Almost everyone who has had a roommate has a “horror story” to accompany her or his description of that person.

These horror stories usually involve some form of indecent exposure or foul hygienic habit.  I consider myself lucky in that I don’t really have any phenomenally wicked roommate horror stories (knock on wood).

This means one of two things: either I’m the subject of the horror stories or that my roommates and I  have developed a good set of unwritten laws governing our coexistence.

I much prefer the latter of those two options, and, for the sake of my delicate ego, I’m going to assume it’s the truth.  Now comes the point of addressing these de facto laws and how anyone can adopt them.  For this, I’ll try to make them as gender neutral as possible while still maintaining their specificity.

It is my belief that the biggest obstacle in the way of a pleasant year is cleanliness, therefore, the first tenet ought to be: the messith thy maketh, thou shall cleaneth.

If you find yourself shaving in the sink, there shouldn’t be any whiskers left behind.  Likewise, if you’re a girl and your hair finds its way to the side of the shower, help it find its way to the drain.

Not only is it unbecoming, it is a safety hazard.  In a wet environment, hair tends to stick to your arm and no matter how hard you shake your hand, that obnoxious strand of hair sticks to your palm.  Next thing you know you’re dead because the violent shaking of your hand has caused you to slip and fall.  So, if you don’t want to become dead, clean up.

This brings me to my next roommate tenet: thou shall alloweth thy roommate sleep.  It is fairly common knowledge that the average human needs around eight hours of sleep a night to complete two REM cycles.

Within the first week of living with your roommate, it should be obvious if they have an 8 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so plan accordingly.  This has a lot to do with your own sleep schedule believe it or not.

If you find yourself “napping” for four hours a day that generally means your body won’t want to sleep when your roommate needs to (which can be a big point of tension).  A tired person is generally an angry person so, as a rule, keep a normal sleep schedule.

This brings me to my third and final tenet.  Knoweth how thy reacteth to alcohol.  This only applies to people 21 and older because, as we all know, no one under that age can drink.  If both you and your 21-year-old roommate find yourselves drinking you should know your limit and how you act when you get there.

If you are loud when you drink, make sure you’re passed out by quiet hours.  If your stomach rejects alcohol frequently, make sure there is a clear path to the bathroom. And, if you’re violent when you drink…well…don’t.


William Pearson can be contacted at


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