This article originally appeared on VICE Australia.
There was once a time when living with friends was just a phase. Maybe you'd spend a few years in an apartment with them, but then you'd be off!—being able to afford your own home, and becoming an adult etc. etc.
Now, roommates can be a reality deep into your 30s and beyond.
But there are good roommates, and there are bad roommates. The good ones leave you alone and know the secret to keeping houseplants alive. Bad ones clog the drains, love psytrance as much as they do drugs, and seem to have an endless supply of friends who need to "crash on the couch, if that's OK? They're just in a really tough spot right now. It should only be for a couple days... or a week or two."
If you're looking for bad roommate stories, where is better to start than Sydney—a city where you'd be hard-pressed to find a shoebox-size room for less than $300 [$230 USD] a week. We headed out to Pitt Street to ask for people's grossest roommate stories. Warning: There are many, many mentions of cockroaches in this piece.
Todd, 23 and Isabella, 22
VICE: Tell me your gross roommate story. Everybody has one.
Todd: There was this old as fuck bottle of tomato sauce in my house. My roommate pulled it out of the cupboard, and when they opened the lid, it exploded—it actually hit the ceiling. There were still stains there when I moved in, and apparently, it had happened like six or eight months before. So that proved how much they wanted to clean it.
Can you still picture the stain?
It was just like red. Well, it wasn't even red anymore—it was more like a brown stain all over the ceiling. It shot everywhere, not just straight up. It exploded out of the nozzle. It was really gross.
Was that as bad as it got?
I found a nest of cockroaches under our toaster. They ate the crumbs and they liked the warmth. I lifted it up one day, and there was like 40 of them underneath there.
What was your reaction when you found that?
“I need to move out of this fucking house.” Nah I was like, “Man, I’m just not making toast anymore.” I cleaned the entire house and within like two weeks, it was back to the same way it was. I was like, I’m not really interested in cleaning this house every week.
I found loaves of moldy bread down the side of the fridge. It’s just disintegrated because there was so much fucking mold... you couldn’t even see it. It was like vaporized. Everything inside was just powder.
Did you ever go off on your rommates?
I mean, I tried to but they just try to pin it back on you. Like, “This is your shit.” I’m like, nah, this is not my shit. Like, tons of MDMA-encrusted plates and shit. They would be left there for like two weeks, and they’ll be like, “Clean up your plates!” I’m like, ahh do you see my pupils? I’m fine, bro! That house was disgusting.
VICE: What are the most disgusting habits your roommates have had?
Graham: I used to live in a warehouse that had 12 people. A bunch of different people—college students, drug dealers, sex workers, strippers, and artists. And because there was no responsibility taken, we probably had, per weight, more cockroach than people.
Please don't tell me you woke up to one crawling on your face? That's genuinely my worst fear.
You’d get up at night and if the ground didn’t move when you got up, it was a strange experience. There were that many there. I actually know what cockroach shit smells like. I’ve seen what happens when a cockroach breaks down—they turn into this white fuzzy matter.
Tell me some of the other places you've seen cockroaches.
I’ve seen a saucepan that was left for three months because the owner, who had used it last, couldn’t be bothered to clean it up. So after three months, someone threw this cockroach-infested saucepan away, and the owner got really mad. They said, “I can’t believe someone did that. That pan was my grandmother’s!” I just started laughing and he’s like, “It’s not funny man!” Actually, it was funny because if that was such an important item, you should have done something about it. It was sitting there for three months.
Was that the grossest thing about the house?
We’d be living with 12 people and we’d buy bulk toilet paper. Toilet paper would run out, and no one was bothered to buy more. You’d shit and shower.
And, let me guess—no one would ever clean the shower?
Nah, no one would clean the shower. One of the girls that lived there, her cat brought home a dead bird. It literally stayed in the middle of her floor for three weeks. She didn’t want to move it. It was too disgusting.
Meri, 21 and Andrea, 25
VICE: What’s the most disgusting habit one of your roommates have had?
Meri: The first night that she [their new roommate] lived in the house, she came with one boy and she…
Andrea: She fucked on the couch
In the living room?
In front of everyone?
Meri: No, but we could hear them. And after, she came to my room with this guy, and the guy in the middle of the night, [Meri makes snoring noises] so I'd have to go sleep on the couch.
Andrea: [Laughing] He snored a lot!
VICE: What’s the most disgusting habit your roommate has ever had?
Vicky: My ex-boyfriend used to cut his toenails. Not over the toilet, he used to just cut them on the floor. So they’d be all over the carpet. I’d be walking and have something stuck to my foot, and there would be a toenail on the bottom of my foot. That was disgusting.
Did he ever try to justify leaving his toenails everywhere?
He said he could get a better angle when he sits on the end of the bed than if he does it over the toilet seat.
You can't argue with logic.
Also, my old roommate used to have this habit where if she’d been to the store, she hated going again, which is understandable. But it would mean you would go to make a cup of tea for everyone, and you’d be like, "Do you want a cup of tea?” And this person would obviously know that there was no milk in the carton and yet would agree to having a cup of tea, so that you, the tea brewer, would have to go to the store to buy more milk.
That’s psycho. Did you ever say anything to her?
I used to leave notes around the house, saying like “When milk is gone, what do we do? We say something!”
VICE: Who's the most disgusting roommate you have ever had?
Rhees: So I had an English roommate, and he wouldn’t do his dishes for about eight or nine days. They would be piling in the sink to the point where you couldn’t fit a plate in the sink. We’d get cockroaches, and it smelled really bad.
Did you do anything about it?
I got really annoyed one week, and I bundled them up in a plastic bag, and I put them out in front of his bedroom door. He got really angry and wanted to beat the shit out of me. He said, “You want to take this downstairs? I’ll fuck you up!” I’m like, “Oh, man, it’s just dishes.”
What happened next? Did you take it downstairs?
After this whole dish thing, my roommate decided he couldn’t be bothered doing his dishes anymore. So, what does he do? He goes and gets paper plates. He and his friend, who lived with us for a month, ate every single meal off of a paper plate with plastic spoons, so he could throw it away, and he didn’t have to do any dishes.
How did things end up?
We weren’t too tight after that. I moved out shortly after. I met a girl, and we just moved in together. She turned out to be worse.
Well, she’s actually my partner and the mother of my child so I probably shouldn’t say anything too bad... She’s just messy! She’s got a wardrobe and just leaves all of her clothes on the floor. We are talking like 20 centimeters [7 inches] high all along the bedroom floor.
Just the right height to make clothes angels?
I bought her a guitar once for her birthday, and I hid it in the back of the closet behind all of her clothes once for three weeks. It’s a tiny apartment so there’s nowhere to hide a guitar. [On her birthday] I pulled it out, and she says, “Where did that come from?” I replied, “It was hiding underneath all of your clothes, and you didn’t even know.”
VICE: What’s the most disgusting habit one of your roommates has had?
Jason: I had a roommate who used to floss his toes with his socks
What was he hoping to achieve with that?
Getting rid of itchy, dead skin, I guess.
Did he do this outside or inside?
Just inside, normally in the living room.
Did you confront him about it?
It was just one of those things where you eventually just kind of look at him and ask, “What the fuck are you doing?”
What did he say?
He thought it was pretty normal.
Did he clean it up, or did he wait for you guys to do it?
He kind of just left it for the vacuum, didn’t he?
So he’d leave it a few days?
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