Shacking up is hard to do

by Staff

College has a way of bringing out the lusting beast in many of us, and the freedom that comes with living on your own is tempting to abuse. Many students think they’ll make a good thing better if they move in with the love of their life (or semester).

Independence is a key factor in a budding relationship. Frankly, you can’t get as intimate with a romantic prospect while still living at home (unless your parents are hip and understanding, much unlike my traditional folks). So, you may soon find yourself in America’s Finest City with America’s Truest Love.

After a few months (or weeks or days or even classes, if that’s your style), you and your love muffin may be accustomed to sharing most of your time together. You guys eat Kasha together, meet daily for a quick smooch in Storm Hall and basically live and breathe each other. Your friends want to vomit; your parents just want you to return their calls. You’ve done it … you’ve fallen in love.

More often than not, your shared days may soon blossom into conjugal nights. You dutifully stash your cutest nightie or cleanest boxer shorts over at your sweetheart’s house and play sleep-over whenever you two get the chance.

After a time, you may earn a space in his or her medicine cabinet so you can stash an extra toothbrush and a can of Aarrid Oh So Dry for those quick dashes out of the house for food or … well, food. This may soon lead to leaving an extra outfit and undies there, in case your night together stretches into more than just a three-hour tour.

Sooner or later, one of you (either the smarter or the hornier) will pose the question “Why don’t we move in together?” Sounds logical, right? You guys are pretty much paying rent in two apartments, even though you spend nearly every night together in the same one. A waste of precious rent and gas money, in your love-blinded eyes. Shacking up is a great idea! Hey, if Chrissy, Jack and Janet could do it (that’s another column), why can’t you two?

Whoa Nellie hold your hormonal horses! Cohabitation might sound like a good idea, but it may just be a one-way ticket to Splitsville.

Moving in with a boyfriend or girlfriend can prematurely rub the shine off an otherwise sparkling romance. You two might move in, expecting things to continue as they are: long mornings in bed, relaxing dinners in front of the TV, pooling quarters for laundry and sharing the last piece of Bubblicious when you’re both hankering for a grapety snack. But, think again, you wearing the rose-colored glasses. Cohabitation may not be as great as it sounds.

Before you two share the same address, things are still in the “novelty” stage. Ladies, you might run out and spend your entire financial aid check at Victoria’s Secret the minute it arrives in the mail. Gentlemen, you might dab on a bit of Eau de Bad Boy and check your flex in the mirror before hitting the hay. You two most probably have a nightly (spoken!) ritual, that ends with something like “And yesh, yesh, Big Daddy loves his sweetest angel girl!” Then you snuggle up in bed, a cuddling human pretzel forever entwined in a sweaty knot of love. Ah, romance!

But once the phone bill has both your names on it, a strange transformation may occur. Suddenly, she might stash the strappy black lace slingshot in the bottom drawer, in favor of ratty sweatpants and her dad’s old undershirt. He might forget to brush his teeth and flush before joining you in bed. Once in the sack, which was once a virtual playground but now feels about the size of a kickboard, you two may gravitate to your separate corners to snooze. Possibly, she will hog the covers and he will take up a penchant for sleeping diagonally across the mattress, arms and legs askew. While she used to sing you lullabies, she snores and keeps muttering about some guy named Stephano. And when once his drooling seemed almost cute, he’s now soaking through two pillows a night with his river of saliva. Even if you do still make a valiant effort to snuggle up before falling asleep, one of you may very well be the victim of the dreaded “Hug and Roll,” a la Ross. It’s pretty sad when you have to cuddle up with Elmo to be rocked to sleep.

Eating habits may change, too. She might have lavished you with Boeuf Bourginone and cr?me caramel before you moved in together, but her specialty might soon turn to Chex Mix and Beanie Weenies for a day’s sustenance. He, on the other hand, may have wined her and dined her before the big move; now, she’ll be lucky if she can SuperSize her meal.

It pains me too much to continue; I fear seeing my future self in these descriptions. But I am certain that moving in together can be a potentially counterproductive situation. To quote a favorite country song, “We once were hot lovers; now we’re more like friends.” After you move in together, your relationship shifts from being each other’s Love Doodley Bug to being roommates. You have to figure out the phone bill and agree on a time limit for the bathroom. When you can’t wait to get home from school, relax and be alone, he or she might be there, watching “Dukes of Hazzard” with the study group. You are expected, almost required, to be together.

You’ll probably never have enough time apart to actually miss your lover. You’ll not spend hours pining away for him, or wondering what she chose to wear to work that morning. Calling to say “I love you” in the middle of the night will be near impossible. You will no longer have the pleasure of watching him or her through the peephole as your love checks for bad breath and tucks back an errant hair before knocking on your door. These simple pleasures are too valuable to sacrifice, and I cherish them much more than I do the prospect of having a live-in lover.

Gasia Mikaelian is a journalism senior and writes a biweekly Thursday column. Her e-mail address is