Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Ten ways to a good roommate

By Stephen Smysnuik

Living with roommates is a bummer because it generally means having to live with people we can't sleep with. Few people will readily resign to the deficiencies humans are known for if sex isn't available as a reward for putting up with them.

So, yeah, living with people is a bummer. In order to ease the burden I've spent hours poring over ancient texts relating to home-sharing, from Mayan scheduling for taking out the garbage to Roman philosophies on how to deal with foul-smelling roommates. It's true.

This painstaking research has been to provide you, the Good People of Whistler, with 10 rules to live by that will make you not only a decent person to live with but, by extension, a decent human being.

1) Do the dishes: This is the cardinal rule. If there's one thing that breeds resentment in roommates, it's letting the dishes stack in the sink. They're crusted with

food, people! They attract flies in the summer and cause smells that no human

paying $775 per month should have to live with. Wash your dishes as soon as you're finished with them. If you're too lazy to do this one simple task, well, maybe you shouldn't exist.

2) No parties on a school night: We all like the occasional 2 a.m. living-room dance party but it's unfair to subject your roommates to this behaviour if they have to work in the morning. Friday nights/nights of mutual days off are fine - that's the cross we bear for having to live with people. But on a Tuesday night? With five to eight other people carrying on? With Kool and the Gang soundtracking the shenanigans? Not cool.

3) No loud sex: This will be a tough rule to follow for all the Don Juans in town but it's important to test pre-coitus just how thin your walls are. Sound will travel to other rooms and other people will be subjected to your impassioned noise making. This is awkward for everyone concerned, especially the lonely.

4) Respect the bathroom: It gets very crowded in there, meaning a lot of grit and grime (at the very least, if you're lucky) very quickly. This is typically an unpleasant experience for everyone concerned. Clean often and create a chart for who does what when, so everyone has equal opportunity to avoid the most unsavoury of tasks. And light a match once you've had your way with it, for chris'sake.

5) Share condiments BUT: only if you add to the condiment selection. Everything else in the fridge is off limits. Unless, of course, you bought it/made it, then you can eat it. But if it's growing fur, it's your responsibility to make sure it doesn't come back to life.

6) Clean up after yourself: It's essentially the same thing as doing your dishes.

No one wants to sit in a room decorated with your old socks or eat off a table peppered with your marijuana crumbs, however enthusiastic we may be about these assorted items. It's simple and decent to put your belongings in their appropriate places. It's easy, regardless of how stoned you might be.

7) Ask about having outsiders stay over: Note, it's uncool to have someone
stay over for longer than a week straight, even if it's in your room. It's off base to even ask. If you plan on having someone over for one night, no need to say anything (unless your roommate is a real stickler). If they plan on staying two, it's important to let everyone in the house know ahead of time. If more than one person is staying over, even for one night, the same rule applies. And ALWAYS inform your guests which door the bathroom is, lest some serious awkwardness should occur.

8) Communicate: Don't leave notes. Avoid passive aggressive anything. If you have a problem with someone, tell them, but don't be aggressive. It's easier said than done but if everyone lets their resentment fester, it compounds and explodes in typically dramatic and unappealing terms.

9) Wear clothing: You may think your abdominal muscles will weaken the knees of

all the ladies but they won't. It's actually an unseemly nuisance especially if you're hairy and spend most of your time in the kitchen.

10) Use common sense: Don't have any? Find some. It's readily available. Some examples: Buy paper towels when they're all done. Clean the counter if it's dirty. Take out the garbage if it's over-flowing with the week's Ramen noodle packages. Vacuum. Don't be the resident slob in the house because if you are, no one will love you. You'll be regarded with scowls and won't be invited to parties, even if they're thrown in your own home.

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