Roommates We Have Loved (or Not)

We all know the usual TV-roommate scenario: massive, affordable apartment, no dirty dishes (unless you’re rooming with Oscar Madison), a fun (and gorgeous) group of besties and a nonstop laugh track. Today the Chicks share the real-life roomie scoop!

Lisa Q. Mathews

CotC Word balloonsI haven’t had many official roomies in my life (although I can vouch for El as a great conference roomie!) However, my husband had a good friend “temporarily” living with him in TN when I moved in–and he stayed until we sold the house and moved to NH. Our nosy neighbors were appalled, thinking there was some kind of  Will & Grace situation going on–or even a racy menage (the guys commuted to work together and I worked at home).  We got a kick out of the rumors. Bonus: no visitors ever showed up on our doorstep with pamphlets or sales stuff, the way they did for everyone else in the subdivision.

 Ellen Byron


I’ve had a plethora of roommates over time. Only one or two were problematic and even those were manageable. I will say that one of my favorites was definitely my cousin Felicia. She found herself needing a place to live in the late 80s. I finally had my NY apartment all to myself after years of roomies, but I very reluctantly agreed to let her stay with me, with a proviso that it would be for a limited time.

I relocated to Los Angeles in 1990. Felicia – who I call Fish – is still in the apartment.

Fish and I weren’t close when she moved in. My dad was an only child; she was the daughter of his first cousin. She grew up on Long Island with three girl cousins on that side of the family, all of whom were extremely close. When we were kids, nice as they were, I always felt like a fifth wheel. But as adults who came to live together, Fish and I became close, and I adore her. On a recent visit to the city, we met up for lunch and I joined her on some of her dog walker duties. I can’t imagine missing a visit with her when I go home. Felicia got the the gift of a life-long apartment, but I got the gift of a life-long friend who I’m lucky enough to also call family.

Vickie Fee


I had one roommate who seemed ideal on the surface. I didn’t see that much of her because we had different working hours, and she went home to visit her parents most weekends. Perfect, right? But, she drove me nuts because she wouldn’t clean up after herself! We weren’t exactly Felix and Oscar. I’m not a neatnik like Felix, trust me! I didn’t care what her bedroom looked like, and I didn’t mind dusting and vacuuming the common areas. But, she consistently wouldn’t clean up in the kitchen. We didn’t make dinner together; we had different schedules. But she would make a gloppy mess and then leave her dirty dishes stacked in the sink—she didn’t even rinse them! When I’d mention it to her, she’d always say, “I’m going to wash them later.” I didn’t expect her to wash up five minutes after she finished dinner, but two days later… they were still in the sink. And we had a freaking dishwasher!

Cynthia Kuhn

cynthiaHave been pretty lucky in the roommate department. Was just thinking about that yesterday, when something happened.

Me (on call with food company): I was eating some of your chips and  suddenly there was a horrible taste, so I looked down and there was a super dark chip with a murky, mud-like substance on it. Now my mouth tastes like chemicals.

Customer Service Person: Mmmhmm. (Asks 5,000 questions.) Can you hold a minute?

Me (trying to stay calm though I’m positive my tongue is going numb): Sure.

Customer Service Person (ten minutes later): From your description, my supervisor believes that it’s what we in the industry call a “food lump.” It’s when random ingredients bond together by mistake. We don’t believe you have anything to worry about. Oh, and we’ll send you some coupons so you can replace this batch.  Ta ta.

Husband: Don’t worry. I’m going to follow you around all night and make sure you’re alive. #AndHeDid  #BestRoommateEver

Have you ever had a roommate that drove you bonkers (or vice versa)? Let us know in the comments–names have been changed to protect the guilty!

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39 thoughts on “Roommates We Have Loved (or Not)

  1. Oh, all of your stories are so great.

    Lisa, was it weird at first when he wasn’t living with you anymore?

    El, Fish sounds lovely.

    Vickie, ooh, I understand. It drives me crazy to come upon a sink full of dishes.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Cynthia, it’s good to know there’s a scientific name for what your came across — “food lump.” LOL! Your husband sounds like a keeper! Does he pick up his socks? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Actually, no it didn’t seem weird when we “broke up.” He married a lovely young woman (a friend of mine) and has some cute little kids now.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I haven’t had a roommate since college, but all the ones I had were fine. We weren’t friends, but we were friendly and we all did our share. Vickie, your old roommate would have driven me nuts. And, Cynthia, a food lump? Yuck.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I really lucked out with the one person I shared an apartment with and we became lifelong friends. When I was in the Navy and lived in the barracks, I had three roommates in one large room. Fortunately we were trained to have everything in place and there was no cooking facility. Kind of like a dorm. But they would spray Taboo perfume while I was still sleeping. Felt like I was being suffocated. To this day I can’t stand the smell of spicy perfume.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. My freshman year at college, I decided to room with two girls I met at orientation. Lesson: Never room with someone you just met and NEVER have an odd number of women roommates. I moved out halfway through the year (although my replacement roomie wasn’t much better; she used duct tape to divide the room in half and forbade me from crossing the line – unfortunately, the door to *get out of the room* was on HER side).

    Sophomore year I let the university assign me a roomie. Best. Roomie. Ever. She was on the volleyball team, so we didn’t see each other often enough to get on each other’s nerves. She also thought my ex was as big a jerk as I did. Bonus.

    Junior year I roomed with five other girls in an apartment. Walked in after church one day to find two of them going at it in my room. ugh.

    Senior year I gave up on roommates.

    Since then, the only “roommate” I’ve had is the man I’ve been married to for 22 years. My girl leaves for college on Monday. She choose a single. Smart girl.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Cynthia: “Food lump” sounds like inspiration.

    As for roommates, I had a few in law school. One of them had been a psych major. We were sitting around the table, exhausted as always, when she informed us that one of the threshold exams for being admitted (or not) to a psych institution is if you knew the name of the vice president of USA. None of us knew. This was in the days before internet. So one of us researched it the next day and came back with the information and we all practiced our responses diligently so we wouldn’t be accidentally institutionalized during finals. It was Walter Mondale, by the way.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Wow, that “who’s the VP of the US” question sounds like one of those questions Jay Leno used to ask random people at the Grove. I know in assisted living scenarios and some EMTs ask who the president is. (Probably not a wise idea these days.)

      Liked by 2 people

  6. My final roommate moved out a year ago last week. Yep, I’ve had at least one roommate, and usually more than that, my entire adult life.

    I’ve been very lucky. I knew few of them before they moved in, and I consider most of them friends. I do have a few horror stories, but most of them were wonderful guys.

    And I think I’m beginning to find I miss the company. And the motivation to clean up after myself.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Mark, you’re on the cutting edge with roommates these days–it’s the “in thing” now, with such high rents all over the country! Are you planning to find a new roommate?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Not actively looking for another roommate, but if one fell in my lap, I wouldn’t complain. As long as I had time to clean up the place and his room before he moved in.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Cynthia, now I am going to check for “food lumps” every time I bust open a box of cookies or chips! (Come to think of it, think I ran across one in a box of cereal.) Gross!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Vickie, The Odd Couple was always one of my favorite shows! And I adored Oscar (both the Klugman and Matthau versions). Of course, you could always count on Felix to keep everything other than Oscar’s room sparkling.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Cyn, that food lumps story is TERRIFYING! WTF?! And V, I had a wonderful roommate where we would sit in her living room and watch Odd Couple reruns together. I was so heartbroken when they took them off the air that I wrote a sketch that was set at a memorial service for Odd Couple reruns.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ellen, so glad you and your cousin became close friends. But you helped Felicia find something ever rarer than a good roommate — a good apartment in NYC! No wonder she loves you!

      Liked by 2 people

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