Sunday, February 11, 2007

Romance in the Hallways & Other Roomie Tales

Sooner or later cupid is going to stalk the halls of your cosy shared home and either it’s going to be total bliss or utter hell. While it may be wonderful, loving and supportive for the lovesick roomie, it can have negative effects on the other housemates. And that’s why it’s best to have a few “handling horny housemate” tips on hand.

If the roomie’s main squeeze is showing up every morning at the breakfast table having depleted the hot water tank in a long luxurious shower and then helped themselves to the last drop of milk from the communal fridge, it’s likely that resentments will start to build.

Should the sweetie be there only on rare occasions, then it’s likely that these infringements will be overlooked. However, if they are showing up everyday then you have found yourself in the awkward position of having an unofficial resident, and let me tell you, there’s trouble brewing and it’s not going to be long before a major upset erupts.

One of the main problems with a part-time live-in is that it tends to create a conspiracy of two that excludes others. There is nothing as irritating as feeling that you are an undesirable in your own kitchen while the smitten couple share romantic giggles and whispers at the end of the table when all you want to do is sip your java and peruse the shared accommodations column in the paper.

Additionally when you confront your roomie with some indiscretion of their paramour, you may find that they turn to justifying their lover’s behaviour and possibly even issuing reverse threats. What was originally a relationship with one room-mate has become something quite different. While it is natural that your roomie will tend to align with their sweetheart, it is exactly this kind of alliance that causes cliquing and disrupts the harmony in a shared home.

The source of the problem is due to the fact that a new undeclared arrangement slid under the wire quite literally when everyone was sleeping. And, although you may balk at comparing a roomie’s new hottie with having a pet, there are some similarities. It would be a pretty thick room-mate that could arrive home one day with a newly acquired bull mastiff and assume that nothing would be noticed. Bringing a pet into the household is the sort of action that has an impact on everyone and therefore is subject to the Shared Living Law of “we have to talk about this”.

Similarly, there comes a time when it is necessary to discuss the changing living arrangements with the other roomies. A good idea would be to share this with your housemates at your monthly house meeting or to call an impromptu chat with this topic on the agenda.

“Roseanne is going to be around the house more often and I would like your blessing. What can we do so that everyone is more comfortable with her being here?” This would be an excellent opening line from a very conscious roomie. “I’m doodling Lloyd and that’s it,” would probably go over less well.

Naturally it’s the impact on the household that will make the difference. If the sweetie in question is chipping in financially for the extra costs of hot water and shared food, then there are likely to be fewer issues.

There may also be security issues. In our house, only room-mates have keys or know the password for the house alarm system. Guests are welcome, but it is expected that they are never left alone in the house, primarily because without a key and password they cannot lock the house when they leave.

Guests – even regular guests – are not the same as housemates and are therefore should not participate in household policy making unless agreed to by everyone.

Next week I’ll talk about what to do when the spark of romance ignites between two roomies.