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Bachelor heaven.

2004-03-19 - 2:08 p.m.

Itís not a secret that, before I met and married the most wonderful man in the world, I had other relationships of varying degrees of seriousness. The most serious prior to J was with a guy, K, who wasnít a bad guy, just not a good fit with me. It took us way too long to figure this non-fit out but thatís a story for another day.

(I know, with the J and K thing I sound like I dated the Men in Black but itís just a coincidence. Oh heck, his name was Kevin Ė this one-initial thing can get out of hand if I donít watch out.)

At the time we started dating, Kevin, or Moist as he was known to his buddies back then, lived with his six roommates in a magical land called Bachelor Heaven. Let me describe it for you: It was three stories plus the basement. Starting from the lowest reaches, three of them lived in the basement (one of them, Rambo, really just lived in a large closet), and found down there were two PCs networked together for gaming, several guitars, amps, microphones, a keyboard, a bass, and a full drum kit. Oh yeah, and Ramboís Ďshroom garden. I have a background in mycology and Iíve never seen anyone, even with the full use of specialized university equipment, have so much success in growing mycelial mats and getting fruiting bodies to sprout from them. He had a veritable beige thumb.

On the main floor there were two TVs, one perched atop the other. The bottom one was hooked up to two different video game systems and the top one to a box that allowed them to get every single cable channel, including the pay-per-view. The second floor just housed three more guys and a grotty bathroom. And at the top level, reigning as Prince of Bachelor Heaven, was Moist. In addition to his own room under the eaves, he had his very own antechamber with big comfy couches for chilling out.

They lived the life you might expect seven university guys to live if given all these toys and free run of their own space. It would not be off the mark to say that in many ways they embodied the male-as-grown-up-child stereotype. Every night was a party complete with drugs, alcohol, going to bars, coming home in the wee hours to jam, smoke up, play games, scrounge for munchie-satisfying snackage (Rambo had a fondness for large chunks of brown sugar), and fall asleep to the apparently ever-comical Beavis and Butthead. Every morning the sun rose on people crashed out on every semi-soft surface of the house.

Each roommate had a designated day of the week to clean up and no matter how thorough a job they did, by the time the little hand of the clock had done two circuits, the place would be a wasteland of empty beer bottles, cigarette ash, dirty dishes, and various flotsam and jetsam. I witnessed a frisbee being pressed into service as a plate once when the designated cleaner hadnít gotten to the dishes yet. Heaven forbid someone wash a plate when it wasnít ďtheir dayĒ.

Ran out of toilet paper? No problem. As a household of males, no TP was needed. To pee, one didnít use TP. For bathroom needs beyond peeing, the bar across the street was open for breakfast and didnít close until 2 am. The guys that were used to the occasional female overnighter shrewdly kept boxes of kleenex to hand over as emergency backup.

As the woman from the real world, who didnít smoke or really partake of the various activities available, I was not welcomed with open arms by all the denizens of Bachelor Heaven. As a woman who threatened to steal their crowned prince away from his Never-Never-Land existence, I was downright hated by one or two. In hindsight, I suppose it was telling that I clashed with his friends and lifestyle so jarringly.

Still, when I see movies that show the ďwild livesĒ of university students now, no matter how crazy the antics of those fresh-scrubbed frat boys are made to seem, I remember the real deal and how much crazier, and darker, and dirtier our reality was back then. When I get frustrated by the way the media portrays men as nothing but big dumb children that need their shrewish, tired, and too-smart-for-this-bozo wives to mother them into toeing the line, I remember that that sort of guy does exist; he just exists for a very short time span in his late teens/early twenties. Then he grows out of it and (hopefully) becomes the sort of man you rarely see on TV ads, and never on sitcoms; the sort of man who apparently isnít funny; the sort that works hard, pays his bills, takes care of his kids, and does his share of the chores. The sort of man you want marry, like I did.

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