A few weeks ago, we ran a story on the apartments of single guys around the world. The general thesis was that guys are gross, and the photos seemed to back this up. Most of the guys had a glaze of old tomato sauce splashed over their stovetops, socks everywhere, and an obvious passion for bathroom mold.
Are women just as bad? Or, more specifically, are women in Australia better at cleaning than guys everywhere? To find out, we visited a few around Melbourne to take some photos and talk housekeeping.
VICE: Your room seems to be in the depths of some creative chaos. How come?
Sharmayne: Well, most of the stuff in here represents certain phases or chapters that have characterized my personal identity over the years. After a year of living in a modern, shiny apartment that didn't feel like mine, with a clean freak ex in Sydney, I felt a natural inclination to revisit past themes. I'm an artist, so I like to analyze various themes and materials in order to inform my practice, and also personally, just to see where I'm at. So I guess my room is a type of live-in journal.
Sometimes I give it effort; sometimes it's just scribble. I like it clean and feel refreshed when everything is organized, but sometimes I secretly like it when it's a mess. There is an essence of comfort in coming back to your own messy bed and just crashing. There are no rules in it. Mess is very personal, so I guess there is a potency of "self" that comforts. It's primal.
Would you say this is a normal living situation?
I think if there's a fridge, a shower, a loo, a bed, and a bit of sun to sip some coffee in the morning, and ideally some walls and a bit of peace, then it's a normal living situation.
How does living here practically work with all the mundane tasks that come with a household?
Being able to paint a wall at will. Shifting the furniture all over the place, and no one getting precious, because most of it's been abandoned anyway, makes it a lot of fun.
Instead of a lounge, we have a huge space and a big balcony over Johnston Street. It's lovely to have my morning coffee on it and people-watch. I'm not living on my own, but I'm not living in such close quarters with people either.
Do you ever crave "nice" or what some stiffs might call "clean"?
Sometimes. If I just want a break… then I escape somewhere. On my last birthday, I booked a room in a five-star hotel, ate oysters in bed, and woke up in lush sheets to city views.
Emma, 19 (left); Lucy (RIGHT), 20
All right, let's get the skeletons out of the closet.
Lucy: Ouch, sounds scary. There's really not that bad skeletons hidden here, but we can tell a few peculiarities. First off, Emma is a recycling Nazi. If there's like a toilet roll in the wrong bin, it goes directly onto her nerves. She's also a bit paranoid with the electricity and switching the power off.
Emma: Lucy on the other hand loves bleach. She bleaches everything from shower tiles to clothes.
Any annoying habits?
Lucy: We are really lazy taking the trash out. It's annoying to carry it all the way downstairs, so it just stays here and piles up. Also Emma's alarm often rings for hours, and she just keeps sleeping.
Any ghost stories?
Emma: Don't say that. I'm freaking out already. Like I met this dude who used to live here, and he mentioned that the building has a weird eerie undertone, but I'm just blocking that out.
Lucy: It's a new building, relax.
Emma: I love being alone in the house, but sometimes I get scared.
Lucy: Yeah, OK, me too. I always leave the blinds open.
This is a lovely big house! It's got an upper class feel.
Thank you! Everyone here is in their thirties, so they're kind of established. Most of the time they are at work and not messing up the place. I feel I'm here the most and can enjoy the space for myself.
How often you change the sheets?
I moved in two months ago, and I haven't washed them yet. I'd say after three months. When I go to bed, I'm always clean. I shower before sleep.
Have you heard that sheets should be changed weekly?
No, that's not me. I like to use them for a while, and then they start to smell like me. I don't eat in bed either. I'm sensitive about scents, and I don't like food smell in bed. It's comforting in here. I'm home, not in a hotel.
You just moved here, right?
Ha, no. I've been in this house for five years. I just moved rooms.
Ah ok, so now you're in the best one?
Yeah, for sure. Slowly moved my way up on the food chain.
What's that axe in the tub?
Well, I just had a party for my birthday and came home and wanted to have a bath. The axe was there, and somehow it ended in the bath. All this commotion woke up my housemate, and he came to have a bath with us. We ended up covering ourselves with shaving cream and sliding on the lino down the hallway. We were Disney princesses in the bath. Probably because of that axe.
So that's how you clean the floor here.
No. I use a mop and bleach to keep the house clean. We don't just slide across the house naked with my friends.
It's pretty hard to believe anything you say. Is anything sacred to you?
My room. It is my boudoir. Ideally I want my room to look like the pink room in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Have you seen Practical Magic? Fuck it's a film!