by: Mar Curran
My roommate Rachel and I have lived together since May. I believe. We recently decided that living in a 1 bedroom I picked out with my ex-fiance with three cats isn’t really suiting our lifestyles anymore, so we decided to move to the new queer mecca, Logan Square. Always a fan of saving money thanks to my Dad’s lectures about spending and my second puberty’s fondness of sleeping late instead of working, we agreed finding a third roommate would be a good idea.
Let me start by telling you my roommate background. I first lived with a girl freshman year in the dorms who flat-out told me, “I asked for a single but they assigned me to live with you instead.” My sophomore year, the aforementioned ex and I moved into a four-person apartment-style dorm. One girl, upon hearing we were queer, never showed up to move in.
The other was quietly hostile until we approached our Resident Advisor to ask her what to do about it. She told us this young lady had been sending her emails all semester asking for a room change, but not saying why. She also left us a lovely note about how someone did not flush the toilet frequently enough, but I do not understand how flushing it once or twice per natural biological expulsion is not satisfactory.
My ex and I then moved out of the dorm early into our first apartment, where she dumped me two months later. Apparently the fact that I stopped eating and laid on the couch watching 30 Rock all day after our breakup was too much for her, so I moved back in with my nuclear biological family. They got to enjoy the series of panic attacks that I had about two to three times a day for the next month. The ex lived in the apartment with two friends for a while but suddenly had to move out, and so I moved back in.
I posted an ad on Loyola’s version of Craigslist, “Iggyslist,” and frantically searched for someone else to pay half the rent. My next roommate, Jordan, was a gift from Jehovah that arrived the first day of classes. We enjoyed watching funny Youtube videos together, hosting parties, and talking about my “overactive” dating life. When “The Biebs”, as my friends and I nicknamed Jordan- after she got the gayest haircut ever, had to move out I posted another ad online, this time also extending it to Craigslist.
Rachel was straight out of a divorce, loved cats and The First Wives Club, and had Alkaline Trio tattoos. We were a good match. I showed Rachel the apartment, and in a fit of overzealousness at convincing her how awesome it would be to live with me, exclaimed, “And I totally won’t rape or murder you!” This is EXACTLY what a rapist or murderer would say. But Rachel left the apartment and called her mom, saying, “I think I found The One!” We hung out a few times, agreed to move in together, and when I came out she told friends that she had to do research on trans* issues because she cared about me so much that she wanted to be informed about my life. I lucked out.
I have had a variety of living experiences, you can see. So when Rachel and I posted an ad on Craigslist looking for our third wheel I was sure we’d at least have a little luck. We actually had the luck of the Irish, courtesy of me. I received about 20 responses from either awesome or at least highly entertaining people.
But Becca stood out. She first of all laid out on the table that she had no job lined up and didn’t live in the city so she couldn’t help pick the apartment. If those are the only downsides I was already in. Then she volunteered to teach me American Sign Language. WHAT?! People, one of the few things that gets me excited both sexually and just in an amusement type way is ASL.
But I’ve been thinking. There must be downsides to living with me too! I should just be upfront about them. Here is a list, compiled from feedback from my own past roommate and others’ roommates (as you shall see).
1. I never remember to get more toilet paper. If I use the last of it and know I will be the next one who needs toilet paper, I still won’t remember. There is some sort of block in my brain that removes toilet paper from any future decisions.
2. I hate doing dishes. I will do them, mind you, but it might be the next day. And I might complain unless Beyonce is playing while I do them. My best friend Dietzler, after staying with me a short time, has been training me to be better about this. It is his greatest challenge.
3. I have weird fluctuations of standards for bathroom cleanliness. If there are fun things to do outside of my bathroom I will let the bath mat get pretty gross. If I am spending a lot of time at home I will obsessively bleach the tub every week. It cannot be explained.
4. I hate vacuuming. The noise scares the shit out of me. I attribute this to cats being my spirit animal.
5. I let my laundry pile up to landfill-like proportions and then do 8 loads at once. These loads are then dumped onto my bed and forgotten about while I sometimes spend two nights to two weeks sleeping on the couch instead of putting my clothes away. I am getting better at it, though, since I brought home a hook-up once and they had to move my laundry off the bed to make room for themselves. I will never stop feeling ashamed of that moment.
6. You might come home to me drinking champagne alone and watching “Degrassi.” If this is something you want to join me in doing, please do so. I just think I should throw this out there now.
7. I sleep in my boxers, and will be parading around the house in them like a peacock. I believe pants are optional in some social situations inside my home, too. If I ever die my best friend might be able to identify me just by the color and pattern of my boxers because he’s seen me wear them around both of our homes so often.
8. Whenever I have a fight with someone I opt to do it in my own living room. This allows me to dramatically throw them out if necessary (which has only been attempted on Dietzler and he just told me no, but whatever) and an array of props I am familiar with (champagne flute, various pairs of eyewear, pictures of my cats, books of famous sayings). This requires me to text Rachel and say, “I’m about to get into a fight with _____. Can I have the living room to myself? I’ll text you when I’m done.” Rachel is a fucking champ and usually says, “Yeah, and if you need shit to break here’s a list of stuff I don’t need anymore.” I rarely get into fights, but the couch is my stage and all the people I must fight with are merely players.
9. I care too much about my roommates. Just kidding, I care a normal amount. This just seemed like the kind of thing to say so you know I’m considerate.
10. I watch an absurd amount of cat videos. One of which I know word for word because Dietzler and I watched it at least 30 times on my birthday. Rachel knows I will recite the whole thing verbatim if prompted. Again, maybe not a negative but something that had to be said.
11. I hope I’ve grown out of this one, but my ex’s roommate freshman year told her that I wasn’t very sneaky about sex. Since then Rachel and I have devised what we call The Dirty Pony System of secret codes to let one another know when we need the place to ourselves. Does it work all the time? No, sometimes Rachel forgets to put the handcuffs on the door. You’ll be happy to know, though, that my rugs make excellent cover-ups for ladies.
12. I apparently lack a filter other people who did not go to my all-girls Catholic high school have. Rachel once told someone she had never heard so much about periods until she lived with a boy, aka me. I’m not gross or anything, I’m just open about stuff, like telling Rachel, “Yeah, I found some chocolate powder stuff in the cabinet that expired two years ago. I mixed it with milk and drank it. It seemed fine, until I threw it back up.”
Other than these things I’m a fucking gem. I make baked goods to share, I love to wash the floors, I openly communicate and hang out with my roommates, and I am not a super loud person. Plus, I’m a ridiculously heavy sleeper and know how to Dougie. It’s basically a win-win living with me. I just want to be honest before anyone signs a lease.
Mattis “Mar” Curran is a trans/queer rights activist and community organizer; he is on the boards of Video Action league, Advocate Loyola, the Queer intercollegiate Alliance, and works with GetEQUAL. As spoken word artist, he has read at each All The Writers I Know event. He studies Communications and Women’s Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Curran likes beer and cats.