Guys, it’s pretty clear that I live alone. I bought a house a little over a year ago, but I lived alone before that, too, in a rent house for three years. And while it took some adjusting (yes, I had to get a dog the second day I lived alone), I love it now.
However, I have to admit that there are some rather distinct changes that occur when you live alone.
Closet space is no longer a priority.
I have this room in my house that I use for when people come to stay with me or get hellas plastered at my house and need a nap before driving home. Most people would call it the guest room, but as a lover of language and a stickler for honesty, I prefer to call it my “clean laundry room.”
Dorrie likes to make sure all my outfits are complete with a classy layer of fine white poodle/terrier fur. So considerate.
You see, I use this room far more often to house my now-clean but as yet unfolded or hung up laundry. It’s one of the reasons I can get away with not needing a winter and summer closet, because all of my clothes don’t need to live in one place unless someone’s visiting and even then I can use the ottoman in my bedroom to hold the excess.
The truth is, when you’re the only person living in your house, why would you put stuff away when you KNOW you’re going to need it on Tuesday? You wouldn’t. Or, at least, I wouldn’t. And I don’t. I also tend to just toss my jeans over a sofa arm and grab them 2 days later to throw back on, so…there’s that.
Cooking a full meal means you eat forever.
Bro, it’s just you. And unless you’re still in college, that means that cooking goes beyond the microwave. So, yeah, you’re going to make a full meal at least once a month. Just make it something you like, because you’ll be taking leftovers to work for the next week no matter what.
Waste not, want not takes on a whole new meaning when you try to cook for one person. Even those of you cooking for two can kind of catch the pain. Except – EXCEPT – that the frozen food industry has figured out that lots of dudes need to pretend to be a good cook to impress ladies and they can’t all read well enough to make good use of Cook to Bang. Which means that they’ve provided skillet and other-type meals for two people. It’s like they’ve decided that all the best food should only be enjoyed by two or more people.
This is why there’s the giant phenomenon of cooking things in mugs lately. It’s not because we’re lazy or mug-obsessed, it’s because that means you can make a dessert for one person instead of twenty. There’s something very sad about making 2 dozen cookies and only eating one when they’re fresh.
I don’t need to make a full batch of cookies that will make me feel bad about myself because I only wanted one and now I’m wasteful, so OMG I’d better eat my feelings, quick! I think it’s even worse when you make one of those skillet meals I referred to above, because you’re like, “Oh eff, I’m going to die alone, but at least I have this deliciously bad for me pasta. It loves me, don’t you rigatoni?”
You start talking to yourself in strange ways.
I’ve always talked to myself, a lot fo the time it helps me think things through. In fact, you can see me at work, walking briskly down the hall, mumbling to myself when I’m not yelling at some kid to tuck in his shirt or keep his hands to himself. But that‘s not the problem. The problem is what I say when I’m at home with no one to judge me but my dogs. Cue another Liz Lemon clip…
Take one morning last week, for example. I was getting ready for the day, when I noticed myself saying out loud, “I know, body. I know you don’t like pants, but public opinion says you have to wear them.”
What the hell? Although, this does bring up another important point.
Sometimes you don’t wear pants.
Obvious, from the previous post, but I figured it bore saying anyway. I’m Phoebe in the following clip. Which means you can stop watching at :37, or you can keep watching for a brief glimpse at how every person who lives alone starts to spend time naked.
And yes, you have to be careful and make sure that you don’t lead your neighbors on. Get some shades, people.
Your tolerance for other people’s crap takes a sharp nose dive.
When you live with a roommate, you have to be tolerant of their eccentricities or you’ll kill each other. But because you live in close quarters, all those little things start to drive you slowly insane no matter how normal and healthy your relationship was before you entered into this roommate business. Of course, you could try to pull a Sheldon and write a roommate contract…but…that never works out. Too many changes and it can become a sticking point…
Just trust me. You’re better off without one.
So, when you’re faced with your non-roomie friends’ faults, they pale in comparison to the crap you have to ignore day in and day out. I remember one particular day, right in the middle of my senior year of college, when I was meeting a friend who was running, at this point, a full half hour late. Yeah, I was irritated, but I easily shrugged it off with this thought: “Yeah, sure, she’s late, but at least she doesn’t cut her pizza with scissors.”
See how that works?
Your tolerance for people, in general, goes down, too.
I love my friends to pieces. All of them. Especially the ones who live far, far away. That’s why I take so many trips up to NYC (and other parts of the country when I have the chance) to visit them! But usually, after two or three days of sleeping on their couch or in their guest room, I’m read to rip my hair out for a little alone time.
Think about it. I’m accustomed to approximately 4-6 hours of alone time a night during the week, because I’m a grandma teacher who tries not to go out when I have school the next morning. So to go from that to zero alone time? It’s a big difference.
So, I’ve been known to offer to run out to the corner store, or decide to do something that I KNOW they don’t want to do just for the solitude of a train ride or a brief stroll to get my bearings again. It’s not because I don’t love them, it’s because I live alone and apparently I love myself too much.
Traditional staples aren’t always in your home.
I like to play hostess, for some strange reason. And I always have to remember to go to the store for stuff I never, ever buy that other people like before they come over. Take, for example, the utter lack of quick breakfast food in my house – or occasionally any breakfast food at all. If someone’s coming to stay, I’m usually like, “Um, do I need to buy you cereal or something?”
It’s also important to understand that I don’t keep bread or orange juice, though you may easily find an assortment of fat-free, low-carb, gluten-free crackers and strange juice flavors like mango guava or cran-raspberry. And I’m stocked up on enough popcorn to last me through an all-out zombie apocalypse.
And it doesn’t stop in the pantry. Someone was over recently and asked me for a tissue, and I was all like, “Well, see, I’m allergic to the lotion that they put on tissues, so I actually don’t keep any, would you like a paper towel or toilet paper?”
There’s no one to shame you over your Netflix queue.
I know this may make living alone sound like the promised land, but trust me, it’s a slippery slope. I mean, yeah, I’m glad that I don’t have to be embarrassed that I keep Star Trek: Voyager and The Good Guys on my queue indefinitely. And Disney movies like Mulan. And horrid 90s films starring JTT (yes, I did just watch I’ll Be Home For Christmas while wrapping gifts, how did you know?).
But at this point, it’s not all ridiculously nerdy shows. Now, Netflix has a whole row of suggestions for called “violent crime TV dramas.” That’s just not okay. It’s less okay than when I had a whole lot of South Park-based rude cartoon comedy suggestions, or when it kept insisting that I would like the Doctor.
Sometimes, fear is healthy. And a fear of Netflix will help you keep your strange tastes in check.
You have no one to blame but yourself.
I feel like I’ve told the story about a million times now of how my former roomie and I thought we could use regular dish soap instead of detergent in our dish washer right before we moved out…obviously, as you’re all smarter and wiser than younger-us, you know how that turned out. And as ridiculous and embarrassing as it was, I think we both took consolation in the fact that it wasn’t all our fault, part of the blame lay with the other person, who also thought it was a good idea.
When you live alone and you fuck something up, it’s all on you. I mean, I can turn to my dogs and ask, “I can totally wilt this spinach in the same pot I just boiled water in, right?” but it’s still going to be my fault that I fucked up both my dinner and my cookware.
And really, that’s the most terrifying part of living alone: that it’s all you, baby. You’re a grown up now, how the hell did that happen?