8 gross things about house-sharing

In this climate, sharing a house with others is a necessity. Especially if your climate is one in which you are: a) chronically single, b) poorly paid and c) addicted to ASOS.

But now that statistically 96.8% of everyone I know is settled down and starting to buy their own home, the novelty of house-sharing is wearing decidedly thin.

So here is a list of eight gross things about sharing a house in your 20s:

1) You can’t have a pet
I grew up with five cats, so to suddenly have none is fairly harrowing. If I see a cat on the street, I can barely contain myself and toddle after it like a fat kid chasing an ice-cream van. My neighbourhood cats are probably sick of me. They probably have a Facebook group where they warn other cats about me. After three years of being kitty-free, I have finally cracked. A few weeks ago, I typed ‘can you rent a cat’ into Google. And the answer is no, no you fucking can’t you crazy cat lady.

2) You have to sign a six-month contract
Your flat is covered in mould? Tough luck, you signed a six-month contract. Your flat has a recurring mouse infestation? Tough luck, you signed a six-month contract. Your flat is haunted by the ghost of King Henry VIII? Tough luck, you signed a six-month contract.

3) You have to live with other people
And sometimes these people are crazy. Sometimes they put cereal down the toilet. Sometimes they bring strange men with eyepatches home. Sometimes they wander around at 3am whistling to themselves. Sometimes they turn off the freezer so your food spoils. Sometimes they watch Harry Potter every single day, to the point where you know ‘doo doo doo doo dooooo doo doo doo’ will be the soundtrack if you ever end up in Hell.

4) Every time someone uploads a smug picture of their house on Facebook, you will do a little cry
Why (sob) can’t I (sob) buy loads of tat (sob) from Home Bargains (sob) with someone who loves (sob) me?.

5) You will become disproportionately resentful when your flatmates don’t do their chores in their allocated time
“Oh cool, you finish work early in the afternoon? Then WHY are you preparing a ten-course banquet five seconds before you know I’m coming home and need to cook my dinner?” you will snarl, before running to your room and slamming the door, crippled with hunger. Only you deffo won’t do this and will just sit politely on your bed starving to death until the coast is clear.

6) You can hear e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g
Whether it’s them flossing their teeth, turning the page of their book, or slagging you off to their boyfriend, you will hear it all. You will become a mystical entity, no sound too small or intimate for your eardrums. Your life will never be the same.

7) Everyone will inevitably have very different levels of personal hygiene
Things I am fairly laid back about: taking the bins out until they’re completely full, washing-up being left overnight, people not immediately moving their ironing. Things I am not so laid back about: raw meat dripped all over the kitchen, period stuff left in the bathroom, people saying “I use my own shower mat, so I don’t have to do any of the cleaning.” U wot mate.

8) You have to act like a normal human being most of the time
If my flatmate goes away for the weekend, I lie in bed naked, covered in crumbs, like a flabby little prawn toast. No clean clothes? No problemo. Want five slices of pizza and half a can of cold baked beans for breakfast? Treat yourself, Charlotte. But when she is here I have to do loads of gross stuff, like use cutlery and get dressed and not repeat adverts back in an opera voice. Ugh.

It’s OK if your 20s haven’t gone to plan
kid

So young. So full of hope.

Being 26 is a curious thing. And by curious, I mean bewildering, soul-destroying and occasionally absolutely terrifying. It’s a ‘nothing’ age. You’re neither young nor old. You’re like an awkward fringe you can’t quite grow out.

When I was younger, I thought that people in their twenties were adults, they had their shit together, they were O-L-D. But now I realise that they weren’t old at all. They were like me. A child trapped in an adult’s body, squeaking desperately for someone to come and rescue them.

Over time, I have learnt that life isn’t like one of those Goosebumps books where you can sneakily flick to the alternative endings and pick the one where you don’t get eaten by a mutant sponge. It’s scary and unpredictable, and you just have to roll with it.

So here is a list of 7 things I thought I would have going for me in my mid-20s that I seriously, seriously don’t:

1.I thought I would be married with at least one kid by now.

I used to think that people who were still single in their late twenties had some kind of icky, gross malady that prevented suitors from wanting to put a ring on it. But sometimes relationships just don’t pan out the way you hope they will. And sometimes it’s for the best. Plus I am definitely not ready for offspring. I had to hold a baby at a wedding last month and I hated every second of it.  Between trying to look maternal, all I could think was ‘why won’t it blink?’ and ‘why does it not cry when people pick it up by its armpits when I cry if I catch my bingo wing on a door frame?’

2. I thought I would be a sex goddess by now.

I still don’t have a clue what I’m doing. It’s like trying to assemble an IKEA wardrobe. WHERE DOES THIS BIT GO? WHAT DO I DO WITH THIS WEIRD LITTLE LEFTOVER THING?! My predicament is not helped by frantically reading bizarre sex tips in women’s magazines. Instead, I am left with further performance anxiety after discovering that I can’t quite pull off rubbing cocoa beans over my lover’s scrotum while in the Grab Your Coat You’ve Pulled a Cheeky Flamenco position.

3. I thought I would understand bills and general life crap by now.

I do not understand bills and general life crap.

4. I thought I would be a stunnah by now.

The one thing I clung to when I was a teenager and my hair was greasy and I had no boobs and developed a moustache was that one day I would be peng. One day, puberty would wave her magic wand, release me from this sarcophagus of 4-out-of-10-ness and rebirth me as a beautiful butterfly. But if anything, I am grosser now than ever. I have fat in places I didn’t even know you could have fat. I am spottier. I am hairier. I am scalier. I am basically turning into an armadillo.

5. I thought I would be on the property ladder by now. 

One of the many perks of being a journalist is that I earn way below the average graduate salary. Like if the graduate salary was a bus, I would be running after it panting. If the graduate salary was Leonardo DiCaprio, I would be being restrained by a security guard after trying to stroke its face. If the graduate salary was a Snitch, I would be chasing it on a mop. So unless I immediately marry a Russian oil tycoon, I shan’t be owning my own house anytime soon.

6. I thought I would stop getting ID’d by now.

When I got the A Level results I needed to get into university but couldn’t celebrate with my two friends at Ko-Ko’s in Rochdale town centre because I didn’t have ID and had the face of a Cabbage Patch Kid, I was fuming. “You will pay for this,” I vowed, as thunderstorms cracked in the midnight sky. I considered writing to Parliament. I considered a dirty protest. I considered launching my own charity to help other victims. But now, it’s the opposite. As I inch closer to 30, looking young is a compliment. In fact, I am offended if people don’t ID me. “Wait, don’t you want to verify my age?” I want to cry indignantly. “Don’t you think I’m too young-looking to be purchasing this alcoholic beverage?” I reach into my bag. “I have ID. Check my ID. Please,” I beg, before slamming my driving licence, passport, birth certificate and 22-week ultrasound scan onto the counter.

7. I thought I would have outgrown my ‘awkward phase’ by now.

Chink chink. The sound of glass tinkling, a champagne cork popping. Laughter. Schmoozing. Another glamorous cocktail party organised by yours truly. So, this one didn’t pan out. Mainly because I don’t live in the 1980s, but also because I am still super awkward.

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It was Adam and Georgia’s first date. They’d chosen a cosy little Italian in the exclusive district of Kensington, London. They’d cracked a joke about oysters, Adam had done his spiel about being different to all the other guys, Georgia had made it clear that she wasn’t the kind of girl that slept with men on the first date but had trimmed down below just in case, they’d shared a slightly cold garlic baguette. Now it was time to get down to the nitty-gritty.

“Can we have the bill, please?” Adam asked the waiter, leaning back confidently in his chair.

Georgia smiled coquettishly, fingers stroking the flute of her wine glass. “I’ve had a great time, thank you.”

Their eyes met briefly over the flickering candlelight.

The waiter appeared between them both, coughing politely. “The bill.” He cleared a space between them, clutching the paper in his slender, tanned hands.

Adam and Georgia both paused momentarily.

The waiter nodded knowingly. He’d seen this scene play out more times than he could count.

Placing the bill flat against the table with his right hand, he felt under the table with his left – hesitating when he felt the lever. With one firm twist of his fingers, he yanked the lever down.

The table creaked and shuddered before the centre rose majestically to reveal a glass case of weapons.

Probably should have mentioned this earlier, but it is now the year 3067. Men and women fight to the death for the bill, for their honour, for the love of their countrymen.

As trumpets sounded and diners pushed their chairs back in anticipation, Adam and Georgia lunged forward and grabbed their respective weapons. Adam went for a sword, whilst Georgia rather twistedly selected a flail.

After a gruesome seven-hour battle it was pronounced a draw and they coughed up £46.80 each, including a tip.

Adam and Georgia now live in Surrey with their four children and a Labrador Border Collie cross named Oscar. They laugh about their first date now. Oh, how they laugh.

THE END