This article originally appeared on VICE France
Being an unemployed person who loves to travel can have its drawbacks – housing being one of the main ones. Believe it or not, it's sort of hard to find the right place to live when you're away half the time and almost always broke when you're home. Basically, my life seems to revolve around either searching for cheap sublets or crashing on people's couches. Recently, after returning home from a longer stint abroad, I decided to give one of those flat sharing websites a go. I guess I must seem approachable because I was contacted almost immediately. That's how I ended up living with a man I will only refer to as "the arsehole".
My first visit to the arsehole's house was pretty uneventful. We had a cup of coffee and chatted for 20 minutes. It didn't take longer to map out his life: he was a lawyer, a tennis player and single. He also made it clear that he didn't want to commit to a long-term flat share right away.
"Let's start with a couple of months, then we'll see," he told me.
He was a little curt but I thought nothing of it at the time.
"I'm not at home very often," he continued. I immediately began imagining myself sunbathing on the terrace of his posh apartment. A few days later, I was moving in.
We went out for a few drinks to celebrate my arrival. It became obvious that the guy had a bit of a thing for me. He flattered, flirted and we joked about – I played the part and laughed a little. In fairness, he is a funny guy but has a tendency to go a little too far.
A little later, a friend of his came to meet us at the bar and as soon as the arsehole went to the toilet, she warned me that he was a bit of an oddball. Apparently, most of his flatmates don't even last two months. I shrugged it off. As the night progressed, he realised that I was only into women. He offered to get me back "on the right path". At the time, I thought it was a joke.
The following morning, whilst skimming his library, I stumbled upon a book by notorious French sexist Éric Zemmour. I started to panic. He began texting me loads. At 11AM he invited me for coffee at work. At 4PM he wanted to meet for drinks. By the end of the day, he had sent me no less than 13 Facebook invites for various events.
He'd randomly swung by the flat three times over the course of one day. I quickly began to resent him for calling me "sweetheart" whilst patting my cheek, and the way he would spontaneously enter my room without invitation. I felt oppressed.
One evening, he hosted a couch surfer. She spent the night laughing nervously at his awkward jokes and personal questions. He was the alpha male and she was his prey. When I left to go to bed, I couldn't help but wonder whether they'd sleep together. They didn't. She was "too old" for him, apparently. Which was weird, given they were the same age. He told me that he'd hosted a total of 40 couch surfers, none of which were men. Apparently he slept with a lot them but "only if they insisted." He was no pig.
That weekend, he took me to a party. I had barely walked through the door before the host accosted me.
- "You're the arsehole's new flatmate?" she asked.
- "It's only been a week, right? You're going to get sick of him. A piece of advice: don't sleep with him. Somehow, he convinces all of his flatmates to do it. If you do, he'll stop talking to you. He'll be a real dick until you can't stand him anymore and leave." At that point it became very obvious that I had to get the hell out of his apartment.
The arsehole spent the evening surveying the women at the party. He told me he was "hungry" but wasn't "into charity". He made it very clear that he wasn't going to fuck "these old sluts". According to him, the women in the room were either too fat, too vulgar or too dumb. They were about as old as he was so, in his eyes, they were "a little worn". I was raging inside.
The mood in our flat soured after that night. We stopped talking to each other. He became grumpy, lazed about wearing nothing but boxer shorts and reduced conversation to monosyllabic phrases. Until I spilled some tea, at least. When he saw that, he grabbed my arm and pointed at the warm puddle. "What's that?" he yelled, as if he was sticking a pet's nose in their own shit. I was furious and the idea of cold revenge started to appeal to me. I wanted to leave the apartment without paying a penny in rent.
One night, I came home late with a drunken friend. I quietly arranged the living room sofa for her and we drank a glass of wine before going bed. She left first thing the next morning. Around 10:30AM, the arsehole barged into my room: "What the fuck is this mess? There's confetti everywhere. You better clean up!"
An hour later, a page-long text ticked in: "Valentine, I'm less than pleased with your behaviour. Coming home with someone I don't know without warning me is not cool. It woke me up and I couldn't get back to sleep for hours. The apartment's a mess, there's confetti all over the place. Actually, cleaning up doesn't really seem to be one of your strengths. We don't seem to share the same perspective about flat sharing. So, in a nutshell, this is starting to annoy me and it can't go on. I hope you understand. I've found someone else, a student who just wants to study. I think that's better. She's arriving on the 1st of May. I want you out by then. You can't put a price on my peace and quiet. Awaiting your reply."
My blood boiled. I wanted to call him an ugly piece of shit but figured it was better to stay calm and painstakingly plot out my revenge. I told him to give me a day or two and I'd be out of his way.
I used that time brainstorming my revenge: flag him on couchsurfing.com, piss on his toothbrush, switch his toothpaste with his foot cream? It dawned on me that I could carry out as many actions as I wanted. I wasn't bound to one.
I decided to move out that Saturday. My luggage was ready and all I had left to do was to put my diabolical plan in motion. I was lucky – he had left early that morning, giving me all the time I needed. I hopped out of bed as soon as I heard him slam the door. That's when I let my imagination flow and got lost in a sort of vindictive trance.
I filled a mug with piss, then headed for the kitchen and opened all the drawers. Balsamic vinegar – no one would be able to tell the difference, would they? It was important that he didn't catch on too quick. I wanted to make room for doubt but I couldn't stop myself. I filled the water tank of his coffee machine. Topped up the bottle of rum he kept in the kitchen. The olives weren't safe, either.
I kind of lost it and started putting pubes in his pesto. I began to get nervous. What if he came home to see me pissing in a mug? I peered out the window and was relieved to see his car wasn't there. My heart was pounding as I entered his bedroom, determined to finish him off by giving his wardrobe a good drenching. I poured the last of my cup across his leather shoes, sneakers and into the pockets of his coats and jackets. Even his motorcycle helmet got a drop. So much urine.
Lastly, I entered the bathroom. I took his toothbrush, a symbol of intimacy, and gave it a good rubbing on the toilet brush. Thankfully, his shampoo bottle wasn't see-through, which allowed me to pour a bit of hair removal cream into it. That's when I decided that it was time to leave. I called my friend Sonia to explain the situation and ten minutes later, she was waiting outside with a car. On my way out I grabbed an expensive bottle of champagne he had. It was almost impossible to drink while crying from laughter.
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