Whether you are a gay man living in a populated place like New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, or a small city such as Raleigh or Camden there are a few rules to follow when sharing a living space with another gay man. Understanding these rules can make your living arrangement either a blissful experience or a nightmare from hell that could cost you financially.
Living with two other gay men, I believe my expertise on this subject is at an advanced level. Aside from the mandatory basic considerations such as cleanliness, here are some simple rules to follow so that you don’t lose your cool…or other random possessions. *sips ultimate sangria*
1. KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF
This includes but is not limited to clothing, boyfriends, food, dirty magazines and/or porno, lube, condoms, and anything that you do not have a receipt for. Being that most gays are oftentimes superficial, I can assume that your roommate would be perturbed if he came home to find you sporting his barely worn Nikes or even his All Saints button-up from last season. The fact that you may even look better in his clothes than him could inadvertently spark envy or a long-lasting competition. The general rule-of-thumb is to simply ask to use others’ belongings. Whether he says “yes” or “no”, you should be understanding and respectful.
2. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
It is easy to, at times, overhear (or eavesdrop) some of your roommates personal business or relationship secrets. *takes another sip* Overtime you may come to know your roommates family, friends and/or partner, therefore, you will have gained insight and an opinion on your roommate and his personal matters. I stress to you that it is NEVER okay to solicit your opinions on his relationship or dealings unless asked. If you have a negative opinion of how your roommate handles matters in his personal life, keep it to yourself or if you feel it necessary, express your distaste directly with him and NOT his friends.
3. PAY ON-TIME OR EXPRESS TO HIM ANY HARDSHIPS
Money can make or break any “roommateship.” If you do not have it, it can cause problems, and even if you have it, it still could cause problems, as your roommate may rely on you to contribute more to the household necessities. That’s another story. All your roommate should know about your finances is that you can or cannot pay the bills in a timely manner.
If you cannot, express to him or her any hardships that you may be facing so that he can better understand why you aren’t able to pay. I would hope that he would be sympathetic to any unexpected emergencies or detrimental obligations…but don’t try to get over on him by coming up with some sob story about a pair of shoes you wanted or an extreme bar tab you unknowingly accumulated while trying to impress some hot guy. You can assume that your unconvincing or pathetic sob story will be shared with his frequently visiting friends and or family, which will certainly cause some awkward tension. Assume that anything you express to your roommate will be shared with his friends and vice versa. This assumption is the perfect segue into my next rule.
4. ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT HIS FRIENDS ARE JUST THAT…..HIS!
As noted in rule #2, you may get to know many of your roommates’ buddies by proximity alone. It is very important to always remember that at the end of the day, your roommates friends hold loyalty with your roommate, not you. Anything you share with your roommates’ buddies will certainly telephone its way back to him, this includes any negative comments, love interests, fears, sexual-position (if he didn’t already know), number of people you bring over when he isn’t home, etc.
If your roommate(s) is like mine, you will host many drunken game nights of Truth or Dare, Circle of Death or 5 minutes of Heaven that could inevitably lead to you making out and/or sharing you “goods” with one of his friends. This is fine if you are content with your roommate finding out the market value of your “goods”. Please always assume that your business is never your own when engaging with your roommates accomplices.
5. KEEP IT IN THE BEDROOM
As a gold-star prude, I limit the explorations of my sexual behavior within the confines of my room where internet porn can be enjoyed alone. This is a courtesy to my roommates. I advise that everyone follow this rule when engaging in sexual acts with his partner or a random stranger that you met on Grindr to “host”. Once in your room, be aware of the acoustics.
If you live in NYC, I am willing to bet your walls are paper thin and allows the “audience” in your home a good aural image of what’s happening beyond your door. If you aren’t comfortable voyeurism, close your door and turn on some music (I find iTunes radio to be ideal when time and hormones do not permit me to customize a playlist). Again, any adventures you carry-out in your own bedroom are yours. However, please remember that your roommate may choose not to follow rule #2 and you could be victim of undeserved (or deserved) gossip.
6. CONTRIBUTE TO THE HOUSEHOLD VICES
Nothing is more assuring after a hard day that you are going to return home and relax with that glass of wine, mixed drink or cannabis. If you and your roommate enjoy the same indulgences, inquire about forming a budget to pool funds for these items. If he is a major pot-head and you are the occasional user, this will definitely not going to work.
In that case, just offer your roommate a few pulls every time you light one up or a glass of wine if you bring a bottle home. This is not only a common courtesy, but also serves as the peace offering to assure him that your relationship as roommates is going smoothly, despite any slight differences. Take my word, some of the best and open conversations occur with my roommate on the nights we both need a nice glass of Malbec. I am sure your roommate would appreciate it too.
If you are in a situation right now with a roommate and you are not sure how to approach him, feel free to send me a message on Cypher Avenue. Also, add any additional rules that you think may also be helpful in the comments section below!