The Better Roommate

A Very Messy Room

I once visited a friend at his very first apartment. “The pad of all bachelor pads,” the one bedroom + living room + bathroom + microwave was his sanctum, a spatial rendition of his independence, which he loved to scatter with crusty plates, liquor bottles, graying miscellaneous articles of clothing, and tissues I didn’t want to know anything about. His messiness was like his symbol of Don’t-Give-A-Fuck manhood. As he watched me maneuver around the expanse of clutter and furniture, he proudly chirped, “Sorry ‘bout the mess! It’s just not a girl’s room.”

Well, gentlemen who believe that ladies keep their rooms perpetually dusted and vanilla-scented: I encourage you to keep dreaming. From my roommate experience with both sexes, I will take a boy over a girl any day. At least men don’t smear mascara on your towels, pile up exorbitant amounts of shoes and clothing everywhere (i.e. on your bed, in the tub, in the kitchen cabinets), or shed like a Wookiee. That’s only the tip of the iceberg.

For the guys attending Rutgers University next fall, you can investigate this for yourselves: come next fall, the school’s new pilot program that will allow students to live in the same dormitory room with the opposite sex. They will be joining one of the many schools today that offer gender-neutral housing plans —University of Maryland, Columbia University, and Ohio University, to name a few.

Campus officials say that this program was developed to make the New Brunswick campus a gay-friendlier environment —a response to last semester’s suicide of freshman, Tyler Celementi, who became the victim of online bullying.  Arguments are being raised to whether this change will actually be effective in reducing harassment of LGBT members or if co-ed housing will induce “reckless” behavior.

I personally believe this option of gender-neutral living arrangements should go without saying regardless of the LGBT element. The importance is in the choice, the right to feel comfortable in the place you live.

I’ve made it clear above and to every person I share my roommate nightmares with that I would rather live with boys; other girls may disagree, and would rather not shave their legs in the presence of a male —that’s fine too.

Transgender Rutgers senior, Aaron Lee, made this point even clearer, when he responded to the program by stating, “We live in a world where in order to be considered a human being you have to be male or female, and not everyone fits into that kind of binary. It’s important to have spaces where people don’t necessarily have to worry.”

It’s a taxing enough experience to have to share roaming space with another human being —might as well make it one that’s bearable!

-youmi park


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