This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
A few weeks ago we ran a bunch of photos of the bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms of England's single young lads. Mostly, they were disgusting. Living environments playing host to the kind of conditions that might be responsible for whatever germ it is that causes the next global health crisis.
This representation of England's young men didn't go down so well in the comment section. In fact, in a couple of instances we were accused of sexism for perpetuating stereotypes that, thanks to the photographic evidence in the article directly above them, we can see are actually 100 percent true. Still, that didn't stop the criticism. "It's not only guys living like this," some suggested. "Girls can be just as gross."
I thought I'd test this theory by visiting the homes of some of my single female friends and photographing what I saw. This research clearly isn't scientific in any way whatsoever, but below are some of those photos, contrasted with the pictures of the guys' houses, just to make it easier to spot any differences.
CHARLEY, 29, SHOREDITCH
VICE: Why is your room so tidy? Is everything hidden under the bed covers?
Charley: It's a pretty high up bed, which is great for storage. That's all I'll say on the matter.
You have a lot of plants in your room, and a lot of pillows.
Well, I don't have a garden, so that's why I put all the plants in my room. I took my desk out and put plants in there, which is a totally responsible life choice. The cushions—I think it's because I'm going to be 30 this year and I live in a shared house, so I'm having a crisis. So what better way to show that I'm a responsible adult than having loads of cushions? Because a teenager wouldn't spend all their money on cushions, would they? I've gotten really into the mom-like homeware to prove that I'm a grown up.
So buy a bunch of flowers and cushions and that makes you grown up?
That's how it works, right?
This whole place is pretty tidy. Have I caught you on a good day or is it generally like this?
It is actually generally pretty tidy. The two guys I live with are very neat, so I'm lucky in that sense. I'd say it's tidy rather than clean—sometimes we let the washing up slide.
You're right in the mix of it here, aren't you?
Right in between [the night clubs] Dragon Bar and Cargo, the two worst places ever. It's impossibly loud, but I'm amazing at sleeping, so it's all right. Mind you, people piss on our doorstep because it's right opposite Cargo, and the piss comes under the door. I'm making this sound dreamy, aren't I? Come hang out at my house—it's covered in strangers' piss, and I've got a lot of cushions instead of a boyfriend.
More photos of Charley's flat—this time compared with photos of a flat belonging to Ike, one of the guys we visited for the previous article.
Here's Charley's kitchen:
And here's Ike's kitchen:
Here's Charley's bathroom:
And here's Ike's bathroom:
Here's Charley's bedroom:
Aaaand here's Ike's bedroom :(
PAT, 28, PECKHAM
VICE: This is the third very tidy bedroom I've seen.
Pat: I dunno—I go through my phases. I do tend to like my room really tidy, so it'll get really tidy and stay tidy for a couple of days, and then the mess comes.
What's that weird head?
Oh, it's Rodney Trotter, apparently. I found it outside a church in Greenwich. I think one of the antique shops was having some sort of clear-out, and the guy told me it was a waxwork of Rodney Trotter.
Fair enough. How often would you say you clean your place?
I try to do a big clean up once a week, but it depends how busy I am because I work really long hours. Once I didn't do it in a couple of weeks and it was like a full-on explosion.
How often do you change your bedsheets?
Every couple of weeks. Is that what grown-ups do?
You tell me.
Yeah, I change them every couple of weeks, when I do my big cleanup.
What's with the Morissey pillow?
I'm pretty obsessed with him. I went to see him a couple of weeks ago, and they had that pillow. I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen, and I couldn't believe they actually sanction that as part of his merchandise. I was quite drunk by the end of the gig and decided it was a good idea to spend however much it was—I don't remember—on that pillow.
Do you think you were ripped off?
Possibly, but I get to sleep with Morrissey every night.
More photos of Pat's flat, compared with photos of a flat belonging to Chris, another guy we visited.
Here's Pat's kitchen:
Here's Chris's kitchen:
Here's Pat's bathroom:
Here's Chris's bathroom:
Here's Pat's bedroom:
Here's Chris's bedroom:
ALICE, 21, DOCKLANDS
VICE: Disappointingly, your flat is pretty immaculate. Do you and your roommates ever argue over tidiness?
Alice: We kind of do our own bit, so there haven't been any arguments about it. No rotas or anything. I made a rota for my old roommates last year and they just hated me. They were so lazy. Living with boys was so messy—there was mold everywhere.
No plates available because they're always dirty?
Literally, no plates ever. And there was, like, seven other people. It was awful.
How often do you change your bed sheets?
My mom will be so angry at this. I try to change them twice a month, but it's probably more like once a month.
That's not too bad. One of the guys we spoke to said he went five months without any sheets at all. He just slept rolled up in a leopard-skin rug. What about underwear? How many days is too many days for a pair of pants?
My underwear I'm pretty good with; I haven't had to do any inside-out tricks or anything like that.
T-shirts can last a long time. You don't need to wash a T-shirt every time. I don't have time to wash them that often. I'll wear it until it makes its way into the dirty washing bag, and then it'll sit there for a few months until I never wash it.
More photos of Alice's flat . The kitchen:
TABITHA, 29, TUFNELL PARK
VICE: How do you and your flatmates get on in the cleanliness stakes? Do you have a rota?
Tabitha: We had a rota once, and it didn't work. Now we have a cleaner and we just try to keep our areas clean and tidy.
How often do you change your bedsheets?
I try to do it every two weeks, and I do try and stick to that. I wouldn't do it once a week—that would be too much. Sometimes it slips a little when I get lazy or if I'm working a lot.
I like my room to be tidy; it makes me feel a little more organized in myself. If it's messy for too long it gets stressful. I don't like coming home to a messy room. Finally, at the age of 29, I've started to make my bed every day. Who knew that it was this brilliant! Who knew it could make you feel so amazing? I feel like a grown up. And I've got cushions—decorative cushions!
I need to find some dirt here somewhere. Festivals—how are you there? How acceptable would you say it is at a festival to not shower or change your clothes?
I would always take enough pants and socks to not smell, but I'm not really fussed about having a shower. I mean, it would be nice, but I would always make sure I've got clean clothes. Clean clothes, clean socks, clean pants. Those are the important bits. The clothes can be a bit messy, but the under-bits need to be clean. I can be a bit gross.
More photos of Tabitha's flat. The kitchen:
Here's Tabitha's bathroom:
BO, 20, WALTHAMSTOW
VICE: So we did some guys' flats a couple of weeks ago and most of them were a pit. Yours isn't. Do you think most girls share your attitude to cleanliness?
Bo: I'd like to say most girls are like that, but generally speaking I'm a tidy person and, genuinely, some are so disgusting. I lived with one girl in second year of uni, and I thought she'd end up with a disease or something because she just couldn't clean up after herself.
What do you think about messy people?
Messy people? There's messiness and cleanliness, which are two separate things. I think it's fine to be messy, as long as you're clean.
Where do you fall on the messy-clean spectrum?
I'd say messy, because I'm a clean person but I'm untidy. I'd rather be untidy than not clean, because that's just not good.
What's the longest that it's OK to wear underwear for?
Last year I worked festival season. I didn't go home for about two and a half weeks, and it got to the point where I thought, 'I don't know what I'm going to do—I'm in the middle of nowhere.' So I had to put my underwear on four days in a row.
Thanks very much, Bo.
More photos of Bo's flat. The kitchen: