For my past three years on campus, I’ve lived with entirely female roommates. This year, however, I have been staying at my sister’s off-campus house with her entirely male roommates. Here are some key differences I’ve discovered:
- Food Rules
At my all-girl household, food was a precious commodity. Everyone had their own food bin and their own shelf and drawer in the refrigerator — even our freezer was sectioned. If there was shareable food, it went on the kitchen table or a specially marked place on the kitchen counter.
Yes, there were fights about using other people’s food.
When I borrowed my roommate’s Sara Lee bread for a sandwich, I received a heated text about wasting her expensive bread. As a house, bananas were the only food we shared, but when people contributed less to buying bananas than others, harsh words were exchanged.
On the other hand, my sister’s all-male roommates have absolutely no problem sharing anything. Most days, she and I cook breakfast with them, pooling our resources to cook together. Nobody has “a shelf;” rather, all resources are pooled together by type (spices, perishables, candy, etc.).
If I want a pizza but didn’t buy one for the week, I can eat one of the boys’. Odds are, they are probably going to eat all of my cereal anyways.
At my all-female household, our home decor all matched. We had a blue and yellow color scheme, so all pillows, curtains, rugs and furniture were coordinated. Our mantle was decorated by a Boho photo wall complete with twinkling fairy lights and photos of the roommates together. Our fridge whiteboard — when updated — featured a calendar of our class schedules, cheer practices and other campus events.
At my sister’s house, decorations are used only for comedic value. The LED-lit living room is decked out in tapestries featuring misattributed political quotes and Pokémon. There is a broken brown recliner that likely predates everyone in the house, a cheap grey futon and a plush leather loveseat. The coffee table is from IKEA, and the TV stand was hand-crafted by somebody’s grandfather. An outdated Bradley marketing poster is hanging over the mantle, and the whiteboard in the center of the house features funny quotes, inappropriate drawings and a reminder about the dangers of eating undercooked food.
As much as I loved my old roommates, I did not hang out with them much, despite considering them all close friends. While we occasionally went to parties together and hosted house events as a group, we only really spent time together during our weekly grocery trip or while studying. Our house was always clean, and since we each had chores and expectations about picking up; we rarely had dishes in the sink.
Now, I spend almost every moment with my sister’s roommates. Whether we’re cooking, longboarding, napping or watching anime together, we do everything as a team. That being said, cleanliness is not really a focal point for the group. The floors are always sticky, and there are always dishes piled up in the sink.
Given the pros and cons of each group, I must say I prefer living with guys. However, this lifestyle is definitely not for everyone.