In this descriptive piece, Amy O' Connor explains what it is like to be the only girl in a house full of boys.
As my eyes peeled open and the initial morning blur tuned to focus, I was confronted with the unsightly mess of the facial wipes I had so slackly left on the window sill the night before. The wipes were obscure with fawn, coal-black and russet, collectively assembling the remnants of my yesterday face. The wipes weren't exactly akin to the pile of beanie caps, football books and electric razor paraphernalia that also graced the sill. It was there and then that I realised, like those facial wipes, I too didn't mesh with my surroundings.
I limberly pushed myself up from his double bed, bent forward and knuckled the sleep from my eyes. The air was peppered with sweet perfume and flavourings from the open pack of jellies on the bed-side locker. I sat content, looking around the room holding my knees under the sheets as he slept soundly beside me. Everything in the room reflected the male occupied abode I was within; Eggshell walls and zip up hoodies, a sports club gear bag thrown alongside a moderately filled vodka bottle coloured with copper and gold internals.
As I stretched my neck to the right, I clocked that my Beck's pint glass had a mere droplet of water sitting in it. I slipped out of the bed, trying not to stir him and lifted myself over my fluorescent pink Nike bag that obstructed the passage between the bed and the door - it seemed to be the only thing in this minimalist room that resembled colour. The landing was still with silence, completely antithetical to the ruckus of football cheering and YouTube videos from the night before.
Holding the banister to steady myself, my bare feet followed the starched, grey carpet underneath them to the hallway. Pushing the door forward, I made a diagonal and unsteady path to the sink, avoiding the unidentifiable compounds on the slate tiles beneath me. I turned the tap to fill the smeared pint glass in a hope to quench my thirst. I pulled it to my mouth and began to slug the pint off.
Tired and weary, I decided to have a quick rest on the beckoning couch at the other end of the room. As I reached the suite I was eye-level with two 2D breasts belonging to one Ms. Georgia Salpa. The calendar was the kind that would make you doubt turning the page to the next month because it couldn't possibly be as satisfying as December was. The kind of calendar you would be acquainted with in car garages or Fire stations. The kind of calendar that wasn't used to mark anniversaries or children’s' birthdays.
I crawled onto the couch, tucking my feet in under the throw that was bestowed upon the house by a tenants’ mother, no doubt. Luxury finishes were rarities and it was easy to detect the mother and girlfriend touches in the kitchen come living room. As I drained off the end of my water, I reached for the remote and forcefully pressed the power button. The instant glare was followed by the Sky Sports logo which was subsequently followed by the powering off of the television. I didn't have the attention nor the energy to trudge through the myriad of channels on offer.
I got off of the sunken couch, turning back out of the room to make a pit-stop in the bathroom before returning to the warmth of the worn sheets upstairs. Hitting all three switches on the wall in confusion and consequently having to re-flick two, the light appeared bright as I locked the door behind me. Looking at one of the very few keys in the house, I pondered how people (men in particular) could live so boundary-free and live with daily hopes that no one will intrude or mistakenly open a door at the wrong time.
Scanning the small and comfortable bathroom, I found myself without toilet paper and had to improvise with the 'shake clean' routine. Frustration set in as I lathered up the hand wash in my palms and couldn't see anything to dry my hands with. It was becoming clear that having items of drying purposes available to guests was not these tenants' forte.
In the immediateness of 15 minutes, I had gone from a thoughtful awakening to the clear realisation that staying in a male dominated house was not all that forgiving to a female. It was a difficult task that presented itself with many annoying, however trivial, occurrences. Defeated in my morning venture, I headed back upstairs, second-guessing the worth of feeling so alone and unfit in one place.
As I silently closed the door behind me and slithered back into bed, I lay there wondering whether or not I should skip my visits and leave the guys to relish in my dystopia. I couldn't help but feel uneasy that such a place could make me feel as ill-equipped as I did. And then it happened. He turned, pressed his chest against my back, put his heavy arm around me, pulled me in tight and I realised in complete opposition to this morning, I was exactly where I needed to be.
Photo: Tatiana Vdb/ Flickr