Having a roommate from hell is an early adulthood rite of passage, something that most of us have experienced to varying degrees.
Luckily, though, these roommates are much more Jack Black from School of Rock than Jennifer Jason Leigh from Single White Female. In other words, the typical shitty roommate isn’t usually trying to steal your identity and fuck your significant other before attempting to murder you; they mostly just eat your Froot Loops, slob around the apartment and have loud, bad sex with their loser boyfriend. (Per the Pew Research Center, nearly a third of the U.S. adult population lives in a shared household with an adult who isn’t their romantic partner, which amounts to almost 80 million people.)
But an asshole roommate’s inconsiderate behavior becomes next level when you have to quarantine with them — and people are rightfully freaking out about it. Case in point: Last week, a Twitter user named Chels went viral for her shitty roommate, propelling the hashtag #StayatHomeBrett to trending status.
As someone who has been roommate-free for most of her adult life, I hadn’t even considered the possibility of this particular type of asshole-ism. And unfortunately, Chels isn’t the only one dealing with someone more concerned about Netflix and chilling with their significant other than the health and safety of the people they split the bills with.
Tommy, a 28-year-old in Canada, lives in a large home with five other people, one of whom isn’t taking things seriously. This roommate regularly leaves the house for no good reason and is constantly having people over to study for exams. It probably comes as no surprise that he was already the slob roommate, which makes Tommy even more concerned about his safety. “Today, I found that the cutting board was only cleaned on one side; the other side was covered in coffee stains and melted cheese. Yet, it was sitting in the clean dish rack,” Tommy tells me. “Such hygiene habits at home indicate to me that he’s probably not taking things very seriously when out in public either.”
“I’ve been pretty much hiding out in my room for the past week or so, which sucks because the common areas are where I used to spend a lot of time since my room is so dark,” Tommy continues. “But because he’s also the person I share a bathroom and downstairs kitchen with, I feel like if he gets it, I likely will as well. I find myself fantasizing about bleaching the common areas all the time. It’s definitely making me re-evaluate my life choice of living with six people in a house in my late 20s.”
Carrie, a 41-year-old in Detroit, had her boyfriend move in right before the stay-at-home order kicked in, and it’s not going well. Although she takes every precaution she can, her boyfriend is — how do I say? — a fucking dick. “He laughs at me,” she tells me. “He thinks I’m overreacting. He has no problem going to a friend’s house to hang out and play cards and drink. I told him that I’d love to go visit my family but can’t because of this whole lockdown. He doesn’t seem to understand that you can carry it without symptoms.”
Perhaps the most baffling story is from Sarah, a 30-year-old in Kentucky. Her roommate is in the health-care field and was completely nonchalant about following any safety protocols at home until this week. “He came home every work day and just stayed in his scrubs until he went to bed at around 11 p.m.,” she says. “He’s finally gotten it through his head that he can’t go to game nights at friends’ and his mom’s. His mom and sister are immunocompromised, and he’d come home from dinner with them still wearing his scrubs and even his name tags.”
Even though Sarah thinks he’s changed his ways, she still doesn’t 100 percent trust him: “I know he’s to blame if any of us get sick. The rest of us have followed the rules to the letter.”
Boomers, of course, are also being dicks. Tracy, a 44-year-old from Vancouver Island, has a much older roommate, who she says is lovely in every way and has been a pillar of strength on numerous occasions. But there’s one important area where he’s completely missing the mark: “He just doesn’t seem to understand how serious this pandemic is. He’s shopping, driving, getting CASH out! CASH! Who the fuck wants to touch cash right now?”
When Tracy lays into him, he does shape up and starts washing his hands more. But he’s back to his old ways pretty quickly. “The next thing I know, he’s out smoking again or getting supplies,” she tells me. “I’ve read him the riot act numerous times, but it takes reinforcing.”
Her roommate’s fellow Boomer friends are similarly unconcerned about the pandemic. “He’s going outside and standing with a group of other older people who smoke cigarettes — they aren’t even talking! And they’re way too close to each other,” she adds. “They’re all 20 years older than me. I thought wisdom came with age?”
But what we all want to know is DID fucking Brett stay home?
Chelsea Fonseca, the 20-year-old Brigham Young University-Idaho student behind the viral tweet and hashtag, tells me her passive-aggressive roommate knows about the tweet but has still said nothing to her about it. As for Brett, yes, he stayed home. “My roommate is going over to see him everyday, and I know they’ve been to social gatherings,” she says. “So I’m doing my best to disinfect everything in our apartment.”
Scrubbing an asshole roommate from the place, however, is much more difficult.