"I told my friend WJ that if the camera store where she worked ever chucked out the life-sized cardboard cut-out of Bill Cosby, I would take it home. True to her word, after a small fire at the store, she dumped Bill off, covered in extinguisher foam. At first all five roommates took turns hiding him—you never knew if he'd pop out of your bed, or if you'd find Bill behind the shower curtain. But after the novelty wore thin, Bill became the communicator of roommate woes. Instead of dealing directly with crusty dishes or dirty sink, we would post notes on Bill and let him do our dirty work." S.F.
"My experience of living in a house with five other females was particularly volatile due to one individual. Let's just say she had more testosterone than some men I know. It all started with the dirty gym socks she left in the entryway to greet our visitors, for over a month. It seemed as though she thrived on coming up with new ways to make me vomit. We've all heard the typical story of roommates leaving dishes in the sink for days, but this story beats them all. She'd leave dishes in the sink for a week, as usual, but the icing on the cake was the casserole dish she burned pork chops in. She left the charred remains soaking on the countertop for about three weeks. Gross. One day, I came into the kitchen to find the burnt dish GONE! I had a glimmer of hope that she'd actually found the energy to clean the mess. It was about two months later when I was doing a bit of light cleaning myself that I came upon a torn-up Sobeys bag underneath the sink. Inside the bag was the burnt casserole dish, still burnt, still filled with rotting meat and to top it all off, a small rodent was feasting on the remains." D.O.
"This was his first time living on his own, he was a second-year university student, his parents did everything for him...cook, clean, buy food, laundry, etc. His room was beside mine. He would play his music loud, leave his dirty sweaty sports clothes all around the common areas. He had NO idea that dishes were washed by people and not some magical dish fairy or house elf. Me and the other roommates tried being subtle, from polite Post-Its on dirty dishes and his various stinking things left around.
Enough was enough, we had to take matters into our own hands. He had a date one night, he cooked her a meal at the flat. Afterwards he left the dirty dishes, uneaten food on the kitchen counter. We took all those dirty dishes, pots and pans, and food and put them in his bed. After he and his date came home, and decided to "get it on," he found the dishes and such in his bed. He put them on the table outside his door. They stayed there for days until we washed them ourselves because they stank.
In the bathroom he would often leave his shaved whiskers in the sink, use half a roll of toilet paper in one trip, use all of our shampoo, etc. So. Enough was enough. We put onion salt on his toothbrush several times. He didn't notice. Finally, after he used most of my expensive shampoo I snapped. I urinated in the shampoo bottle, there was only about an inch left of shampoo, I shook it all up to mix it in. I bought new shampoo that I kept in my room. He continued to use the urinated shampoo. He never clued in. I never told him.
I went to get my wisdom teeth out. When I got home later I found out he had ransacked my room looking for something he had left at the gym. I was furious. I called his mother. She came into town with his uncle's truck, packed up his stuff, gave us a cheque and took him home for the summer. To this day, I have never seen him again." B.W.
"I lived with five girls last year, which was a big mistake. Our house morphed into a war of three against two—fortunately I was on the team with the upper hand. I have many stories, but I'll stick with one. The biggest bitch of the house wrote her exam schedule on her door and insisted that it had to be extremely silent during this time period. Fine, we all complied. When her exams ended, however, she proceeded have people over until five in the morning, partying and the like, right before my best friend's early morning exam. When I went to confront her about it, she screamed in my face and cussed me out before slamming a door in my face. Take it from me, five girls in one house is four too many." C.B.
Piss and shout
"After one of our friends backed out at the last minute, we were stuck with an extra room to sublet for the year. We ended up having four different roomies but none stood out quite like the first. For the sake of brevity I will section her oddities/annoyances into two distinct categories: the usual, and the clinically insane. Sure, she pulled the "usual' crappy roommate shtick such as bouncing all her rent cheques, eating everyone else's food, stealing anything not chained to the wall, and never keeping a job longer than a week.
What truly set her apart from the usual suspects was her near-insane need for attention, love and more attention. Being the cool chicks we are, we attempted to befriend the poor dear, but with truly embarrassing consequences. For example, she took to pissing herself in public. While she preferred to do it AT THE BAR, any street corner where people were watching would do. Her preferred attire for this activity was our other roommate's most expensive dresses.
She also had a penchant for older men (she had just turned 19) and one night managed to secure us a ride home from the bar by offering to have sex with a rickshaw driver. "Rickshaw Ron" was 35 and had two kids but he knew a good deal when he came across one. Unfortunately their love wasn't meant to last as a long line of guys paraded through our apartment that summer, from her "best friend's' boyfriend to this creepy guy who walked around the apartment naked and had to be asked to put pants on.
The final straw came when she decided her usual mix of weed, alcohol and seizure medication wasn't enough and began snorting crushed heart medication (not hers) off of our other roommate's computer desk. She was so out of it that she couldn't even be bothered to clean up and put away the spoon. To this day she hasn't paid so much as a cent in rent, even after we served her with court papers. Ahhh, the joys of the last-minute sublet." J.R.
Excerpts from a 34-point note sent to a former roommate:
2. Your rent was always late and it was not paid in full.
4. You used the dishes and baking ware that we provided to you and often did not clean them, left them to ruin, or left them for someone else to clean because you were too busy rushing out the door to go party when you had all day off. If you have all day off, do something more than try to find someone, anyone to hang out with that night that just so happens to have a car and is willing to pick your lazy ass up.
22. Your friends have no right to use and mess up our bathroom. You have your own, it's part of your room. Also, if they are going to be putting fruit remains in our garbage can, have them removed before they rot. While we're on the subject...
23. Fruit flies. Need I say more?
25. We were quite upset that you didn't buy us anything for Christmas worth more than $3. It's not the money really, but $1.50 each, that's just insulting. We noticed that week you borrowed money from your current fling to go out and party. I hope you did buy a self-help book at Chapters like you said you were planning.
29. When people have to work very early in the morning, like at 5am, it's not very nice to have your loud-mouthed boyfriend chatting with you all night, take it somewhere else. Like his mom's house where he still lives...
30. The clogged toilet thing, you got off easy on that one. Plumbing and property damage is a lot more important than rushing out the door to hang out with your friends. Prioritize.
33. The comment you made about being the type of person who can't live with someone is something you should take serious consideration of. How are you going to continue living your faux Sex and the City lifestyle if your goal in life is to find a man you can live with, and if you are not the type of person that can actually live with someone?" B.M.
"All of my roommates have gone away for the summer, leaving me alone in my house with a subletter. This would be fine, except that the subletter has the endearing habit of crying, more or less, daily, for reasons beyond my comprehension. Again, there would be no problem, except that she has developed the rather impressive ability of timing her crying to coincide exactly with the moment that I am in my deepest, most peaceful sleep. I might still be capable of pity were in not for the additional fact that all of this crying is generally done within two inches of my face. Imagine the disconcerting feeling that results from being woken prematurely by a girl crying two inches from your face. That I can think of nothing comforting to say only exasperates her tears, giving me cause to wonder if "regular flooding' is grounds for breaking my lease." S.C.
"I had a bad roommate, who claimed that because I was a girl, he did not have to buy any toilet paper. I was angered as I had bought all of the t.p. for the past while, and later I saw him sneaking to the toilet with a roll tucked behind his back. Smooth, very smooth." P.L.
"My first university roommate's name was Bunny—that's what appears on her birth certificate. To compensate for her cuddly name, Bunny decided that her daily uniform would be combat boots and a Vietnam flight jacket. When I first showed up with my luggage, she had already hung a knife and a photo of herself with a snake around her neck above her bed. Bunny "suggested" that I leave on weekends when her boyfriend would come for conjugal visits. Sometimes he wouldn't leave after I came back late Sunday nights and I'd have to listen to the boisterous animal love. Then she got pregnant (Bunny, get it?) and I moved out of residence." S.F.
"For some reason—I can't remember why now—my roommate and I were in a fight and we hadn't spoken for a couple of weeks. Anyway, he was an editor at a local news network that carried American tabloid TV shows. This was during the time of the Paul Bernardo trials, when there was a Canadian television blackout on the legal proceedings, and so the details of his horrific crimes were unavailable here, but could be reported in the States. One day I came home and found an unmarked videotape outside my door (I'd been spending all my home-time in my room). When I put the tape in the VCR, it was an American broadcast without the edits. I think he thought this was a peace offering, but as a single young woman, it felt more like a creepy threat from a potential copycat." K.C.
"My roommate's girlfriend lived out of town. Instead of moving into the city for her job, she stayed at our place every night rent-free. She never paid a bill and had more closet and toiletry space than the two of us combined. The funny thing is that this couple hated each other and would often get into physical scraps in front of other people, at bars, restaurants, parties. He was just too lazy or scared to break up with her—he preferred to sit in front of the TV and watch Cops. (He would even make a habit of taking the remote control into the washroom with him so you couldn't change the channel while he was gone, but that's a story for another time). C.F.
"Anyway, we also shared the apartment with his fat cat. The cat was fat because my roommate insisted on overfeeding it. A lot. I suggested to him that it was too much but he got mad at me for getting into his feline business. So anyway, one glorious weekend, he and the girlfriend decided to take off. That is, of course, when the cat got sick and went into some kind of shock. I took it to the vet, who said that it was ill as a direct result of the weight and I was negligent for over feeding. Ahem. The vet didn't think that the cat was going to make it through the night so I had to track down my roommate and let him know. He asked how much it was going to cost. Miraculously, the cat survived through the night and woke up fine the next morning. The vet left me with strict dietary instructions. When roomie and his girlfriend finally came home the next afternoon, the girlfriend—who had never paid attention to the damn cat before—took one look at me, screamed in agony like I was some kind of killer, and ran into the bedroom bawling. She dramatically wept for the rest of the afternoon. I moved out shortly afterwards. I hope that the cat made it, but not their relationship. C.F.
The new roommate looks like the Jigsaw Killer from Saw. If you look for a new pad, click here.