Somehow I’ve reached the age of 31 and never had to advertise for a housemate. I’ve lived with friends, then on my own in a block full of expat shenanigans. Then with the parental unit, then on my own again. At last I have to advertise, which is in turns thrilling to think of all the possible freakish people out there, and frightening to think of all the possible freakish people etc. I believe it is one of those Rites of Passage.
I’m certain there’s various cunning ways to weed out the eccentrics and vegetarians (eg: ‘Do you eat only vegetables?’ ‘How do you feel about Tibetan prayer flags/throat singing?’), but apart from that I haven’t a clue. Some people I told emitted a blustery sigh and professed: “well I would never share a house again, ever”. Ho for domestic bliss. Those comments were not helpful to me.
So I emailed my battle-weary pals and family for some suggestions, and the responses were so golden and revealing they warranted an entire blog posting.
Bek, as always, takes the direct approach:
-How many friends would you say you have?
-Are you a psycho vegan?
-Did you vote for John Howard?
-Would you ever vote for John Howard or any of his little wizards?
-Do you like techno?
-Have you ever been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness?
-Were there any problems when you were born?
Mr Boyle, auteur extraordinaire, advises I invoke the Strasberg school:
-I think it’s like auditioning actors. Know the role and look to see how closely they match it. Whatever you talk about is fine; look for a good rapport.
La Flo coins the phrase ‘cleanliness tolerance index’:
-How much pot/pills/drug of choice do you smoke/pop/ingest and how long do they affect your ability to function?
-What is your noise tolerance level and how much of it do you make?
-Do you communicate often and well? (I guess often is a relative quantifier)
-Do you say what you mean all the time? (Don’t bullshit me)
-What is your cleanliness tolerance index? (An index will need to be defined beforehand)
My sister-in-law had only one revealing, plaintive request:
-Are you a loud masturbator?
Ms Davis sent two lengthy emails imploring me to keep extensive records of every contact with prospective housemates, and at least 20 questions of such scorching directness they made me wince, such as ‘why are you moving?’ and ‘is your job secure?’ This is why we love Ms Davis, she does not mince words.
The Redheaded Goddess, like Bek, weighed in with the political persuasion:
-Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist party?
If Patch was still in the world of dating, I’m sure this is the sort of thing he would ask:
-What is your favourite teletubbie?
-What is your favourite Winter Olympic sport?
-What dish is your specialty?
-How would you go about cleaning___? (fill in appropriate room or object)
-What do you think of these Lomo pictures?
-Do you have any habits which would objectively be described as ‘foul’?
-Describe your daily grooming habits.
My sister covered the full spectrum I think, with the scattergun approach:
-Do you have interests that take you outside the house?
-Have you shared with non-relatives/non-shags before?
-Are you clean or a slob?
-Are you allergic to cats?
-What kind of furniture/appliances/baggage do you come with?
-Are you still in the shagging every night phase of your relationship? Is there a boyfriend around who is going to effectively live here without paying rent?
And the Flying Carosone has the last word by sorting human beings in to two camps:
-Do you use a decent aluminium-based deodorant or do you just rub crystals under your armpits?