[Pro-nounce how-ev-er you want]
A house that used to be a home (typically near a body of water), that some unsuspecting family decided they would rent as a side-hustle to a nice group of girls, that has since been taken over by upwards of 20-40 coed human bodies and possibly a dog despite the very clear contractual agreement in bold which states: no more than 5 people allowed at a time; no more than 2 cars in the driveway. Zero dogs.
But let’s ignore the technical illegality of most share houses — you’re not supposed to split an all-you-can-eat salad bar plate among friends either and you don’t see me calling the cops on you — and instead focus on returning to life post-share (abbreviated as LPS going forward).
Waking up in a bed without three fellow sleepers sandwiching you in a head-to-foot-to-head arrangement should typically not be cause for alarm or confusion, but in the first week that follows LPS, anything involving cleanliness, normalcy, alone time or comfort can and will throw you off.
How to cope: Purchase extra pillows to take up a lot of space in your own bed. It is helpful to spray each one with a different, suffocating perfume. Each night, remove one pillow. By the end of two weeks you’ll feel right as rain.
There are two speeds when it comes to eating in a share house: starvation mode, and late night pizza binging. There is no in-between. There are almost never snacks. A blessed morning is one that involves an angelic house guest who decided to wake up early and grab everyone iced coffees and bagels, but this only happens when said guest is trying to win the heart of a share house roommate.
How to cope: you’ll find that the body returns to a normal eating schedule rather quickly, but the violent cravings for pizza and the hot-cheese burn on the roof of your mouth take at least 2 months to go away. Suffer through this one. Suffer through.
Your body is now accustomed to copious amounts of beer, vodka, tequila, Fireball and Gatorade. Getting a buzz is hard LPS, but actually enjoying drinking again is harder.
How to cope: stop treating drinking like an obligation and soon your love of a rosé buzz will return. There is no rush, only month-delayed hangovers.
4) Hooking up:
You may find it awkward to romance someone without 10 other people sleeping in the same room after LPS. How are you supposed to whisper sweet nothings into the ear of a new dalliance without a chorus of snores from your bedmates (see #1)?
How to cope: much like we adjust to peaceful fall slumber without the lull of summer’s crickets, kissing-and-then-some sans roomies will eventually feel normal again too. In fact, you might even remember that you miss privacy. So much so that you’ll also do things like close the bathroom door! However, if it helps, turn the TV on to CNN or something similar in the meantime.
This you will miss more than anything, but you’ll run around and lie by saying, “The summer was great but I won’t miss the drama.” That’s okay, denial is totally normal, and LPS tends to be a lot more quiet without all of the ceramic hair straighteners lying around that are just asking to be stepped on and broken.
How to cope: avoid picking fights out of habit by reminding yourself that the strangers on your morning commute probably have no idea who borrowed your skirt, nor do they care who Beard Guy is. Still, expressing yourself is important; not doing so can lead to repressed anger, so if you feel the need for drama coming on, slap on a Flash tat and call it a day.
The only thing I can’t help you with is the dirt on the bottom of your feet. That you’re stuck with, possibly forever. It’s the Ghost of Share House Past.
Images shot by Slim Aarons