Archive | October, 2012

Female house mates – worth the trouble?

28 Oct

Dear Vallery,


for four months I had the pleasure of being your acting landlord. For one week I had the discomfort of frequent argumentation with you, and since you recently decided that you don’t want to live in my house evermore, I would like to write a few words of praise. I know that you are a frequent reddit user, so you will find this post eventually.

Since I never had a girl friend, I appreciated the opportunity to share my house with a lady, and get to know the female thoughts after dark (sounds like a dirty phrase, but the twilight changes moods not only in vampires). It was fun as long as it lasted, and you made some indisputable positive contributions to this community. You are a great cook and we all thank you for sharing your well prepared art deco meals with us. To me it remains questionable why small meals cannot be prepared in a countertop stove, but maybe chefs don’t believe in those devices. That decision runs a bit counterintuitive to your pretending of being environmentally conscious, though. Maybe the degree of deliciousness of a meal is directly dependant on the amount of energy that was used to prepare it, who knows?! At least you discovered the joy of slow cookers; I very much respect that.

Living with five house mates under one roof is a tricky social challenge, especially in a mixed gender situation, and I tried to give every member of this household as much freedom as possible. This may not have been the best idea, and I am thankful that you asked me to be stricter about the house rules. As a direct result I reminded you to wear your head phones when watching videos and making Skype calls, which you answered with your bitchy “No” that I am so tired of. I’m afraid living in this house is associated with compromises, and an emotional “No” may not be an acceptable response to a rule reminder that you spawned yourself. Sure, I am just as guilty for playing my guitar every morning and acting as your acoustic wake-up call, so that you get to work in time. Since everybody else in the house is fine with that practice, I don’t see it as problematic, but that’s just my opinion.


I apologize for not providing the support that your project of room swapping deserved. I admit my excitement about your idea to rotate three of us around, as it might have improved the living situation of all of us. However, experience taught me not to stack the expectations too high about your ambitious projects. It took two months for you to take care of the unstable kitchen shelves that you put up. And we are still waiting for that kitchen to paint itself. Nevermind, I am fine with the current color scheme, and I never really thought you would do that anyway.

I thank you for taking care of the kitchen shelves, and replacing the unstable shelving unit with something robust. As a sustainability nerd I have two objections against the way that you did it: I don’t like acquiring new stuff, and I especially hate plastic. I believe that a used metal shelf would have done the trick. Still, thank you for your efforts. I am now much less worried about getting slaughtered by tumbling pots and pans.


That you called me a liar did not come as a shock. It is disrespectful, but not unexpected. We survived a Chinese demon, a Peruvian psychopath and a Canadian schizophrenic, so I am aware that there are many stories about this community and this house that you find hard to believe. I am sorry that we could not let you dog-sit that little friend of yours, but I find it too risky to have a dog in a house that has a no-pet policy. Our landlady vibes with the idea of getting rid of me and renting the house to someone else, and charging 25% more money for it; and I really don’t want to give her any legal reason to go forth with that plan. When I claim that some of the neighbours are watching us and report irregularities to her, I have good reasons to do so.


Finally, let me say a few words about social justice. You seem to be quite aggravated about Nicolas, who I allegedly picked as a favourite tenant, and accordingly has privileges beyond compare. You are right, I do not rotate him around in the cycle of chores. Just like I don’t rotate you around, because you made a case for yourself to take over his chores. Wait, does that make you my new favourite? Of course not, because I currently do the bathroom cleaning for Nicolas. Just like I often do the chores for Manuel, when he is overly busy or forgets or only does a half-asked job. Now you may argue that the downstairs bathroom is a much easier task, and Nicolas therefore has a much simpler life. Well, you have seen him getting up from the sofa. He has serious physical issues bending his knees, so I cannot give him floor cleaning duties. He is mostly up before 5 A.M., so I cannot give him the snow shoveling, if you don’t want to wake up at 4:30 to the sound of a snow shovel in front of your window. Since you so much desired to get the upstairs bathroom as your one and only duty, we are not left with many options.

That I do the weekly cleaning for him is a personal arrangement between me and Nicolas. It saves me from arguing with him about the noisiness of the main floor of the house, which prevents him from sleeping, which nullifies the time that would be necessary for the cleaning. I know that you don’t cling the dishes, rumble the cupboards or converse loudly on purpose, but you still bloody do it. And it does not go well with people who go to bed early.

Aristotéles wrote: “At his best, man is the noblest of animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.” Am I unjust? I don’t know. How to you weight a healthy sleep against cleaning tasks? Compromises are never perceived as equally fair by everyone. And living together is all about compromises. Am I too lax or too strict about our house-internal laws? No idea; no one but you ever complains. The eye of the beholder may judge this situation; I dare not give answer.


I still don’t know where and when I went wrong with you; how I managed to destroy the good relationship that we started with. After all, our first two months were really joyful, and I miss the engaged discussions about life, history and politics that we shared over a slice of bread and a cup of tea. It grieves me that we are parting in such a way. But I certainly hope that you made the right decision, and that your new living arrangement correlates better with your life style. I apologize for the mental prison that I appear to have kept you in.

Not sure if I am ready for another female housemate. But I certainly got away from that whole girlfriend idea. Discussions appear to work out rather badly when one side is emotional and the other one rational. Men and women don’t fit together. What is a heterosexual man to do?


Remaining your friend in need,


Hello world!

28 Oct

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