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.