What it’s like being the only guy in the flat

You get used to being the messy one


Being the only girl in a flat of boys sounds horrendous. As much as I agree that it would be gag-a-minute entertainment, I wouldn’t wish five of me on anyone.

I’m incredibly lucky to have some fantastic female flatmates. Open, funny, helpful, and with their shit firmly in order. I’ve heard some horror stories about nasty rifts developing within houses, but I can honestly say that it would never happen to us.

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The problem with being the only guy isn’t because of the others, it’s self-inflicted.

Men are far more messy and cluttered than girls. I can safely admit this because I am the walking truth. My end of the work surface is littered with beer crates, empty cans and pizza boxes. For a time I considered creating a wall of cardboard, a shrine to my strange, semi-psychotic aversion to neatness. This was shot down in one look.

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That’s the thing about being the only guy. Your uselessness is accentuated. The southern-fried chicken and hash brown delicacy, finished off with a spaghetti hoop flourish, is savaged and put in the shade by the stunning stir-fry that your flatmate is preparing. Pride turns to ridicule.

A typical dish that attracts criticism

A typical dish that attracts criticism

The washing up is a simmering pressure cooker of passive aggression. I’m just absent-minded. Days shoot past. My spaghetti growing crustier and crustier, clinging to the IKEA bowls like freshers flu to lecture halls. I don’t mean to leave it, the thought just doesn’t occur to me to do something about it.

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I walk in, witness the politely pissed expressions on my friends’ faces, hurriedly blast some hot water over it and re-holster my Swedish crockery in the top left cupboard.

Many of my mates back home raised a knowing eyebrow when they found out I’d be the lone male in the flat. I laughed it off at the time, and I’m so glad. Any guys out there thinking it signals some macho excuse to be consistently alpha couldn’t be more wrong. I am the little bitch of this flat, and everyone knows it.

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I’d like to think I’m pretty secure in my sexuality, but my masculinity is being ground down by pink cushions and flat trips to Tiger. I know I’m just a term away from a Cath Kidston apron (as you’ve probably worked out by now, we live in Swanborough).

When guys pre-drink round ours, they give me a withering smile if I point out my pride in having “Ollie” picked out in bubble writing on the wall. I coloured it in myself though.

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I’m not saying it’s all like this – far from it. Our chunder chart is a source of pride, and I’m not even the one who managed to chuck up into my own hands.

So no, being the only guy does not make me a stud. Having a good kitchen does not mean there is so much ‘space for activities’. It means I have more space to smash jars of coffee over myself or spray washing up water across my jeans like a twat.

I’m the luckiest flat mate in the world.