Wednesday 3 March 2010

Funny things about living with people

A very happily married Mother recently told me never live alone or you will never want to live with anyone- even a husband- again. I was mildly alarmed but I do know what she might have meant- I think. I haven't lived alone yet and I haven't had a husband either- perhaps it's an only child thing but I rather like living with people- as long as I get the odd night in alone. I like that there is always someone to play with, to watch terrible TV with, suffer a hangover with, team clean with.

Still however much you love friends, housemates and even significant others they do have some idiosyncrasies don't they? You know your family from small and so until you move away you don't know that, for example, other families don't put eggs in the fridge say, or always turn the TV off at the switch.

Likewise I don't think you really know someone until you live with them- it's quite an intimate thing even amongst friends. You can't always be your best self with the people you live with, they will see you poorly, down, moody and just plain knackered- and you will see them and there is unsaid knowledge of each other that people you don't live with won't have.

So it's with affection that I mention the following slightly strange things I have noticed about other people over the years- though it might be me that is out of the ordinary.

* I have recently noticed one of the girls I live with brushes her teeth with really hot water. I found this out because ours is a mixer tap and if you flick it on you get the last position- like a shower- and I keep getting a mouthful of hot water. Now another thing I have noticed is quite a lot of people brush their teeth in the shower. I find both the hot water and the shower a bit strange, surely teeth brushing water should be done in cold water from the sink? But perhaps not- it may just be my family who do this.

* Using soap in the shower. I know this is more common but in this age of shower gel it was still unexpected to me. The first person I noticed do it was a man and I have picked up on men being bigger soap fans than women generally. I do like a well milled soap but soap is a bit like socks and tights- never the same after the first use. I find it a bit annoying having soaps bumbling around on the shower floor, trying to trip me up and cause mischief in the morning. Also those cracks that develop in the soap are a bit strange and I end up staring at them for a long time instead of having a shower.

* Not keeping ketchup in the fridge- as far as I'm concerned the ketchup goes in the fridge and that's the end of it but I seem to be in the minority and I am open minded- so I'm trying the room temperature tomato sauce- it's okay- it makes the consistency a bit strange over time though.

* Not having a drink while you eat. This goes back to childhood actually and going over to friends houses for tea. Mrs Newfriend or oldfriend or balletfriend would present lovely dinners with no drink- no tap water, not a sniff of a squash or juice, no liquid at all. I need a drink while I'm eating, it's comforting and I just do- it's fine if other people don't but I've noticed lots of people don't drink with food. Then I am like the little girl in Signs, constantly carrying around a glass of water like a comfort blanket- I am not diabetic, just thirsty I guess!

* Not eating. Now this is said with less affection and more anger. Living and working with girls of 20- 35 I would say it's horrifyingly noticeable how many have a totally unhealthy attitude to food- and actually how many of their boyfriends and even husbands well know it and just say it's a phase or it's 'sweet'. It isn't sweet to never eat solids and just live on tea, soup, wine and an occasional no fat yoghurt. It also isn't sweet to just eat 800 calories a day forever.

It's very frustrating when you prepare a normal meal, for example pasta with sauce and they look at you like you are about to eat a whole wild boar with a keg of milkshake or whatever. Or if you too have soup and they say oh what a treat to have some bread- it's not a treat it's just a pitta bread! If I were to treat myself I hope I could do a bit better- maybe run to a crusty roll with butter or something.


Muddling Along said...

I love that wild boar image - its one of the reasons I love that I'm no longer house sharing ...

That and not having to deal with other people's pubes in the shower

Jayne said...

I did smile at your 'cracks in the soap' observation! It makes you wonder what it does to your skin, doesn't it?

Great post. Living with my mum after having my own place is a bit like this - she keeps fruit (bananas, apples) in the fridge, which I find deeply unappealing. Also tins! I do try and explain she shouldn't but she never listens.

The not eating thing makes me want to scream. I wish these ladies would also realise that 'it's not sweet' to look like skeletons. If someone said to me 'what a treat to have some bread' I think I would always reply 'it tastes gorgeous' and watch them drool.

Ines said...

Interesting observations. :) My boyfriend is one of those who brush teeth with hot water.
It still surprises what a large number of women has a completely unhealthy approach to food (which is bound to hurt you eventually down the road). And I mean women, not young, impressionable girls.
And sometimes their partners do not think it's sweet, they think it's normal (one colleague once told me how his wife prepares wonderful meals but does not eat them - huh?!).

Marie said...

Brushing teeth with hot water?! Surely that tastes kind of gross as hot water never tastes as nice as cold water.

And yes living with people does mean you do get to know them, in more detail sometimes than you might want!

On the food thing, I find it really interesting looking in other peoples fridges and working in their kitchens. Seeing what they eat (or don't eat) and how they cook is something I find intensely fascinating.

Caroline, No. said...

Your observations did make me laugh! I address them below. Hehe. (And for the record: I live with my other half and cannot imagine and HOPE I never have to live with anyone else again! I can count at least two friendships that have been 'stretched' by us living together. Include one where I'm ashamed to say I came out with "I WAS JUST HOPING NOT TO HAVE TO SPEAK TO ANYONE TODAY" when my flatmate came home one day. Unforgiveable! But I SERIOUSLY need my own space!)

Brushing teeth = lukewarm water in the sink. In the shower is a bit gross, imo!

Soap in shower = do it myself, much prefer it. Shower gel is just another overpriced product I don't want to buy.

Ketchup = needs to be kept in the fridge!

Drink = needed whilst eating! Water for me.

Not eating = plain sad. Their health will trouble them as they get older. :(

Wandering Wynie said...

Having lived on my own for three years I can definitely recommend it- it's lovely to have your very own space and sanctuary and you can throw wondrous dinner parties (ok pizza and dvd nights) with friends without worrying about hogging the living room and feeling guilty about leaving the washing up 'till the next morning. However, after three years I started to fantasise about coming home to noise and talk and hugs. My housemates in uni were my familly and I still love them all- apart from one girl who used to tidy my room while I was in lectures. She scared me.

Metropolitan Mum said...

I hear you about the soap. But you should really try Roger & Gallet green tea soap. It comes in a soap dish that even has little holes in the bottom - so your soap doesn't soak in its own juice. It's delicious!

The last flat share I was part of was with two young women. One of them had a serious problem with food. She told me she'd cut out all the 'crap', telling me she hadn't eaten bread, sugar, wheat, meat, pasta, potatoes, fish, dairy... in over ten years. But she was still enjoying a night out with a few drinks too many and a fair amount of coke up her nose.

Needless to say that I decided to live alone after that. And when I met Big M, he invited me to his flat, and the first thing I said was 'thank God, you are tidy!'. I was a bit traumatised by my previous experiences :)

Loved this post - I am looking forward to more life-observations!

Fran Hill said...

The brushing your teeth in the shower thing sounds intriguing. I'm going to add it to my list of 'things to do before I die'. Some things you just have to try, if only once.

TEFL Ninja said...

I've lived alone, I didn't really like it as much as I like living with other people.

Although I send the Sock Dropper and Son of Thor off to another part of the house regularly just so I can get some time for myself.

It's nice knowing they are still around...just not under my feet.

Rose said...

Hi MAM- quite!!

Jayne- tins! bless her that's properly eccentric and totally endearing.

Ines- I have tried the hot water but it doesn't work for me- I like mint tea so not sure why- is just gross. The eating is bizarre heh- and as if men let their wives prepare meals they don't eat- it's vile.

Hi Marie- yes it is interesting what other people eat- and I always want what other people are having don't you?

Hi Caroline, no- I need space to- I am a weird one- love to come and find no one in- but like people there too.

lukewarm is better than hot- I still think cold

soap interesting, ketchup and water yes and health big yes- but they don't seem to care- nor do the husbands/ boyfriends which is also rather worrying no? unless they are thinking they'll have a new model by then!

Hi Wynie- oh yes going in the room except to drop things off/ borrow things is off limits. Tidying both freaky and stange- who has time to tidy their own room at University (or when grown up...) I hear you about leaving washing up- though we're all fairly relaxed about leaving it til the morning if there have been drinks

Hi MM- that soap dish does sound very clever- and RG make some lovely scents too.

So previous housemate basically thought 'food' was the crap then! SO WEIRD

Big M sounds like treasure and the perfect housemate!

Hi Fran- good attitude- perhaps I should try too- but the hot water thing makes me gag- and what if I clean my teeth with the latest John Freida hair thing. But yes admirable to give it a go- let me know how you find it!

Hi Sarah- welcome- am very jealous you live in Italy! I think that's it- knowing there are people there- that's why I quite like flats. Though am not a big Friends fan I think the living in a block with friends but not necessarily in the same flat as them thing is ideal- so basically I like living in much nicer versions of student halls with room for boyfriends, pets and bigger wardrobes!

lady jane grey said...

Had to laugh, becasue I'm guilty. I'm guilty in brushing teeth with (luke)warm water - it hurts when I use cold water. Plus I do it in the shower : cleansing face then washing teeth, hair and body - and then I'm ready with the whole washing part and continue off the shower with the moisturizing part - I found it the most effective and quick way for short mornings...
My sig.other uses soap in the shower, and sometimes I borrow his luxurious creamy soaps, which are never cracked and lay in a neat soap dish with holes, so they look & feel nice...
And of course, ketchup belongs into the fridge - and cans/tins don't...
And I'm a conscious cook and happy eater and can be really nasty with non-eaters :-(

Tania said...

Oh for goodness sake, it says on the ketchup bottle that it needs to be refridgerated after opening and used within whatever number of weeks. Can't people read? ;-)
Having said that, my mum never puts butter in the fridge. I know it needs to be taken out before use, or it is hard to spread, but she never puts it in at all! Yuck.

I 'live alone and like it', as the song says. I haven't shared a place since 1988, and I don't miss it. If I want company, it's easy to find. Having guests can be hard, though - that's when you find out how set in your ways you are, and that you talk to yourself or slurp your tea... ;-)

Charlotte said...

I agree with cold water for teeth, no to soap in the shower (do you wash all your bits with that same bar?), have to have a drink with dinner but don't keep ketchup in the fridge - I guess you should, you keep tomatoes in there don't you? But I assumed the vinegar in it would stop it going off?

Charlotte xx