i'm getting really, really close to that point where i'll actually move. into an apartment. on my own.
panic and excitement are mixing in a strange cocktail and i've taken to pinning copious amounts of all-white rooms to pinterest and googling whether or not ikea furniture can be painted.
my dear friend alisha put together a hilarious rant on why living alone is the bees-knees (she's been living "alone" for quite some time with the man she'll call her husband before the year is out). i happen to think alisha is the bees-knees...
(also, it should be noted that alisha's opinions often depart from my own. for example, i actually quite like cats. and also, that i myself, have been the annoying-terrible-no-good-roommate more times than i care to count, though not alisha's roommate, that could've been fun).
On Roommates, and Not Having Them.
Living alone is the bees knees. No, let me be clear. It is the shit. Everyone should try living alone sometime. And not just alone, alone. You can live alone with a dog, or a fish, or a cat (although, eugh, why would you? cats truly are evil incarnate), or a really friendly houseplant, or a special someone. And by a special someone, I don't mean a roommate. I mean a special someone. Who you sleep in bed with. Because this is all about living alone, remember? And your special someone counts as you living alone. I feel that once you have gotten to the place where you can turn over in the middle of the night onto your special someone's pillow and fall back asleep in a puddle of their drool and not really notice, they have ceased to be a completely separate person from you. But I do think you should maybe try to live alone for a bit before you procure your special someone, if you can. Just imagine... you, and your apartment, finally having some quality time all by yourselves.
Now don't think I am totally against roommates, I don't think roommates are life-ruiners who ruin people's lives. Although sometimes they can be. I'm just against roommates forever. Or at least consecutively. I just happen to think that there is a time in every gal's (or guy's) life when the need to know EXACTLY WHAT IS INSIDE OF YOUR FRIDGE becomes significantly more important than knowing that someone may have "accidentally" deleted the last episode of Mad Men on the DVR. Oh wait, those things both stink. I mean- roommates can be fun! Sometimes!
When I was in college I lived with three (3!!!!) other people. Two guys and a girl. The girl, who was (and absolutely is still) an awesome person on the whole, had several peccadillos that began to grate on my nerves almost immediately. She had this way of wanting to try everyone else's food.... not steal it, necessarily, but if you were, say eating carrots and hummus, she would be all: "ooh! carrots and hummus! what a GREAT idea!" and you would have to be all: "please, totally have some with me" and THEN (and this is the part I simply could not handle) when she couldn't finish the LAST BITE OF HER CARROT she would wrap it up in a piece of paper towel, and put it in the fridge. She did this with everything. Apples, sandwiches, Fig Newtons, single wedges of clementine. Girlfriend just wanted to save that last bite for later. In billions of little freaking paper towel pieces all wrapped up. IN THE FRIDGE RIGHT NEXT TO MY ORANGE JUICE!!! AHHHHH!!!
So there's that. Also, she and her boyfriend frequently had what was arguably the loudest shower sex on the planet, and her shower was against the wall containing (you guessed it) my headboard. So there's that as well.
But this isn't my place to word vomit all over the place about my many former roommates. Because ultimately all of my (and everyone else's too) roommates can be categorized into two very simple groups:
People Who Are My Wonderful Friends In Real Life But Are Ultimately Hard To Live With On Some Level, and
People Who Are NOT My Wonderful Friends But Are Random Horrible People Who Scream At Me For Taking Long Showers Or Using Their Sugar
Which brings me back to: Living Alone. Starring, you.
Why is living alone so fantabulously wonderful?
This one is a biggie for me, friends. Outside of the fact that I love purchasing skirts and tops and colored jeans in places I cannot afford, like Anthropologie, I deeply resent clothes. I am so much happier doing all activities fully nude. Watching TV? Nude. Reading a book? Naked. Eating some popcorn and drinking a glass of wine? Undressed, thank you very much. Cleaning the house? This one's so obvious: if you do it while nude, you can't get bleach on your clothes! There are so many fun things to do in the buff I couldn't possibly list them all here. But you get me, right? When in the privacy of your own home, naked is your new little-black-dress.
2) All the gross stuff is your gross stuff.
What's the weird gunk in the shower? Whose hair is on the toilet seat? These dirty exercise clothes in the corner, where did they come from? Why is there a plate with dried flakes of cheese on it in the sink that still hasn't been washed?
These questions are so much easier to answer when you live by yourself. So much less finger pointing. You can take that finger and proudly turn it right back around on yourself, my independent friend! YOU made the mess! AWESOME! Do you feel like cleaning it up right away, possibly in the nude? Leaving it to rot for hours, days, weeks? DOUBLE AWESOME. You get to do that, my friend, because it's your mess and no one is going to come home all grumpy and tired after a long day of bartending/financial advising/studying/auditioning and leave you a passive-aggressive note about it.
3) Your fridge is your temple.
We've already touched on this, but this is one of the things you will begin to treasure about living alone. You know how living with roommates routinely places you in the position of discovering tupperware containers that contain ACTUAL MOLD at the back of your fridge which you are not allowed to immediately place in a hazmat bag and dispose of because it is not YOUR tupperware container? That will be a thing of the past.
4) What is for sharing and what is for not sharing.
Having roommates makes the lines between mine and yours get very hazy. Obviously, you are sharing the couch. It possibly belongs to a specific roommate, but ultimately, no one is charging by the minute for sitting or even taking a long nap on the couch. However, spill a glass of red wine on the couch, and suddenly, just like magic, POOF! it belongs to Specific Roommate again and you have to reimburse her for the damages. Then again, roommates can double and even quadruple your apartment's milk needs. Why is it that no one can ever agree on milk? Why must you have your soy? Your non-fat? Your whole? Your almond? Your special organic brand from cows raised entirely on diets of conscientiously-farmed alfalfa? Why can't anyone just split a friendly half-gallon of 2% with me?
5) And most importantly... Learning what you're like by yourself.
This might sound like some pretentious Eat, Pray, Love blather, but I think the most valuable thing about living alone is that you begin to find out what you are actually like as an adult inside your own head. We have such a good idea of what we're like around others- we are constantly projecting the self we want everyone else to see in social settings, at work, at school, at the bar after work, on the street walking to the bar after work, at our family's home, at our friend's homes, that we rarely get to see a glimpse of Actual Us. That person with her hair not just down, but frizzy. The person who sometimes just wants to come home to a completely quiet apartment and listen to showtunes while eating apples and cheese for dinner while wearing nothing but a bath towel. And not have to worry that someone may walk in at any moment with a spontaneous gathering of friends who all want to change the channel.
I admit that living alone can seem financially daunting. Here in New York City, which has been scientifically proven to be the most overpriced city in the world, it can seem next to impossible. But I want to encourage you to make it happen at some point! Even if it's just for a year. Do what you need to do to afford it: join a cheaper gym, cancel the extended cable, buy the generic brand, consider living in Brooklyn or Queens (but not the Bronx) (or Staten Island), use your imagination and begin embracing the idea of "studio apartment" to mean "room possibly smaller than my childhood bedroom". You are about to embark on the Great Adventure of Living Alone and once you put a cute rug on the floor and some art on the walls, that tiny room is gonna look like home. I think so many people are only willing to live by themselves in New York unless their apartment can be Meg Ryan's from "You've Got Mail". But you don't need that enormous brownstone to be happy in your own space in the city (am I right, though? Does it not appear that Meg actually owns that entire brownstone?! And apparently doesn't bother locking the door or even carrying a bag or purse when she leaves?!). It has also come to my attention that there are other places to live besides New York, and many of them make solo living quite affordable. So that's great.