February 17, 2008

The Party House - or How I Grew a Spine

Living in a dorm sucks. Sure, it is great to have that opportunity to meet new people and share your interests and catch that bug that's going around, but at the end of the day, it really sucks to see a gob of hair that isn't yours clogging the shower drain, little tendrils of gross tickling your toes.

After my year of dorm living was up, I moved into a house with some friends of mine. Before I continue, I'm one of 'those' girls- the one whose friends are all male. I think I have maybe one female friend. Most of the time, when I meet another girl who is like me, we usually squeal and giggle about how much we hate girls (those catty bitches), that guys are soooo easygoing, we should really hang out and go for coffee sometime. Which never happens.

Anyway, I moved into this house with four guys. It was a huge house, two stories, gigantic addition in the back, two kitchens, five bedrooms, blahblahblah. Ok, so the carpets were a little worn-down and there was hideous Laura Ashley floral wallpaper on 'accent' walls, but it was our house and we were finally living like adults.

In reality, I think we all had a different idea of what living there would be like. For me, it was a sanctuary, a place to hang out with my closest friends without crossing the front stoop, the place where I'd really get my act together with the studying thing. For them, it was a place to party and smoke weed without worrying about the R.A. knocking on the door.

It was pretty naive of me to expect 19-20 year old guys, living on their own for the first time, to think about things like taking out the trash or throwing away the moldy steaks they left in the fridge. It drove me crazy, trying to keep things clean and in relative order. When I introduced a system of emptying/running the dishwasher when we first moved in, they thought it was crazy and said that everyone would just pitch in and do what needed to be done. After about three months, they grudgingly admitted that no one in their right mind would stop and empty the dishwasher when there was an A-Team marathon on.

Then there was the partying. With a house that size and that close to campus, it was pretty perfect for partying (elderly neighbors be damned!). Most people were grateful to get out of their cramped apartments and get some elbow room.

What became a problem, however, was people coming over at all hours of the day. Friends of the guys that lived there, people I knew but wasn't particularly close to, would show up at 11 a.m. and just walk in the front door. Once I awoke from a nap and walked downstairs to find two friends of ours playing a video game. No one else was home and they hadn't bothered to think to come back another time.

There were parties every weekend- not small, close affairs, either. Two kegs and half the student body would show up. Then came the beer pong table in the living room, and it wasn't just a handful of times I'd have to go downstairs at 2 a.m. on a Wednesday to ask them to keep it down.

After a while, I did something I never in a million years thought I would do- I started to grow a spine. Quiet pleadings to 'try to stay quiet' turned into 'look, faggots, it's Tuesday, go home'. Once, when my roommate and I had a small birthday party (we invited maybe 20-25 people and told them not to bring a bunch of friends), one of the regular party crashers, 'Sven', showed up. We let him in, as he was good to hang out with, when 30 minutes later the doorbell rang. I opened up the door to a couple of overly made-up girls and a handful of douchy-looking boys. I asked them who called them and they said 'Sven' had. Before I could say anything, they walked straight into the house and into the kitchen, opening the fridge and asking for beer.

I calmly shut the door and went to the kitchen. "I'll have to ask you guys to leave."

They stared at me, uncomprehendingly, as if I were speaking French. "No, I'm serious, this is a private party and we invited some close friends."

Still, they hesitated, not sure if this plain, short girl was serious. Then I said the phrase that would serve me so well for the next few months: "Get the fuck out."

All of my life I've been very timid; if my order was wrong at a restaurant, I'd shut up and eat it. If someone pushed me out of the way or cut in a line, I'd look the other way. There's a lot to be said for turning the other cheek, but I'm no holy man and sometimes you can't let people walk all over you.

The rest of my time at the house was a lot more comfortable, and the parties were kept under better control. See how you feel after the third group of party hoppers (people who drive around town and show up at strangers' parties once the host is drunk) walks in your house, tracking mud in and not bothering to find out who lives there. There were many people I pissed off, I was called a bitch and some other not-so-nice names. The people who were our friends and especially my other roommates were grateful someone stood up and said what they were all secretly hoping to say.

It's so damn nice to have my own apartment, though.

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