May 7, 2016

"There’s a long tradition of men living with something like roommates."

"Men used to live in boardinghouses quite commonly. You had places like the old Y.M.C.A.s. These were really significant parts of the housing stock a century ago. They have since become far less common... I think it’s flipped... There’s much less of a stigma being a 40-year-old man living alone than being a 40-year-old man living with a male roommate. Living alone has become far more viable. A hundred years ago, that would have been completely different."

Says an NYU sociology professor, Eric Klineberg, quotes in the NYT article "Age 31 and Up, With Roommates. You Got a Problem With That?"


David said...

Women too and cats.

Michael K said...

I don;t think 40 year old men were living in boarding houses then.

They did share rooms and beds when traveling but most had a home. And a wife,

Bob said...

This *really* feels like left-wing justification for economic collapse. People won't be able to afford cars, but that's actually good, because walking is better for you. People won't be able to afford houses, but that's good, because then they'll have more social interaction. People won't live as long, but that's good because people really should make room for the next generation. More people will be unemployed, but that's good, because then they'll have more time to write poetry.

The Drill SGT said...

Michael K

I think most had wives, but those that didn't might have been in a boarding house.

Fernandinande said...

Men used to live in boardinghouses quite commonly.

The "board" part is more significant than the "house" - cooking was almost a full-time occupation 100 years ago.

madAsHell said...

It seems that Prof. Klinenberg has a book to promote about living alone. I wonder what kind of arrangement Mr. Klinenberg has with Mr. Pappu, the author of the article.

mccullough said...

Bob calls it. Let's have fraternity houses for adult men. Keep it fun at least

Curious George said...

Thanks Village People.

Laslo Spatula said...

Girl with the Pony Tail on the Treadmill:

So we head to his place and I know he's thinking blow-job.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

Dude, dinner wasn't that good, but maybe some kissing. We'll see.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

Then he says "By the way, I have a roommate." All casual-like.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

Woah. Really? You're a grown man with a roommate?

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

So we get there, and there is the roommate, on the couch, playing video games. Of course.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

Like I'm going to give someone a blowjob when there is someone in the next room playing video games.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

So they start talking about sports and I'm like "Why am I even here?"

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

They even had movie posters pinned to the walls. Not even framed, just thumbtacks. Tacky.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

'Scarface.' 'Reservoir Dogs.' I get it: you're guys.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

So I said I had to leave because I had to get up early for work the next day. He didn't even seem disappointed.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

When I got home my roommate asked how my date went.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

I told her he had a roommate.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

"Don't you hate that?" she said.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

"Yeah," I said. "I mean: grow up already."

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

Girl roommates are different. We don't even have to like each other.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

The guy probably slept on a futon.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)


(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

I am Laslo.

Owen said...

Laslo: brutal. I mean, pitch-perfectly brutal.

Bob said...

Next up at "Life during the Great Depression wasn't as bad as people think. In a lot of ways, it was actually better than life today."

buwaya puti said...

Bob is right.
There has been a great fall in the overall real standard of living, and quite a few people just want to tiptoe around it.

Laslo is also right.
I have been in that situation, almost precisely! Including the ponytails.
Who knew Laslo and I had so much in common?
Things worked much better in every way once I got my own San Francisco apartment, at a good address, humble as it was. That in itself was a selling point.


The socialist are making their ultimate mover to corrupt america. You need to do this now

cubanbob said...

When I was young and single I could afford my own place. Even could afford a cleaning woman twice a month. Back then we had a Republican economy. Sucks to be young today in this Democrat economy.

Laslo as Owen said "Laslo: brutal. I mean, pitch-perfectly brutal."

buwaya puti said...

And, Laslo, also the futon.
There is some telepathy going on.
Maybe one day Laslo will extrasensorily perceive my lesbian girlfriend adventure. Bachelor life in San Francisco can be interesting.
My roomie wasnt playing video games though, he had a stack of "Harvard Business Review". That's just how we rolled.

damikesc said...

This just screams "Writer trying to pretend his pathetic life is normal"

Paddy O said...

Aren't a lot of sitcoms based around the idea of male roommates? The Odd Couple being the most famous. Friends. Two and a half men. New Girl. Etc. and so on. I don't think there's a stigma unless a person is trying to stigmatize it.

Bob Matthews said...

I think they're pushing this because the "funemployment" meme failed to go viral.

Michael K said...

"those that didn't might have been in a boarding house."

If you look at old census forms, as I do doing genealogy research, there were quite a few "hired hands" living with families on farms and quite a few "hired girls" living with families.

There certainly were boarding houses. I have a story in my latest book about a patient of mine who was in San Francisco on the day of the earthquake. He was 15 and staying in a boarding house. But only for a few days.

I just don't think there were that many single men of 40 doing so. I'm happy to be corrected by evidence, however.

Michael K said...

There were also quite a few single people who lived with family. My father had two sisters and a brother who never married. They all lived with their parents until the parents both died in their 80s.

robother said...

"This *really* feels like left-wing justification for economic collapse."

Yeah, no one explains to these Millenials that going off to college dorms is your future. Between your economically worthless B.A. and your student loans, this is your life. But look on the bright side: if you can afford a car, you can get a gig as a gypsy cab, er, Cool Internet Uber driver. Nothing like the Depression, not at all.

coupe said...

Myself and two other guys rented a small house when we all worked at a Pizza Parlor. Then they were moving on, with me stuck with the rent. We never got accused of being queers.

A really nice looking girl asked me if she could move in with her girlfriend. I said "hell yes". Well, she confided, that they were lovers. Well, I've never lived with lesbians before, so I told them sure, they could have the master bedroom side of the house and I would take the room at the opposite side of the house, but we'd all have to share a bathroom.

Well, we lived together for a year before I moved on, having been transferred to Germany.

You wouldn't believe the amount of abuse we took about "two girls and one guy." Everyone thought I was John Holmes or something. In real life, I never even got laid that year, having several worthless girlfriends, and being mostly poor.

Michael K said...

"You wouldn't believe the amount of abuse we took about "two girls and one guy."

When I was in college, four of us rented a big old house in Los Angeles. We had one small bedroom in the back that had probably been servants quarters in the previous life of the house. We rented it to a girl in return for her keeping the place cleaned up.

buwaya puti said...

Spanish student/bachelor tradition was to share rent on a flat or house. It was called a "republica", or Republic.

SOJO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

There's a long tradition of men, women, boys, and girls living together.

Romantic detachment.

Except for the man and woman, a.k.a. husband and wife, a.k.a. father and mother.

Alex said...

Boarding houses used to be a common thing up until the 1960s right? There is this Twilight Zone episode called "Static" which features such a boarding house of middle-aged men and women living lives of quiet desperation. I wonder why such a thing suddenly ended then.

Laslo Spatula said...

buwaya puti said...
Who knew Laslo and I had so much in common?"

Love it, but you are a much smarter being than I am.

A lot of people here are freaky smart,

I'm glad I get to hang around.

I am Laslo.

buwaya puti said...

Nope Laslo, I am a dull plodding fellow.
You have that gift of the Muse.
Ever thought of publishing?
Some of your things here can be the core of something really excellent. Ponytail girl. Nazi girlfriend.
Scarlett Johansson - eh, pour epater les bourgeois gets old fast.
Of course if you really are a screenwriter or a professional writer, please excuse my presumption and let us know what you've written so we can go see it ASAP.

Zach said...

Is it stigma or just evidence that someone doesn't have enough money to live alone? I lived with other people most of the time I was in grad school and never heard a word about it.

Boarding houses in the 1800s don't have an easy parallel to today. In the West, you'd see towns that were 70-80% single men. Fewer possessions, and food and shelter made up a bigger part of the budget, lower expectations of privacy. Lincoln not only had a male roommate before being married, they shared a bed! In Moby Dick, Ishmael meets Queequeg when they share the same bed in a boarding house -- I believe Queequeg doesn't even wake up when Ishmael gets in.

Rob McLean said...

In today's hypersexualized culture, roommates are automatically considered lovers, since everybody is having sex with everybody. (Everybody but you, that is.)

Bill Befort said...

Surprised no one mentions Holmes and Watson, sharing lodgings in Baker Street. Perfectly normal in those Victorian days.

Hunter said...

Or in the opening chapters of Moby Dick, the protagonist "Ishmael" and Queeg-Queeg sharing not only a room but the same bed.

Of course, the clever postmodernist analysis is that this was some type of secret gay code that Melville could not have written openly about in 1851...

Peter said...

"You had places like the old Y.M.C.A.s"

Those old YMCA's had rules that prohibited the men staying in them from taking female visitors to their rooms. With predictable (if perhaps unintended) results.

And college dorms don't seem to look much like they used to (two same-sex students sharing a 10x12 room); most look more like group homes now.

Although I don't doubt that many miss the easy social life on campus, as building a social life after college seems to take a lot more work.