Hahaha! This is great. I feel the same way about past experiences with former coworkers, friends, etc. I'm grateful for all the quirks and less-than-enjoyable scenarios. At the time, it was frustrating and annoying, but in retrospect, it's funny and I'll always have a good story to tell!

  7. i so miss my college roommates! we didn't always get along, but we did have a good time together.

  8. I had roommates in college. Which was enough to put me off having roommates after college. They weren't that bad, most were close friends... But there was one guy who had a weird thing for Disney princess porn (animated). It was... unfortunate.

  9. I feel like we lived parallel lives! Ohh how I miss some of my roomates. And I'm also a Born and raised Texan, but now a Manhattanite!

  10. Heehee, I love your summary thought at the end. It's just what I was thinking. This stuff is always so annoying at the time, but in retrospect, it's awesome to have such wild and crazy stories to tell. :)

  11. This is hilarious. I've had a smaller share of good and bad, and you're right--the memories are worth at least some of the trouble. Thanks for writing this!

  12. The best part of this....In hindsight when you are hanging out with your middle-aged friends. This is the stuff that makes up for great stories. The stories that make you pee your pants because you are laughing so hard.


  13. Those roommates make me ten times happier about mine, who is also hopefully my last.

    Side note: your man is a technical director? That sounds so fun!

  14. I love the nanny who rented a room so she could have a place to bring guys home. That's hilarious!

    At least your overall experience wasn't too bad. And you have a great outlook on the whole thing!

  15. omg i purposely saved this to read at a time when i could commit my undying attention. so worth it.

    ps- roommate 1 sounds alarmingly like me.


  16. There are so many things I love about this post! Dude, Ace of Base...no slamming, please. The part "she also corrected my mother's grammar and routinely burst into my room to show me newly purchased bra and panty sets. While wearing them." slayed me. Did she correct your Mom's grammar whilst parading around in said lingerie? Awesome. Those are proud, proud moments right there for her to look back on. So glad you visited my blog, giving me the opportunity to find yours. I love your writing style and sense of humour. Janita
    ps. I'm also dying to visit New York now...thanks for that. ;)

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