Disclaimer. . . .

Dearest ex-roommate of mine: Yes, this is kind of a strange thing to do, bitching to the faceless world of the Internet about stuff that went on in our home without telling you I was going to do it. Underhanded, maybe. Mean? I think not. In any case, I do apologize if this page upsets you, should you ever read it. For the record, I'd like it to be known that I have nothing against your personality or who you are. I liked you, in fact. But your housekeeping habits, I must say, SUCK. And they suck hard. This is what this page is about. Try not to take it personally, if that's possible.

I've heard that bachelors can be among the most disgusting housekeepers on the planet. I did not know it was possible to be this gross, or this negligent of hygiene, or this unwilling to cooperate on matters regarding household duties.

The dishes

I'd ask him to do his dishes. He'd nod. Then wouldn't. I'd ask him again. He'd apologize and say he'd do them. He wouldn't. If I asked him again sometimes he would do the ones he thought might be his. Unfortunately he had a bit of a problem remembering what was his.

What he said What he meant
Sure, I'll do my dishes. I'll wait until you remind me again.
Sure, I'll do my dishes. I'll do the ones I used in the last hour or so. Anything before that dates beyond my memory and is therefore no longer mine.
Sure, I'll do my dishes. When I remember to, I'll rinse some of them under the faucet and put them in the clean rack with gunk still on them. But I'll only do their fronts. Dishes don't have backs, you know.
Sure, I'll do my dishes. It's not healthy to do dishes until they collect a nice layer of dust. I'll wait.
Sure, I'll do my dishes. Okay, but does that include pots, pans, forks, knives, spoons, cups, or plates? If so then count me out.
Sure, I'll do my dishes. Why don't I just let you do them again?

Here is a lovely drawing of our kitchen.

(Also, here is a rare photo of him actually in the process of washing a dish. It doesn't quite count, though, because at the time he was packing to move out and the dish was his, and he needed to take it with him in a few moments. It would not do to transport the attached food and grime; that would be left as a present for us on the stove.)

The Bathroom

His bathroom was a filthy biohazard. There was some sort of unidentifiable red mold growing on the toilet. Or something. (Observe here.) The bathtub had a lovely caking of dirt on it. (Observe here.) The floor was grimy. There was a great amount of food and reading material stacked in there. It smelled bad. I don't think I can do much more than offer a photo of his bathroom to explain this . . . there are no words to convey how horrid it was. What is worse is that at the beginning of the year he was using our bathroom because he didn't have a shower curtain. ("JW, get a shower curtain." "Okay." [weeks pass] "JW, get a shower curtain." "Oh, shit, I forgot. I'll get one." [more weeks pass] "JW, here's a shower curtain. You'll need to get some rings." "Okay. Sure." [more weeks pass] "JW, here's your shower curtain rings. Hang the damn thing up and stop bathing in our bathtub." [This involved taking the two dead roaches out, but he did it.]) So, life went on, and my roommate Mia and I kept his bathroom door shut as often as possible so its filth could not leak out and destroy us. When he finally moved out, he made a half-assed attempt to clean it. I must say he got the sink clean. I'm not sure what was up with leaving the bathtub full of bleach water for a weekend. In any case, when he was done it looked like this, which as you can see was not exactly squeaky. My new roommates Ammy and Melissa cleaned it themselves (wearing gloves, of course) and then proceeded to deduct nearly half of his deposit. I think that it was justified.

The Common Areas

Well . . . where to start? He thought our living room was his bedroom. (Eww eww eww, I have a picture of his bedroom, too!) He ate there, often slept there . . . and he left signs of his presence everywhere. Dirty socks. Food wrappers. Dishes and coffee cups. Half-full water glasses on the floor or couch cushions. Shoes. Books. Wadded up paper.

List of things I have found in my couch as a result of my roommate's occupance

  1. Cheez-Its fragments
  2. Socks
  3. Textbooks
  4. A very large and heavy chain
  5. Remote controls
  6. Pennies, dimes, and quarters (so it ain't all bad)
  7. Pens and pencils
  8. Important-looking school papers
  9. Hairballs
  10. Bugs (probably from the food in there)
  11. Unnamable filth

It is also not as if we hadn't asked him to keep his crap out of there. If that was him keeping his crap out of the living room, I'd hate to see what he'd do unhounded. This is my graphical representation of what our living room looked like during his stay as a result of his mess. If you'd seen the real thing you'd be amazed that I wasn't exaggerating. The time came when he was finally packing to move out. ::The goddess of cleanliness sings in relief:: There was a period of about two weeks when there were boxes all over the house because he and my other roomie were moving, and I dealt with it as long as I could and then I cleaned the house. My living room was spotless, as you can see. JW was out of town while I did this, so I thought I was safe. But then he came back to finish his packing. Guess what appeared within thirty minutes of his return? Click to find out.

His bedroom

Not my business, of course . . . it WAS his personal space. Of course, I had to venture in there several times to find out where all of our coffee cups were disappearing to. (I always found my answer there.) I am *so* amazed we never had much of a bug problem. Once I almost stepped on a cheeseburger that was lying on the floor. Oh, sure, his room was messy, as you can see here and here. (Not the same pictures as above.) Well, not like my room was always spotless (as you can see), but it was not habitually filthy and you could see the floor once in a while. . . . However, I began to notice a strange pattern. Cheez-Its boxes. EVERYWHERE.

The Cheez-Its Challenge!

Can you guess how many Cheez-Its boxes are hidden in this picture?


Click your answer!

Good luck.

Inconsiderate behavior

If all the other things don't fall under inconsiderate behavior, here is a whole new category for that. So maybe he's just not a neat person, right? Well, he was also oblivious of others' rights, it seems . . . and what's odd is that I honestly don't think he did any of these things on purpose. Let's go first to the subject of swiping my shite.

Where'd I put that?

"I had it a minute ago . . . oh, shit, you don't think he. . . ." "Well I've looked everywhere else, where could it be?" "I'll hold my breath and go look . . . you watch my back and if I faint, drag me out and call the ambulance." Things that were missing turned up in my roommate's bedroom or bathroom an inordinate amount of the time. It was mostly books or other interesting reading material that would make its way to his bathroom and NEVER COME BACK. And seeing as how venturing into his room was a dangerous business, my stomach turned over whenever I realized I used to have this book on the shelf and now it was missing. Also leaving its assigned position at regular intervals was my laundry key. I believe it escaped to another state with one of his friends, since he kidnapped it and lent it out, then neglected to return it to its rightful position on my keyring. This was all a result of complete spaceheadedness; it was not outright thievery or an attempt to steal my shite. He'd hide it better if it were that. But I still considered it a violation of personal space, you better believe it.

More inconsiderate behavior

The list of sins is difficult to recall. Let's begin with the phone. He never answered the other line. He'd go outside with the phone and then not want to get up to go inside and push the phone's button. People could call and call and call and he would never let them through, and then he would claim that he was not aware anyone was trying, or something like that. I find it impossible to figure out how he missed that loud annoying beep. I personally did not miss any calls this way (to my knowledge), but Mia, my other roommate, certainly did. Also having to do with the phone: The bill. He wouldn't mark it correctly when I asked him to note which calls were his. Unless specifically asked to do so, he did not look at the back of the phone bill. (Everyone knows phone bills don't have backs.) Even then sometimes he wouldn't. Also, he would ignore certain calls that he marked on last month's, or mark calls that weren't even his. It was almost random sometimes, I swear. God. Anyway.

The inconsiderate behavior pop quiz!

Question 1:

    "Hey JW? Don't leave town without leaving your check for the rent, okay?"
    What happens next?
    A. He leaves me a check for the right amount of money.
    B. He leaves a note saying he will send it to me from Tampa.

Question 2:

    "JW? Take your beer bottles off the porch."
    Who ends up cleaning up the porch?
    A. College Park
    B. JW

Question 3:

    "JW? Could you put my guitar back when you're done playing it?"
    What does he do when he is finished playing my guitar?
    A. Puts it in the case.
    B. Leaves it out, but remembers next time.

If you answered C, C, and C, you are CORRECT!

What else? He didn't lock the door when he left. He was guilty of awakening folks with loud music from his amplifier. Once I asked him to buy stamps and he said he would, but then never did and I had to buy them. I never asked again; it was useless. Oh, and he took out the trash three times total in the entire time he lived with me. He did negative housework. He didn't wipe up his spills, much less do his dishes. He took illegible phone messages if he took them at all. He wouldn't read our notes to him on the message board. After being asked to wash his dishes before he went out of town, he agreed, then proceeded to wash only his most recently used pan and leave town. He broke a string on my guitar and promised to replace it (and all the other strings since he'd worn them out), then only replaced the one string he broke, and that in itself took three weeks. And to top it all off . . . man, he didn't even seem to know that he was doing anything wrong, and took our requests as nagging.

Our reaction

It is not as if we just prayed he'd stop being a slob after a while. We asked him to do specific things. We pleaded. We reminded. We begged. We wrote him threatening letters. NOTHING WORKED. Boy-o is not going to survive if he ever gets married. Here is the letter we wrote him once and taped to his bedroom door in order to get some understanding going. How foolish we were.

The Letter


This is not a bitch-letter, first off. We wanted to talk a few things over with you but we did not think there would really be a time when all three of us would be both home at the same time and not busy. So we decided to write you a letter. Hi.

Since there seems to be a lack of communication between us, we want to take this opportunity to bring up a few issues that are important to us. Please feel free to respond to any of the following by talking to us or writing something on the white board; we want to come to an understanding. If there's anything you would like us to change about our living situation or our practices, please let us know . . . for now, here are some things we would like to change.

Our main concern, as you may have guessed, is the dishes issue. We don't care if you leave dishes for overnight or even several days. When we get into measuring time in weeks is when we start to care. When you left for Tampa Monday night, you left behind a dirty pot, strainer, and bowl. The pot and strainer are what concern us most, since the strainer is the only one we have and the pot is one of two we can use with a lid. We want to be able to have our dishes available for use, but that's not the only reason we want the dishes done; they just shouldn't be left for weeks unwashed, it causes hygiene and bug problems. You have several dishes held hostage in your room; that can't be good, you know? We really don't want to annoy you over these things, but seeing as how some of those dishes have been in your room for over a month, it seemed you weren't planning on getting around to them at all. Another problem is the leaving of dishes in high-traffic areas, especially cups on the living room floor. We could end up with anything from spilled food to a broken glass to some sort of injury. When you left for Tampa, the bowl, fork, and cup were left on the footstool. You had taken off for the week, so obviously you planned on letting them stay there. That was one of the main reasons we decided to let you know about our feelings; we honestly weren't sure if you cared. We want you to know that the dishes being done in a reasonable amount of time--especially often-used dishes--is important to us. We will not be Cleanliness Nazis, but we do want the dishes kept up with. One more thing with the dishes: Sometimes you do them in a rush and they still have food on them or dust in them. They need to be clean, not just done; we're not sure if you previously had a dishwasher, but by hand dishes sometimes require a little scrubbing, especially if they have been left sitting for a long while. Mia suggests not letting the dishes get ahead of you by "washing as you go"; I suggest filling "grungy" dishes with water so that if cleaning has to be put off, it is easier to clean later. We both suggest that if you don't have the time or inclination to keep up with dishes, you get some paper or plastic dishes and use those instead.

One seemingly minor "issue" that we'd like to bring to your attention is our door lock. It is very rarely that you lock the door when you leave, or at night. We mention this because not only is there the off chance that some psycho might try to get in, we also have frat boys living next to us, one of which seems to think we are pretty hot. If at all possible, we would like to deny his entrance to our apartment, though it may seem like a small chance.

In nearly all respects save those mentioned, you are already an ideal roommate. We have had to live with John, who was not only loud but stole our food, so we realize it could be much worse. [Interjection here, not part of the letter: John *was* loud, and he *did* on occasion steal my food, but he also put back whatever he took even if he wasn't telling me he was taking it. Except for his loudness and occasional use of private resources, John was also a great roommate, and I only mentioned him in the letter because I wanted to make it look like I wasn't attacking JW.] We would like to know if there is anything we could change to fit your liking, and we'd really like your input on the things in this letter. If you would prefer that we speak to you in person (if there is a) next time we have something like this to say, let us know. We want to open up the communication lines a little bit.

Ohh boy was there a next time.

The letter was never answered, by the way. That's really all I have to complain about (like that's not enough); like I said, as a person JW was certainly nice, which was why I wanted to have him live with me in the first place. Cool to talk to about anime, about bad grammar (another pet peeve of mine) and about other fun stuff . . . but nothing under the sun could convince me to room with him ever again. Here's the clincher, though: When told he could move in "as long as he was clean," he nodded and said, "oh, yeah, I am." A more blatant lie was never told on Earth.

Some connections:

Any comments left here are PUBLIC. If you are not comfortable with that, mail me directly.

Email address:

Comments from others:

Lawrence Wade: nice. Similar problems with *both* of mine, but add this:

Question: You break something which belongs to something else. Do you:

A: Apologize and offer to fix it?
B: Purchase a replacement, then apologetically explain what happened?
C: Throw it out into the middle of the back yard?

I've had a lot of roommates over the past ten years, but I've never had problems like this, and I've never lived with the uncircumcised before. All future roommates must be circumcised.


Tani Morehouse: HA! This is INCREADABLY funny!

Mikey: Wow, that was something else, and I must say the pictures tell the story well I guess some people will never be good as a roommate.

Anonymous: Wow, I had a roommate just like that one. U sure yours wasn't named Mark?

T: My cereal-loving roommate who leaves crumbs everywhere and doesn't believe that she makes any kind of mess could learn a few things about housecleaning....including MAINTENANCE cleaning versus putting things away. THANK YOU for helping me realize that I'm not the only one with roommate issues. Hopefully your new roommates are working out.

David: It sounds like you have humbleness issues. A dish is a dish, not a statement or an invasion of your sovereignty. You got along with him just fine as far as conversations go, right?


If it were me, I would have taken out the trash (to his bedroom) and dumped it (on his bed) myself.

Oh, and I liked your Find the Cheeze-its game. Creative, to say the least.

swankivy: WTF, David. In a rant about how much it pisses me off that my roommate refused to do the dishes habitually, you make up some different reason for me to be pissed and assign me humbleness issues based on it? That doesn't even make sense. Way to read weird shit into my complaining.

Tory: I moved in with a friend from high school three months ago and now she now she has been kicked out and I'm looking for a new roommate. Here are some of the things I would like to rant about:
- had a party while I was gone one night that left deep scratches on our new white walls, broke the shower curtain rod because someone drunk fell into it, and let them drink my handle of vodka and never replaced it
- Broke the garbage disposal by puting a shot glass down it and turning it on. Never fixed it and continued to put food down it until my boyfriend took it upon himself to fix it and never thanked him
- Would leave empty pudding cups on the couch until I would pick them up
- Would leave hers and her friends wet bathing suits from the pool on the floor...with my towels on top of them, causing mildew
- Rarely locked the door
- Kept bringing pot into the appartment after we signed a zero tolerance lease and left beer cans on the joint patio where two little girls play
- Left numerous stains on the crapet and never got around to cleaning them up
- Would leave air conditioning running while no one was here and would leave lights on
- Left rotting food in the fridge to the point where a bag of salad would turn into a bag of green/brown slush

I could go on and on but I think I made my point about having a ROOOMMATE FROM HELL!!!!

ChubbieWubbie2006: Hi there. I just wanted to say that I loved your Roommate From Hell Rant! I'm in a messed-up situation myself, and it made me feel great. I needed to commiserate! I'm very sorry that you lived with a guy, and consequentally, had a terrible experience, but I just wanted to concur: MANY (not all) men make terrible roommates, and there is no way that they would ever survive in marriage. For pete's sake, man, CLEAN something!

Stepping off of my soap box,
Mya in Houston

Richard: I'd like to add a link to your website from my site My site allows folks to voice their frustrations with Piggy Behavior such as road rage, bad parking and inconsiderate neighbors. Please check out my site and let me know if it's okay to add a link to your site and whether you wish to reciprocate with a link to my site.

barf the mog: That's what you get for shacking up with a loser.

swankivy: I think you misunderstood, or made an assumption, or both.

"Shacking up" generally implies that I was involved with him in a romantic way. I'm sure I didn't say that because it was very, very far from the truth. Don't make things up in your head and then react to them. A roommate is a roommate, and sometimes it is not up to you who you get as your roommate. It wasn't my fault he was a bad housekeeper, and it annoyed me, so I ranted about it. Deal, or don't read.

Farfalla: I had FOUR bad roommates in college and then I got stuck with a freshman from hell upstairs and a porn addicted person with selective OCD next door. Here are a few...

Roomie 1- Let her friend sleep in my bed and the friend got burrito filling all in my sheets. I came home to a dirty bed with someone in it. Roomie 1 also barfed on the floor and then went home for the weekend neglecting to clean up the vomit before she left.

Roomie 2- allowed her boyfriend to move in with us. We lived in a room so small that we used bunk beds. He slept in her bed with her, wore her clothes, used our shower, and they both wondered why I was mad.

Roomie 3- Walked around naked. Constantly. never bathed and NEVER washed her hair, used the bathroom with the door open, locked me out of my own room multiple times, woke up at 5am every day to watch the Disney Channel, got mad when I brought a girl over to study for finals even after I called and told her we were coming.

Roomie 4- Accused me of stealing her earrings. When the RA went through her things, they found a bunch of MY stuff hidden in her drawer.

Just a bunch of craziness. I totally appreciate my sane, smokers, sometimes messy, but awesome current roomies!

[Next 10 comments]