As men around the world pledge themselves to the idea of romanticism, I want to take a moment to reflect on some pragmatic issues regarding life with the finer sex. One might think that the collective wisdom passed down to men through cultural means would prepare us for co-habitation, but I’m discovering that nothing substitutes for empirical knowledge of women and their habits.
At boarding school and college, I have learned many things about sharing a room, bathroom, and house with others. But, in each of these instances, my roommates and housemates have been male. I have grown so accustomed to life among 30 guys in a house that less rowdy and disordered environments seem strange.
This Spring, I chose to sublet a small apartment with two girls–and good friends–from my architecture class. I arrived to Collegetown before the others and decided to act preemptively against the girliness that I expected to ensue. The purple wall of plastic in the bathroom needed to be removed, so I replaced it with a new shower curtain from Target with a pattern of cars, trucks, and helicopters.
When the girls arrived, they retaliated with a whole host of female products and household supplies. With help from a visiting mother, they cleaned the entire house–using Clorox in places that I never thought Clorox could go. None of this challenged my masculinity as much as the decorated nameplates that they made for our three doors. Visitors to my room are now welcomed by miniature pink pom-poms and googly eyes on a wooden letter “T.”
After a few weeks in the apartment, there is much that remains to be learned about living with girls. A retroactive cleaning schedule just appeared in our bathroom with my name next on the list. Friendly notes have begun to populate our walls, suggesting that the immaculate cleanliness of our house will now be a group effort. I’d like to think that this experience will prepare me for marriage sometime in the future. And when the girls grow frustrated with me, I like to remind them that someday they might have husbands that need training too.