1 roommate: You grow to have an embarrassing TV watching ritual together. There is one show that you figure you must be the only two people to watch so religiously. Sometimes you have to talk to their boyfriend when they’re not home. When you have parties, they lock themselves in their room and then end up remembering more about it than you did. You start competitive cleaning because there is no diffusion of responsibility about who cleans the ketchup stains off the fridge.
2 roommates: The TV ritual thing still applies. One of you is the “non-cleaning” roommate. One of you always has annoying friends over. You can usually make sure you get along by having house dinners with wine and candles.
3 roommates: Someone starts passive-aggressively leaving notes everywhere. Someone in the house never does their dishes, but you’re not sure who. Someone tells lies about someone else in the house not doing dishes because it is secretly them not doing dishes, ever. Lunch meat mysteriously disappears in the night. One of you flirts with a drug or drinking problem that leads to small messes in the living room. One day you might come home to “acid art.”
4 roommates: You are rarely alone. You can sit in your room and shut the door, but someone drunk will usually holler at you to come out. You classify your roommates by the type of food they cook and how it smells. You have high respect for the one who makes peanut sauce from scratch. Blizzards and floods become fun because you all sit in the living room together drinking from a selection of half-full hard liquor bottles and talking about whether or not rollerblades are sexy.
5 roommates: Sometimes there is an abundance of toilet paper, and no one knows quite where it comes from. Sometimes there is none and you have to mass text 5 people about a toilet paper-acquiring plan. The dominant gender in the house absolutely owns the TV, although this shouldn’t be and they feel bad about it. People’s food, liquor and juice disappears mysteriously and constantly. Facebook threads become a necessary source of peacekeeping. There is always that one person who insists you unplug all electronics while not in use.
–Becky Lang has lived in 5 different places in the last five years and has had over 30 roommates, if you count live-in significant others, subleasers and boyfriend’s houses she has half-lived at