Breakdancing with B.

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My amazing friend M. texted me one Saturday as I rushed through my errands. We were celebrating her 40th birthday party that night, and she wondered if I could give someone named B. a lift. We made the arrangements, I got his details, and a few hours later, I picked him up from the metro. Only then did I realize that B. was the Syrian refugee student M. had convinced her college to sponsor.

Excited but worried about putting my foot in my mouth–apparently under the delusion it doesn’t permanently reside there–we set off. B. was lovely and shy, still adjusting to life in Canada and our winter deep-freeze. I broke the ice by immediately saying the dumbest thing imaginable, which he took very graciously. I struggled to treat him like a normal guy while desperate to ask him all the things I shouldn’t. About experiences that can’t be put into words. About languages and barriers and atrocities no human should ever witness. About the country he loved but barely escaped alive. About the journey to this place of refuge that will never replace his homeland.

We found common ground in the student experience and in our love of art. It lifted my heart to know that M.’s efforts had given a fellow artist a chance at a new life. B.’s passion is for breakdancing, and he hopes to collaborate on multi-media projects with his artist sister, who also emigrated. He’s young, that might change. But now he has choices.

In Syria, his parents forced him to study law. Here, he’s free to study what he wants, to create, to risk, to grow, to express himself to his fullest. I cannot wait to see what his future holds, how his talent, ambition, and life experience will be expressed through his art.

B. is the kind of person we are keeping out when we refuse refugees, when we build walls, when we let our politicians get away with the kind of racist and xenophobic rhetoric that is overtaking the world. The kind that inspired another young man around the same age as B., Alexandre Bissonnette, to commit an act of terrorism in the very province that B. came to escape that kind of violence. It enrages me and it breaks my heart that this place where I live, that I have called home for over 40 years, contains so much promise and, at the same time, so much ignorance. That we can welcome with one hand and shoot with the other.

This cannot stand. We cannot let it. People who watched their homes, their cities, their entire way of life be ravaged by war are asking us for help. Who are we if we turn them away? In ways small and large, we can make a difference.

The way that felt right for me was by setting up a monthly donation to the UN Refugee Agency, also known as the UNHCR. They are the world’s leading organization in helping those displaced by violence, conflict, and persecution find shelter, food, water, and medical care. You can donate as little as $20 a month, or do a one-time donation, or help with fundraising activities.

You can also give back by writing to your federal, provincial, or state politicians. By doing something charitable for the refugees in your community. By helping spread the word on your own blogs and social media. By taking on those with racist attitudes in your immediate circle.

By being the change you want to see in the world, one small step, one small gesture at a time.

Best Books 2016

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When your profession is writer/editor, idle time is always guilt time. Instead of an angel and a devil sitting on my shoulders, I have a two little dachshunds yapping “Why aren’t you writing?” whenever I have some free time. I decided to silence them with treats this year, in the form of dedicating a few hours after work three times a week to my own personal writing projects. While that has resulted in two, possibly three books that will likely see the light of day (via self-publishing) this year, there was a cost. And it was, alas, my reading time that paid most dearly.

So, while the five books I’m spotlighting this year are more than worthy of being on any best-of list, if you notice any major omissions (like, say, Hexmaker or one of Harper Fox’s treasures), it’s not because I didn’t like those books. It’s because I didn’t read them. Yet. But I did read a bunch of new-to-me authors this year, and I’ve given them some precedence over favorites I’ve mentioned many times before. Basically, the fine print is that this is more of a “Here are five great books” list than a definitive list of the best of 2016. The good news being there are just too many good books to read in the LGBTQ+ community and the publishing world at large. In a year that earned a permanent black mark in a lot of people’s memories, there are worse problems to have.

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Everyone in the LGBTQ+ romance community raved about this book, and everyone was right. A pitch-perfect “rub each other the wrong way until they rub each other right” historical with a strong mystery plot, you will fall in love with the endearing yet flawed characters, cursing why their world acts to keep them apart while swooning over the meticulous period detail. Scrumptious.

 

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Don’t overlook this little gem, a 1920s-set historical spy thriller featuring a cross-dressing analyst with big ambitions and a world-wary spook whose past comes back to haunt him. Together, they attempt to foil a major anarchist plot while trying hard not to fall for each other. The perfect setup for what will hopefully be a long and thrilling series. Devoured it over my vacation.

 

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Please judge this book by its gorgeous cover! (The best of the year, IMHO.) Voinov is at the absolute top of his game in this heart-wrenching romance about finding your people and embracing the life you want to lead. Lars is a bit of a loner who takes pride in his work and in helping people. He finds a worthy project in both Rhys’ house and Rhys himself. But he wouldn’t be able to succeed without the help of the coven that embraces both him and his heathen beliefs. This one will give you the big-time warm and fuzzies.

 

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I mean, what can I say about KJ Charles at this point? She brings it every single time. The third book in her Society of Gentlemen series, and the one I was most looking forward to. And, boy, did it deliver. Lord Richard Vane finds himself besotted with his ginger-haired valet, the wily David Cyprian. A passionate argument about class, morality, agency, and devotion ensues, along with more than a few misadventures. This book will challenge your preconceived notions of romance conventions while giving you all the romantic goodness you crave. Delicious and nutritious.

 

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No, this is not a romance novel. It’s a survival kit. Brian K. Vaughn does it again, spinning the cultural markers and anxieties of our present day woes into golden, riveting storytelling. Marcos Martin’s jaw-dropping art brings Vaughan’s dystopian carnival ride to life. You will laugh, sometimes at yourself. Your heart will race. You’ll look on our world with new eyes. A masterpiece.

Hit me up in the comments with some of your favorite books of 2016. Because my TBR list isn’t long enough. 😉

 

 

Best TV 2016

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I love serials. I won’t lie and say the words “To be continued”, whether written onscreen or implied, haven’t ever infuriated me–the end of the first season of Sherlock comes to mind. But there’s something I relish about the wait between episodes, between seasons, even between projects. Given how dense and complex some series are now, I appreciate the week or two break to digest what’s just transpired and speculate as to what might come next. Which is why you will never find me bingeing on more than two episodes a night. To watch a TV show all at once is, in my opinion, something of a waste. A good story, well-told, should be savored. The angsting is part of the fun.

Here are the ten fictional TV series that I watched in 2016 that gave me the most enjoyment (with bonus one-shots at the end), in no particular order.

The Americans (season 4)-You all better start watching this criminally underrated series about Russian spies hiding in plain sight at the height of the Cold War. It’s become a lot more timely. This season in particular was outstanding. Television is so often about avoiding consequences and maintaining status quo. Not on this show.

Game of Thrones (season 6)-This wasn’t its strongest season, but it will always have a place on this list. “Battle of the Bastards” is possibly one of the best episodes of television of all time.

The Night Manager (one and done)-More spy games, in picturesque European locations with a stellar cast and an exceptional director. Come for Hiddles, stay for Hugh Laurie and Olivia Coleman–I would say career-best performances, but they are always this good.

The People vs. OJ Simpson (anthology series)-Recontextualizing one of the most misunderstood trials and periods in US history. I lived through this, but I didn’t really understand it until I watched this show.

The Path (season 1)-I’ve always been a little obsessed with cult-like religions, and this fictional series about a very Scientology/Mormon-like religious cult is both fascinating and deeply emotional. An underrated gem.

Mr. Robot (season 2)-People were hypercritical of this season, but to me it was just as good as the first. Sam Esmail is doing things that will only be understood by media scholars 50 years from now. One of the most topical shows on TV.

And Then There Were None (one and done)-Exceptional adaptation of one of Agatha Christie’s best books. Made something I’ve read and re-read a dozen times scary all over again. Best Christie adaptation, period. Also, Aiden Turner in a towel.

Gilmore Girls (event series)-Loved every single second of being back with my girls, Lorelai, Emily, and Rory. Good for the heart, mind, soul, and funny bone. Perfect ending to a groundbreaking series.

iZombie (season 2)-This fun, riveting series really hit its stride in a brilliant second season. Rob Thomas has the knack for writing flawed but endearing characters that just get under your skin. Also, Ravi is the best!

Orphan Black (season 4)-My beautiful sestras! Loved how this season turned inward, revisiting its own origins while mining the core relationships for absolute gold. You cannot miss the magic trick of Tatiana Maslany’s performance as all five lead roles, and a few supporting characters along the way.

Honorable mentions:

Westworld (season 1), Victoria (season 1), American Crime (season 2), Transparent (season 2), Marvel’s Luke Cage (season 1), London Spy (one and done), Search Party (season 1), Eyewitness (season 1), Black Mirror’s “San Junipero” and “Nosedive” episodes

Biggest belly-flop: UnReal (season 2)

This is why I never read the book: War & Peace (one and done)

Show is good, costumes are exquisite: Outlander (season 2)

No, but seriously, that can’t be the end: Penny Dreadful (season 3-final season)

Most improved: Arrow (season five)

Most in need of improvement: The Flash (season 3)

Biggest disappointment: Daredevil (season 2)

It’s really fun, but I’m not sure if it’s any good: The Get Down (first half of season 1)

Hall of Fame: This is the first year Mad Men is not eligible to be on this list, and that makes me more than a little sad.

 

 

 

Best Movies of 2016

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This was a great year for film! That statement deserves an exclamation mark because 2016, despite its many flaws, gave us some exemplary movies. Films that left me sobbing into my sleeve, dancing to my dinner reservation, thrilled and angsty and gob-smacked all at the same time. In an era of peak TV, the best of the 2016 slate of releases (not accounting, of course, for the many, many exceptions because no film year is devoid of piss-poor garbage) could stand toe to toe with most episodes of prestige TV and come out the winner. So here’s my list, in no particular order because we don’t roll like that. I had to make some hard choices to confine it to ten. Don’t forget to check out the fun stuff at the end.

Hell or High Water–No one was more surprised than me by how much I loved this Western noir for our times. Most perfect ending to a film possibly since Breaking the Waves, the flick I think has the most perfect ending of all time.

Zootopia–Fun and zany and cute and imaginative from frame one to the end. All kids films should be like this, with an amazing female protagonist and a strong, not spoon-fed message.

A Bigger Splash–Tilda Swinton as a rock star who lost her voice in Italy, with a spirited Ralph Fiennes along to stir up trouble. Mystery, music, and sun-drenched mayhem ensure. Blissful.

Captain America: Civil War–Slow and steady wins the race. Marvel built up to this epic battle between their two most beloved characters, neither of which is entirely right or wrong, and it blew my mind. (And broke my heart. Tony, Cap, can’t we all just get along?) This is the real 50 Shades of Grey, LOL. With a supporting cast an Oscar-bait indie would envy. They took the time to do it right, and there’s no stopping them now.

Moonlight–These are the kinds of stories we talk about when we say we need more diverse voices, in front of and behind the camera, in film. Poetic, political, sensual, and devastating.

Arrival–It’s like this movie was made for me. I don’t have enough words, but here are a few: the enigmatic nature of language, love, and how we connect as people, as partners, as nations, as a species. An intergalactic love song made by one of Quebec’s most visionary filmmakers.

Sing Street–Adorable coming of age flick with a ridiculously fun soundtrack and more ’80s references than a new romantic has cans of hairspray.

La La Land–Hearts, flowers, glitter, fireworks, unicorns, confetti… swoon! See it, FFS!

20th Century Women–Three women from three different generations help one of them raise a teenage boy to be a man. If you are a woman, you will adore this brilliantly observed and balls-out film. If you’re a man… well, you will definitely learn something.

Manchester by the Sea–In which Kenneth Lonnergan, with the sparest dialogue and the most meticulously structured plot, tears out your heart.

Worth mentioning:

Best scene in an otherwise mediocre movie: “Would that it were so simple”, Hail Caesar!

Best scene in a fantastic movie: “Menstruation dinner”, 20th Century Women

Face-meltingly hot: The Handmaiden. Also best use of subtitles for its Japanese/Korean color scheme.

Not really sure if I liked it, but huge points for originality: The Lobster

Overrated even before the controversy: The Birth of a Nation

Ballsiest ending: Rogue One

Proof that actors are irreplaceable: the CGI resurrection of two major characters in Rogue One. Memo to Kathleen Kennedy–don’t even think about doing this to General Organa in Episode XI.

Still trying to figure it out, but happy to be befuddled: Nocturnal Animals

The future of low-key sci-fi is bright: Midnight Special

Wish it had done well enough to earn itself a sequel: The Nice Guys

Biggest heartbreak that wasn’t, alas, much of a surprise: studio execs’ misogynist interpretation of Ghostbusters’ box office.

Wake me up when it’s over: Certain Women

John Hughes award: The Edge of Seventeen

Best ugly cry: The Light Between Oceans

More white savior BS: Live by Night

I thought comic book movies were supposed to be fun: Batman V. Superman, Suicide Squad.

Franchises that need to be put to bed: Star Trek, Jason Bourne, Jack Reacher… okay, maybe all of them not by Marvel or Lucasfilm.

Pretentious BS masquerading as feminism: Neon Demon

Come for the stars and spectacle, leave because of the rapey subtext: Passengers

Mediocre movie I loved: Miss Sloane.

Has everything working for it but just fell short of perfection: Jackie

Just give this woman an Oscar already: Viola Davis, Fences

I liked this a lot more than everyone else: The Legend of Tarzan

Because seeing movies on film, in the cinema, with a crowd is still the most fun thing ever: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Film critics are falling all over each other for that I loathed with every fiber of my being: Patterson (how does Adam Driver get these parts, seriously?)

Film audiences went crazy for that had me scratching my head: Deadpool

Films I haven’t seen yet that I want to: Moana, The Founder, A Monster Calls, Hidden Figures.

Hit me up in the comments with your picks and pans!

Five Things I’m Loving Right Now – Xmas 2016 Edition!

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Selina Claus here, lugging a sack full of pop-culture treats you can read, watch, or binge this holiday season. While I dearly believe in the spirit of giving, once the hustle and bustle of parties and presents is done, I hope each and every one of you takes some time for yourself. It’s been a tough year for so many of us, so indulge. Steal a moment to snuggle in with a good book. Shove the kids at your significant other and sneak off to the movies with a friend. Or spend a night in with a couple of overlooked series. I can’t say this list has something for everyone, but you won’t be disappointed if you give yourself these gifts of entertainment.

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Search Party

This amazing series is a true hybrid: a comedy with mystery and suspenseful elements that’s also a slice of life drama. If your life is that of a restless millennial still in the job you fell into after college and a life that lacks definition. Dory and her hilarious group of friends investigate the disappearance of a college acquaintance through a series of increasingly weird and wonderfully bizarro adventures. But are they really searching for Chantal, or for themselves? The writing is as sharp as the satire, and every character is lovable despite their epic flaws. By the end you, like Dory, will be searching for more.

La La Land

A love letter to Old Hollywood musicals and a vibrant, enrapturing addition to that canon, Damian Chazelle’s movie bursts with color, life, and emotion. A visionary filmmaker who is also an accomplished musician, Chazelle imbues every scene with a rhythm and tempo all his own. I dare you not to be singing the songs for the rest of the week. The love story is the perfect antidote to the winter blahs. It will make your heart soar, and might even break it a little. Here’s to the fools who dream.

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Seven Summer Nights

There’s something about Harper Fox’s lush prose style that’s perfect for the holiday season, like the literary equivalent of a cozy blanket. In this post-WWII historical romance, an archaeologist with PTSD and the country vicar who helps him through find a special place for each other on those eponymous summer nights. Fox’s characters always suffer so beautifully, which makes their eventual healing that much more well-earned. Fall under her spell.

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Eyewitness

Come for the budding romance between two high school hotties–soulful Phillip and skittish Lukas–and stay for the twisty mystery that sees the brilliant Julianne Nicholson on the hunt for a killer-in-plain-sight while overcoming the ghosts of her past. This series has it all, compelling LGBTQ protagonists, a complicated female lead, not one but two heart-rending romances, a pair of frenemy sisters, and a Machiavellian but sympathetic villain. Don’t miss it!

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Manchester by the Sea

This movie takes its time revealing its tragedy. A study of grief, but also resilience, it’s ostensibly about a man who gains custody of his nephew after his brother’s sudden death. But there are layers to this onion, and the deeper you go, the more you ache for all involved. Writer/director Kenneth Lonnergan’s takes a story that cuts to the bone and seasons it with a wicked sense of humor, characters you root for, and an extra sprinkle of human foibles. You will recognize your family; you will recognize yourself. A masterpiece.

The happiest of holidays to you and yours!

Selina

Still Stronger Together — Let’s Find Ways to Help!

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“That is one thing that Men call ‘hope.’ ‘Amdir’ we call it, ‘looking up.’ But there is another which is founded deeper. ‘Estel’ we call it, that is ‘trust.’ It is not defeated by the ways of the world, for it does not come from experience, but from our nature.”
–Finrod, Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth, HoME X Morgoth’s Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien

The picture attached to this post is of my tattoo. In the Elvish language of Sindarin, it means “Estel” or “hope”. I got it at one of the lowest points in my life, so that hope would always be with me. I’ve thought about it a lot this week as my hope in humanity was tested in ways I never thought it would be in my lifetime.

I write historical romances. It’s kind of par for the course that I spend a lot of time thinking about how people lived at other times in history–inevitably harder times. As a woman, I wonder how my female ancestors endured when they were forced into arranged marriages and treated like possessions (or worse, much worse). As a person who has never experienced prejudice because of the color of my skin, I am awed by the strength and resilience of people who were and continue to be enslaved/oppressed/impoverished for that very reason. As a cis het woman who has more or less always know that’s exactly what she was, I marvel at those who every day have to wade through a sea of abuses and micro-aggressions just to be who they are inside. I am constantly made aware of the privileges I hold, being white, being Canadian, being straight, being cis-gendered. I think the reason I’m compelled to write about history is because I will never, deep-down, understand the compulsion to hate people who are different. (Which isn’t to say I’ve never hated anyone–I have. And I’ve been confronted with my own prejudice on multiple occasions.)

I’ve spent the last few days writing this post over and over again in my head, and I’m still not sure what to say. I just know that I can’t stay silent. I am appalled that so many US citizens voted the way they did, for a blatantly and unapologetically racist, sexist, misogynistic, xenophobic bigot with ties to Russian dictators and the worst of Wall Street. I live in a place, Quebec, where we’ve come close to adopting some very fascist legislation–most recently thee years ago–so one thing I am intimate with is the suffocating fear these kinds of political actions can bring on.

I want to say to all my LGBTQ+ friends and readers, all those who are POC and First Nations and of the Muslim faith, to young women devastated that Hillary will not be the first female president, and anyone else affected by Drumpf’s totalitarian regime, that there is still hope. It’s taking me a lot to write that, and I am super privileged, so I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you to cling to even a shred of hope. I know terror and despair are like boulders crushing the breath from your chest. Take care of yourselves and take the actions you need to survive. I am clinging to the hope I try to carry with me every day. I hope you will, too.

In that spirit, if any of you know of organizations that provide shelter or therapy, legal or any other kind of support for those most in danger of losing their rights or worse, please post that information in the comments. I’ll update this post in a week or so, for ease of access. Let’s come together to help everyone who’s most at risk right now. Because I still believe that we are stronger together.

Here are a few to get the ball rolling. I’m sure donations to these organizations are more than welcome!

-The ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/
-LAMBDA Legal: http://www.lambdalegal.org/
-Black Lives Matter: http://blacklivesmatter.com/

-The Trevor Project: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
-This is a living document some amazing people are putting together to provide LGBTQ+ people with all sorts of necessary information and links: https://docs.google.com/…/1rl6h6If4HllNoZmRF3cOl-JGO5T…/pub…
-GLBT National Help Center: http://www.glbthotline.org/
-The hashtags #TransLawHelp and #TransCrowdfund
-The Indian Law Resource Center: http://indianlaw.org/content/programs
-International Rescue Committee (help for illegal and recent immigrants): https://www.rescue.org/topic/immigration

Please add any local or US-based organizations you know of to the comments (geoblocking is messing up my Google).

Love and strength to you all,
Selina

Bad Roommates: I’ve had ’em

**THIS IMAGE IS UNDER STRICT EMBARGO UNTIL TUESDAY 8TH JUNE 2010**  Picture shows: Craig (JAMES CORDEN) and The Doctor (MATT SMITH)   TX: BBC One, Saturday 12TH JUNE 2010

Independence. It’s not always all it’s cracked up to be.

If you’ve been single and under the age of 30 for any significant length of time, then chances are you’ve had one or more roommates. You might have been assigned them by a college or university. You might have gambled on a good friend or acquaintance. Or, perhaps you were especially brave and advertised/answered an ad. If you’re one of the lucky ones who is still in touch with said roommate, consider them one of your dearest, and, in your more wistful moments, wish you were still living together, this post will (hopefully) entertain. You may even permit yourself, in the deep recesses of your heart, a smug little laugh.

No, this post is for those of us who understand the special kind of hell that is living with a bad roommate. Who have watched perfectly normal-seeming people turn into the kind of seven-deadly-sinful monsters fought by bespectacled teenagers with wands and Scooby Gangs with pointy sticks that aren’t wands. Who have encouraged, cajoled, pleaded, begged, promised their firstborn to utterly disrespectful people if only they’d [insert request here]. I have had two such experiences and, let me tell you, there is a reason I now live alone.

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In graduate school, away from my family for the first time, I lived in the international student cottages section of my UK university. Six students to a cottage, each with their own room, but sharing a bathroom, a kitchen, and a dining room (the latter really just a large table beside the square of appliances). I lucked out on three of them. Teddy the Newly Out Bear was the son of a restaurant owner who taught gaggles of Japanese girls how to make dumplings on weekends and watched every episode of Queer as Folk with me. Girl Who Shares My Real First Name was your typical English rose with an affable, adoring, permanently attached boyfriend. Southern Belle became my close friend and fellow pub-crawler, despite her strict religious upbringing (and my liberal atheist leanings).

But then there was M. She doesn’t get a cute nickname. Used to servants scurrying to fulfill her every whim, I don’t think she had ever seen a fridge before, let alone learned how to use one. She left so much food to rot–and by that I mean lettuce would liquefy and drip all over our food–that we had to eventually get a second fridge, leaving her the bacteria-laden cave that we moved out into the hall. She avoided spending any time with us as a rule, ignoring our hellos and early-weeks’ invitations to have a cuppa. She never met a song she didn’t want to play at full volume at all hours of the day and night. But her piece de resistance came one Sunday morning while the rest of us were gathered around the kitchen table, having a fry up.

Southern Belle left to have a shower, only to discover that M had spilled her black hair dye all over the bathtub and not even made a cursory effort to clean it up. In Belle’s words, it looked “like a horse had a bath in there!” By this time, we were deeply fed up with her rebuffs and her behavior, so we pounded on her door until she “woke up”, letting her know that she would be cleaning the bathroom. Which she proceeded to do. With dish washing fluid and a facecloth. You can imagine how much good that did. So the four of us ended up taking turns scrubbing with actual bathroom cleaner and cursing her name for most of Sunday afternoon. And strongly suggesting she move in with her boyfriend.

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A suggestion I would come to rue a mere six months later. Before leaving for the UK, I worked at a cinema for three years. The staff was a tight-knit group: we made work feel like play; we partied afterwards; we had each others’ backs. So, naturally, when two of my most responsible former co-workers needed a roommate, I jumped at the chance. The last thing I wanted to do, moving back to Canada after a year and a half living in a foreign country, was keep on living with my parents. Arrangements had to be made while I was still in the UK, so they chose the apartment… and got suckered by a slum lord.

The place itself wasn’t horrible–it just wasn’t the cute apartment they had originally been shown. Instead, it was the exact same layout in the building opposite, with words painted into the walls and scum so bad the whole place had to be bleached. I was still out of the country when they discovered the bait and switch, so I escaped most of the painting process. Which is why our kitchen ended up being navy blue.

K was my former manager. The oldest, the savviest, allegedly the most responsible of the three of us. At work, she’d been a by-the-book badass. You can guess where this is going. Just before I got back, my other roommate, Updo, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and was in the hospital for two months. It was during this time that K painted the kitchen, knowing full well our lease said it needed to stay white. Her little housewarming gift to us, apparently.

When Updo and I moved in, K’s room was full of stuff. Like, storage closet-level full. But she didn’t live in the apartment a day the entire year we were there. She got back together with her on-again, off-again boyfriend a week before we took possession of the apartment and went to live with him. She would come around occasionally when we weren’t there, to eat our food and watch our cable TV. Every month we had to beg/threaten her for her share of the rent. Because of Updo’s hospital stay and continued crappy health, she wasn’t in a position to pay $100 more a month, and I was just out of school, looking for my first job. K didn’t help us fight our gross slum landlord, code name Bastard Man, who also used to creep around our apartment when we were out. When our lease was up and we decided to go our separate ways, she sent her boyfriend to repaint the kitchen for her. He did such a half-ass job that I was stuck doing it the night before moving day, after working a 12-hour shift at my new job and having to move Updo as well, who had just had surgery. (Postscript: she’s managing her condition and perfectly fine today.) Our saving grace was that K’s name was on the lease, so we had some leverage when pleading with her for rent/painting/getting her stuff the hell out of there.

So, those are my tales of roommate woe. Infuriating at the time, but with the benefit of a few decades’ distance… nah, still infuriating. But I’m sure you’ve got a far worse tale to tell! Please share in the comments, so we can all commiserate together.