In drenching myself in more women and girls than ever before in my life, I’ve learned that much of what we gripe about, from ages 12 to always (but particularly in our twenties), has to do with men. Er, whatever other half you seek.
How to find.
How to attract.
How to satisfy.
How to keep.
How to date, how to hook-up, when to text, what to wear.
And pursuing, most of all, the promise in finding completeness with that other being; the prospect of shading in those pockets of life you think only an S.O. can do.
But in a city like this, at an age like ours—I’ve never heard anyone acknowledge the loveliness of having soul-nourishing, mind-nurturing roommates.
Here’s what’s up:
I wake up in the morning to Lauryn Hill, or Frank Ocean, or The Four Tops floating out from the kitchen. One’s been up since 6, had a run and is now making everyone blueberry muffins. One is standing in front of her TV, butt-azz naked, laughing to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and making you judge her hair. We yell “MORNANG” in succession, gripe about another work day, bust into a body roll/winin’ session in someone’s doorway, and promise to e-mail each other once our cubicle walls threaten to close in. We scream “BAAAHY I LOVE YOU HAHV A NAZ DAAAY” one by one as we head out the door.
At approximately 10:42am, like clockwork almost every day, we start a Gmail thread over a cat picture. A blog idea. A Living Social deal for that Russian Bathhouse in Brooklyn someone was talking about. A Zipcar rental. That guy on the subway again. An agreement to “just go home and make food and drink George’s wine on the roof again tonight, because I can’t even with today.”
I roll home and fall up the stairs, exhausted, but I’m smiling by halfway because I can already hear Erykah Badu’s “Love Of My Life” reverbin’ through the floors and I know it’s us. Boom, boom-bap-boom-boom, bap. I met him when I was a, a little girl, he gave… I open the door and prepare for the usual bombardment of senses: Two different octaves of “WWWWOOOOOOOOO, YER HOME!”‘s. Seven different smells from the kitchen working their way into my pores, among which I already know will be garlic, red wine and Sazon.
One’s half-naked, bouncing down the hallway and twisting a guac-and-honey mix into her hair;
the other’s half-naked under an apron, baking bread.
I get half-naked without a thought (It’s kind of the uniform here) and fight to help cut something or fry something or wash a dish.
Everyone insists on feeding each other something they made, or pouring each other something George dropped off.
Everyone complains that it’s too damn hot and wears as little as possible.
Everyone wants to know how everything went.
I’ve lived in a lot of places since moving away from home 6-ish years ago. But in this gigantic metropolis, in this concrete
jungle monkey den, for first time in a long time—I’ve found a goddamn home. I live in a home. And it’s soft and it’s grounding and it’s organic and it’s good.
And with a home like this, there’s very little to need from a hook-up, or a date, or a romance.
But there’s tons of freedom to figure out wants.
I’ll add that to the advice I’ll make sure to write in one niece’s graduation card:
In your roarin’ twenties, in a tig ol’ city,
don’t worry about finding good men.
They’ll come when you’re happy.
Find good roommates that’ll hold you when you wander into their room in tears; that’ll text you wondering how that big thing went today; that’ll force you out of your jammies at 11:00pm and into deep-deep-Queens for a winin’ contest;
that’ll feed you crap that’s actually good for you.
Find an extended family and be what each other needs.
Find roots in friendship instead of romance.
Grow from there.