I grew up with a younger brother and I forced him to be the sister I never had. The older sibling always dominates the childhood activities and so my brother had to play Barbies with me, acted in my Christmas plays and the movies I directed, and would even let me dress him up in my clothes. The emotional scarring my brother has from the days before he hit puberty and realized he didn’t have to listen to me, was stronger, and could tackle me and threaten to spit in my face, is probably the reason he has never lived with girls outside of our family home. Having a little brother who broke my tea set and forced me to show our next door neighbor/crush my new headgear is probably the reason I never lived with boys.
Fast forward to Spain, where I now live with two boys, or perhaps men, as they’ve got five years on me. These five years are obvious because they make me watch Nine Inch Nails DVD’s and one of my roommates has a framed picture of him and the lead singer of the Smashing Pumpkins. Living in Spain, learning Spanish, and finding an apartment on my own were all firsts, and so, when I saw the guys advetising for the apartment online, I thought, “I should live with boys. Maybe they will teach me how to carve things from wood and sports terms.” As of now, I have learned neither.
Looking around our apartment, one will see a record player, bottles of wine, and art on the walls. These are classy gents. We have a juicer, for fucks sake. German and Diego both work in media, but German is starting his own alternative travel company. The lucky man is taking me and seven other girls to Porto, Portugal next weekend 🙂 They both find everything I do to be strange and aren’t afraid to give me hell about it. I get advice about most things I do, even if I have not asked for it and they text me when I am out during the week to make sure I come home on time and call me on Thursday nights, the big party nights here, to make sure I am staying out as late as possible. They are like the older brothers I never had.
Diego is always smiling and is a pretty jovial guy who likes to hit the mazes of bars in Santiago when he is not working. He took me out my first weekend in Spain and I won’t tell you about that because I don’t remember it. Boy can party. He also is helping me with Spanish when he can and gives me a constant supply of Spanish movies. Thanks to him, I now know many Spanish curse words and angry exclamations. So far, not very helpful at the grocery store or at work. Diego also sat me down one day to give me the house rules.
“You cannot have a boyfriend. “
“Um, okay well I don’t have one.”
“Good, Hannah! Never fall in love!! Never!”
“You can have one night stands, but we don’t want to see them in the kitchen in the morning.”
What. is happening.
As I got to know Diego more, I realized he was (slightly) joking, but I also feared I had moved into a situation where if a guy ever set foot into my room he would be killed or impressively maimed. I now understand that the boys are just very selective about who comes into their home they have had for five years and don’t want a new roommate bringing a bunch of other unofficial roommates (be they boyfriends or just friends) that hang around all day.
German is a rather pensive person, who can talk to me about any subject or opinion for an amazing amount of time, while we drink the special Turkish tea that he makes. German has traveled all over the world and it’s because of this that he wants to start a travel company so that he can share his own part of our blue and green home. He also makes a fine fashion advisor and has informed me that I look better with less make-up and my scarf is “too yellow”. In return, I taught him the magic of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at one am, when I couldn’t sleep. He thought peanut butter tasted like his childhood.
Both the boys are great cooks, lucky for me, as I eat things that confuse them like pad thai, salads, and faux Mexican food. They find my eating habits strange (as most of my friends do) but they really lost it over my choice in bananas. At the store, I saw some yellow looking bananas and some green ones. I choose the ripe ones, of course. Later that evening, German was not happy.
“What is this shit, tia??”
“It’s a banana?”
“It’s from Ecudor. You live in a place with the best plantains in the world, tia and you buy this shit. I’m going to throw it out the window”
“DON’T TOUCH MY BANANAS!”
“I don’t ever want to see these here again.”
“They are so yellow and delicious looking!”
“Tia. Tia! They are tasteless.”
And so I ate my bananas in peace albeit with looks of disdain. Things got really out of hand though, at nine am when I slept away the remnant of the night out. My roommates on the other hand, were just returning. I heard whispers and giggles outside my door and shut my eyes tight, hoping no drunkard would come barging in my room. The noises faded away and I fell back asleep. A couple hours later, I woke up to go to the bathroom and opened my door. There, covered in slander written in permanent maker, was my banana. Taped to the door. Like a common criminal. The words in blue screamed at me.
“We hate banana!!! Be Spanish or be a looser! Dead to the banana!”
I smiled, took the banana down, ate it to prove my point, and then taped it back up to the door and went to bed.
Perhaps living with boys requires some hazing…but don’t worry. I will have my revenge. I just need to find some Barbies..