Roommates: Identifying the Species

Roommates: Identifying the Species

Let’s face it, living with other people sucks. Other people’s filth, other people’s clothes, other people’s friends, and other people’s food in the refrigerator. Unfortunately the economic realities of most of us keep that constant, unwanted companion across the hall. I, like most people, have had my fair share of roommates, most of them good, some of them bad, a few of them unbearable, but I can’t exactly say that I’m a joy to live with either (put me somewhere in-between The Slob and The Sketcher). But, in my ever vigilant attempt to elevate the human race past the status of dung beetle, I have set forth a classification system of roommates to help identify possible trouble spots and keep life moving smoothly. While I may have not nailed everyone, I think I got most of you bastards. Feel free to mail me with anyone I might have left out.

The Athlete
The Athlete lives to exercise. Jogging, rollerblading, gym membership, and intramural sports are dead giveaways to this species. Often assumes that hours spent at rowing machine somehow translates into life experience that boosts them above people of normal activity level. If you can handle jabs to your undefined pectorals and constant nagging requests to accompany them on their path to self-betterment, you should do just fine.

The Neat Freak
The Neat Freak demands a sense of order and cleanliness above and beyond the call to sanity. Spends most free time dusting, polishing silverware, and talking about you behind your back to her other neat friends. Usually in bed before 11:00 and up around 6:00, The Neat Freak can be a constant source of entertaining anecdotes, and can be baited into insanity embarrassingly easily with used condoms and misplaced chicken bones. The Neat Freak should live alone, so approach with caution.

The Schizophrenic Cleaner
Not to be confused with the Neat Freak, The Schizophrenic Cleaner is a slob 90% of the time, but during that other 10% (usually on Sunday afternoons), the Schizophrenic Cleaner becomes the most unbearable roommate known to science and attempts to clean two months of filth in two hours. Often this is accompanied by scathing diatribes against all other roommates in the house whose only crimes are that they aren’t overcome by sanitary mania at the exact same time. This attribute is common to many other species.

The Dealer
Pros: Pays the rent, has a nice TV with matching Playstation, and has plenty of drugs. Cons: Sketchy people stopping by at 3 in the morning, bullets coming through the window, and the occasional police raid. The Dealer is usually a nice enough person, and as long as their trade isn’t much more than pot and shrooms (with the occasional shipment of coke) you should be OK, especially if you live in a college town. Avoid sharing a bedroom, as it sucks to spend 5 to 20 in lock-up when someone else is making the bucks.

The Professional
The Professional is in their mid 20’s going on late 50’s, and a good roommate for no other reason than the fact that they’re never home. Back from work late, out of bed early, the only time you might cross paths is on the weekend, when they’re usually busy trying to make up for not having a life by drinking hard, doing laundry, and paying the bills. The Professional is an especially good roommate if you have a bullshit job, because it lets you justify your lack of cash with ‘at least I’m not him.’

The Stoner
Say goodbye to the couch, because once The Stoner moves it, you’re never gonna be able to sit on it again. The Stoner is the opposite of The Professional; where The Professional is never home, The Stoner never leaves, living out an entire existence between the TV, the bathroom, and the front door to get the daily pizza delivery. Be especially careful of The Social Stoner, who will have lots of boring stoner friends come over never leave your house either except to visit The Dealer, when they become uncharacteristically mobile.

The Vegan
Perhaps the most entertaining of all roommates is The Vegan. If The Vegan has a good sense of humor, a lively rapport with plenty of good fun thrown both ways can be established. “Hey, how can you live on twigs and leaves?” answered by The Vegan with phrases like “hey, I saw a cute dog running around outside, why don’t you chase it down and barbecue it?” On the other hand, if The Vegan is completely without humor, treats a diet like a religion, and constantly preaches at you, your house becomes more repressive than a 24-hour Southern Baptist church, and you should move in with someone less dogmatic, like a member of the IRA.

The Mystic Spiritualist
The Spiritualist knows something that you don’t. The Spiritualist understands the world, the planets, the universe, and what you’re doing wrong. Not quite a hippy or a stoner, The Spiritualist lines her room with books of Eastern philosophy (which she diligently skims once before forever resting on her bookshelf), hangs Indian printed cloths from the ceiling, and burns incense constantly. The Spiritualist assumes she is wise simply because she aligns herself with something other than the Western world, and will decry Western thinking with a Marlboro in one hand and a bottle of Jagrmeister in the other. Be prepared to smile and nod a lot, and have a plan to dispose of the body when you snap and strangle her.

The Loner
No one knows what The Loner does, and it’s probably for the best. If The Loner could afford to live by himself, he would. The fact that he can’t is bad news for you. On the surface, a relationship with The Loner is great. He stays in his room, he doesn’t talk to you, and he even schedules his daily activities so he doesn’t have to interact with you. Bad news is this guy probably has a 9mm collection and has already dug a shallow grave with your name on it.

The New Alcoholic
The years of living in a repressive family situation are suddenly over when The New Alcoholic leaves home. Yes, it’s time to break loose and go crazy, and what better way to exercise command over your life than to stay stinking drunk all the time? Sports bars, happy hours, Long Island Ice Tea Night, whatever – there’s always an excuse to drink! Expect late night ‘come pick me up’ phone calls, 3am ‘Wooooo!’s, bar detritus of the opposite sex spending the night, and the occasional renting of a carpet shampooer to clean all the puke stains. While initially a lot of fun, the New Alcoholic suffers under the delusion that it’s necessary to drink after 3:30 in the morning, and thus loses and initial charm.

The Leech
The Leech doesn’t really like you, she just doesn’t have anything to do herself, and will therefore follow you wherever you go, and make fun of it. The Leech hears you are going to a move and invites herself along, talking loudly about how stupid the movie is. The Leech hears you are going to a party and follows you there, ripping on the house, the drinks, and how much cooler the people are in the city where she grew up. It never really dawns on The Leech that the reason she has nothing going on for herself is that she sucks to hang out with, and she probably doesn’t care, she’s too busy making fun of your date, your clothes, your teeth, and your hair.

The Borrower
While not exactly poor, The Borrower never really seems to buy anything for himself. It would seem he is unaware that items such as toothpaste, shampoo, coffee, and sweatshirts are actually available for purchase at various stores, which he could probably borrow your car to visit. To The Borrower, nothing is off limits for borrowing, including prescription medicine, underwear, Chapstick, or toothbrushes.

The Cheapskate
Paying bills is stressful no matter how close you are with your roommate, and The Cheapskate doesn’t make it any easier. Expect to hear phrases like “You’re home more often than I am, so you should pay more of the heating bill” and “Can I have 35 cents for that cream cheese you took from me this morning?” And don’t ever lend money to The Cheapskate, because you’ll never get it back. Instead, you’ll be reminded of the ride to the airport they gave you in Spring of 1995, the time you called the house collect, or how your sister used a bunch of water when she visited.

The Copy Cat
The Copy Cat respects you and your ways, so much, in fact, that she will slowly become you over the months of living together. First it’s the clothes, and then the hair. Pretty soon it’s the music, the way you talk, your friends, your eating habits, every aspect of your personality. Flattering for about 10 minutes, annoying forever, if The Copy Cat is not cut off right away, she will end up living across the street from your eventual family.

The Sketcher
The Sketcher seems nice enough, but you never really trust him. He’s the kind of person to steal your beer and hit on your girlfriend, yet still occasionally do something nice, like pick you up during a rainstorm, and make it hard to 100% hate him. Usually possessing a decent sense of humor and generally cool, The Sketcher is most likely to borrow half your wardrobe and move across the country, sticking you with the lease and a $400 phone bill. The Sketcher isn’t really a bad person, just one who is totally out for himself, which rarely bodes well for you.

The Piece of Shit
You know the Piece of Shit, she’s the one you let move in as a favor to a friend. She does stolen cocaine on your coffee table, needs to get picked up from fucked up places at 4 in the morning, steals your shit, and has a parade of Piece of Shit friends who also enjoy rifling through your shit. She runs up phone bills, drinks everything in the house, makes a mess, doesn’t pay rent, and bitches about everything else. Get her arrested as soon as possible, and for God’s sake, don’t ever sleep with her, you’ll never get rid of her then.

The Dresser Bible
The Dresser Bible seems totally normal. He is responsible, well mannered, neat, and always in generally good spirits. You may actually start to like the guy. And then, after a few months, it happens – he busts out the Bible he keeps in the top drawer of his dresser and begins to start his sentences with words like “You know what Jesus says”. Your friendship suddenly becomes a truce, as he promises to keep the Good News to a minimum, and you agree to stop slaughtering goats in the living room.

The Touchy Feely
The Touchy Feely is the nicest person you’ll ever meet. She’ll always have an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, and be a friend to depend on. She’ll make you a healthy vegetarian dinner and give you a friendly back massage afterward. She’ll always smile, let you borrow anything, and doesn’t mind cleaning the entire house daily. She takes detailed phone messages, is nice to all your friends, and feeds your cat while you’re on vacation. None of this changes the fact that she’s creepier than a bathroom stall at a NAMBLA meeting. Beware of someone who never stops smiling.

The Poor Guy
The Poor Guy means well, but he’s, well, poor. More likely he’s just really bad with money, spending his meager paychecks on dope and good beer, crippling his budget for the rest of the month. The Poor Guy rarely leaves home, because he can’t afford to. The Poor Guy usually has very good puppy dog eyes, and is rarely expected to chip in on generic household expenses like toilet paper, dish soap, and the electric bill. The Poor Guy doesn’t mind sleeping on the couch for a reduction in rent, will follow you to any subsequent apartments, and isn’t above taking handouts. Nothing like having your own, personal panhandler.

Squeaky Clean
Squeaky Clean lives in a general state of bemused shock, shock mostly aimed at you. Squeaky Clean lives a life that is beyond reproach, and won’t hesitate to smilingly comment about your drinking habits, your cleanliness, your table manners, your choice of dates, your music, your friends, and anything else that is slightly off the Squeaky Clean Path. Squeaky Clean has fallen under the misbelief that there is one correct and proper way to go through life, their way, and attacks whatever doesn’t support their generally dull and uneventful lifestyle. They do, however, always pay their share of the rent.

The Slob
Anyone seen my leftover pizza? Oh, there it is, underneath your jacket. I’ve been meaning to clean those steak bones out of the sink. Damn, is that my underwear? You guys have any idea how to get the smell of rotten milk out of shoes? I’m sorry my dog shit on your bed, I’ll clean it up after I fix the shower drain I clogged while shaving last week. Wow, this beer has been open for a week and it still tastes good. If you wear a shirt long enough, the stains go away by themselves. Sound familiar?

Daddy’s Favorite
Yes, there is something wrong with giving your kids too much attention, they become unbearable for the rest of us to deal with. Always well bankrolled, Daddy’s Favorite expects to take the place of Most Important in your house, just like they had it growing up. The good news is if any problems arise with your residence, Daddy is just a phone call away and ready to save his little angel. The bad news is you have to deal with this little brat all the rest of the time. Daddy’s Favorite has little concept of money, as unseen hands have always paid all the bills. This means Daddy’s Favorite will assume you’ll take care of them to a certain extent, even though you have 1/10 the money. Expect visits from parents at least once a month.

The Player
The good news is you’ll meet a lot of eligible lovers, the bad news is they’ll all be the used goods of your roommate. While The Player thinks he’s racking up the stud points, you’ll be sitting through the same dumb stories, the same cheezy lines, and the same ritual of sexual conquest that screams desperation at volumes hyper-audible to everyone but the dumbest deaf. Don’t even try to learn the name of the Flavor-of-the-Hour because it doesn’t matter. Buy some anti-bacterial Lysol for the bathroom, keep your toothbrush, bath towels, and razor locked in your room, maintain a strict ‘no drinking out of the container’ rule, and lastly, buy some earplugs to drown out the unnecessarily loud pathetic fucking grunts.

Like I said, this list is for the generations to come, so let me know if I left you out. Give me reasons why you suck as a roommate, a) so I can complete my list of bad people and b) so I never accidentally move in with you.