Attack of the Suitemate

“And she wouldn’t stop once she heard the door open. She’d look around and see who was in the bathroom, wave and start up a conversation.”

By Finlea Baxter, University of Oklahoma


We’ve all heard the horror stories about the heinous college roommate.

You know what I’m talking about: the lazy shmuck who leaves his underwear on the floor and never restocks the food he pilfers from the communal fridge; the abomination who clogs the toilet and arrives home at all hours of the night making as much noise as is humanly possible because, really, who on earth would be asleep at 3am?

Fortunately, I’ve been pretty blessed as far as actual roommates go. Each one was the type of kind, funny, outgoing person that I enjoy having around.

But we just had to have neighbors.

And I don’t just mean neighbors. I mean neighbors I had to share a bathroom with. I mean suitemates.

That would have been fine with me, except that apparently, using a toilet it just too monumental a task for some people to undertake.

I would arrive home from class exhausted and ready to release all of my tension through my daily pilgrimage to the porcelain throne, only to find the bathroom floor covered in a layer of water with festive sprinklings of toilet paper and the occasional shred of poo littering the floor.

Swallowing my rage, I would knock on my suitemate’s door and smile sweetly, asking if she knew what had happened to the bathroom. She would smile just as sweetly back to me and reply that she had no idea. Then we would part ways, our mutual disdain intact, and I would call Maintenance.

Now, I like to consider myself a reasonable person. I like to think that I have a good degree of Christian patience at my disposal to deal those special snowflakes who just don’t know how to act. And if it were just the toilet etiquette that posed a problem, I would have found a way to deal. But, for whatever reason, this female did not seem to understand the sanctity of the communal bathroom on any level.

As a-then 18-year old female who stood at maybe 5’3”, you can imagine that the last thing I wanted to hear was a grown-ass man coming in and doing his thing in the sink closest to the shower curtain while I’m standing buck-naked inside.

If it was only a one-time thing, I could have let it go. But this happened ALL THE TIME. And not only would the dude come in and start “relieving” himself while I was showering, he’d try and make conversation while he did it.

Because there’s nothing awkward about standing naked in a shower while some guy you’ve never met stands equally naked in the adjoining toilet stall answering the call of nature, leaving you to wonder what you ever did to deserve this and/or when it’ll be safe to leave the bathroom.

The year ended not a second too soon, and we parted in mutual distaste, with all the requisite smiles and almost-tears and admonishments to have a safe and happy summer.

I went into my second year thinking that it couldn’t possibly get any worse, that there was no way I would find another human being as disgusting as the one I had previously been dealt. The universe could not possibly be that cruel.

And, in a way I was right.

I never had toilet problems with my suitemates during that second year, and the shower was always clean. Unfortunately, my neighbors’ bathroom door hung crookedly on its hinges, meaning that it never shut properly.

It would, in fact, fly open randomly to reveal whatever scene was playing in the room next to mine. I wouldn’t have minded this, but my neighbor this year was even more sexually active than the previous one.

I had no issue with her relieving stress in whatever way she deemed fit. But when it’s 5am and you have to pee, and the bathroom door swings open randomly, and you can hear sounds of passion coming from the next room in full stereo, it kind of makes for an awkward morning.

And she wouldn’t stop once she heard the door open. She’d look around and see who was in the bathroom, wave and start up a conversation. I admired how comfortable she was in her own skin, but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the guy; he blushed so violently and screamed so loudly that I sometimes worried for his blood pressure.

One time, he even flew off the bed so hard that he fractured his kneecap, adding injury to insult as he flopped onto his back and howled, his fun-bits dancing in the fluorescent lighting.

I have now reached a point in my adult life where I can enjoy the privilege of having my very own personal bathroom.

My trials have prepared me for this moment, and I appreciate my trips to the oval office more than I ever would have before. A wise man once said that there can be no true happiness without suffering. I don’t know if he’s right or wrong. What I do know is that, come hell or high water, I am never getting a suitemate again.