After I Lived With Guys, Here Are The 5 Most Ridiculous Things I Learned
Much like Billy Crystal's character in When Harry Met Sally, I've often questioned whether or not men and women can be platonic friends. Maybe it's a consequence of the fact that I can count my platonic, male friends on one hand, or maybe it's because most of those friendships turned into love triangles worthy of a YA novel, but I was inclined to agree with Harry: Men and women are lovers, enemies, or relatives. It's tricky to be anything more, or anything less. At least, this was my thinking before I started living with guys.
I've lived with men (men who weren't my dad, that is) on two instances, and under very different circumstances. When I was 19, one of my best friends moved in with my mom and I. We had an extra bedroom, our house was about 30 minutes closer to the frozen yogurt shop (where he and I both worked) than his, and he didn't have the greatest situation at home, anyway. It made sense. This friend and I, who had always had a semi-romantic relationship, officially started dating a few months after he moved into the bedroom down the hall. And he, my mom, and I lived together like one big, happy, and largely dysfunctional family.
Years later — long after my relationship with Fro-Yo Bae had come to an end (my gosh, if ever he reads this, he's going to hate that title) — I spent a semester studying abroad in London. And, once again, I found myself sharing a living space with the opposite sex. But this time, there were four of them. It was... an eye-opening experience, to say the least.
And after reading this guy's Twitter thread about living with girls (which is wildly accurate, IMO), I thought the Internet might be interested in hearing how the other half lives. So, based on my limited experience living with these dudes, here are the five most ridiculous (and sweetest) things I learned about the male species.
1. The Bathroom Is Always Hairy, And Always Wet
Admittedly, many women's bathrooms are far from neat and tidy. We shed in chunks. Pretty much every surface is lined with a variety of sudsy bath products, hair conditioners, face masks, and moisturizers. Our towels are stained by streaks of mascara and the remnants of three-year-old hair dye.
But, my gosh. Boys' bathrooms are a different kind of terrifying.
The toilet seat is always, always, always left up (have they never seen a sitcom?! Don't they know we hate this?!). They get water everywhere. Seriously, everywhere. Like, they'll brush their teeth and the bathmat will, inexplicably, be sopping wet. You'll often find the remnants of their five o'clock shadow lining the sink. Sometimes you'll find just a dash of urine on the floor, because I guess peeing while standing up is trickier than we realize.
Oh, and the gents I lived with were also weirdly attentive to my menstrual cycle. They'd notice tampon wrappers in the garbage and say things like, "Ah, no wonder you picked up two pints of Ben & Jerry's today." (Which, for the record, I will do any time of the month.)
2. They're (Sometimes Alarmingly) Adventurous In The Kitchen
For most of my childhood, my dad's culinary experience was limited to microwaving hotdogs, throwing together PB&J sandwiches, and adding milk to cereal. So, I'd always bought into the stereotype that men can't really cook.
Wow, how wrong I was.
Two of the guys I lived with in college were practically professional chefs — preparing perfectly roasted and garnished dishes that would have made Julia Child proud, or suggesting I add a sprinkle of this spice and sprig of that herb to whatever I was making (they were always right).
Fro-Yo Bae also loved playing around in the kitchen, but in a completely different way. He was super committed to health and fitness, so our counters were covered in massive containers of protein, pre-workout mixes, vitamin supplements — basically anything and everything you'd buy at a GNC. He also weirdly enjoyed grilling tuna burgers covered in hot sauce, which set off our smoke alarm on several occasions (and smelled like something rotting on the beach).
P.S.: Knowing how to make dishes and knowing how to wash dishes are completely different.
3. They Have Their Own Language When It Comes To Dating
Listening to these guys talk about dating was fascinating. So much of it was based on math: Where girls fell on a one to 10 scale. How much a date might cost (the higher her ranking on the aforementioned scale, the more they were willing to spend). How many girls they'd hooked up with over the course of one semester (pretty sure they were keeping a tally, ew).
Even if these guys hit it off with a cute, interesting girl — one they knew was "out of their league," so to speak — they were eager to meet and mingle with as many ladies as possible. And while I would sweat and chug Chardonnay before going out on dates, they approached the whole thing with a super laid-back attitude. Despite the fact that I watched many girls reject these guys, they always bounced back.
It would have been inspiring if they hadn't walked away from those convos muttering, "Eh, she was like a sober 4, drunk 7 anyway."
BTW, never search the phrases they use when describing a hookup on Urban Dictionary. The results are horrifying. Ignorance is bliss.
4. Their Gym Bags Are The Stuff Of Nightmares
As mentioned, one of the guys I lived with was a bit of a gym nut. And his gym bag was like f*cking Pandora's box, you guys.
I was doing laundry one day and offered to throw a few of his shirts in with my load. When I unzipped his gym bag, I kid you not, gnats flew out — it was moist and hot and dark and terrifying (and probably one of the entrances to the Upside Down in Stranger Things).
5. They're Actually Pretty Attentive
OK, so the gym bag thing was pretty gross. But, on the bright side, the guys I lived with were also way more attentive and thoughtful than I'd expected. Beyond tracking the dates of my cycle, they'd also decoded what the contents of my refrigerator shelf meant on any given day, and shifted their behavior accordingly.
A half-drunk bottle of pink wine meant I'd had a rough day, so they'd offer to split a sleeve of Oreos with me. Takeout containers meant I was busy studying and likely a little stressed out, so they (usually) kept their music at a decent decibel. If they found me making grilled cheese at 2 p.m. on a Sunday, I was probably a little hungover, so they'd ask what I'd gotten up to the night before.
It was cute, and nice, and pretty solid proof that maybe guys and girls can coexist in a platonic, friendly way.
If only they kept the toilet seat down.