When you move in with someone, be that your best mate; a group of old school friends; or the man who proposed that you live together whilst at the top of an escalator, you accept that along with a roof, you’ve agreed to share almost all facets of your life.
When I lived with Best Mate – ahh, those were the days – we shared more than we didn’t: as well as the usual clothes; make-up and long, protracted dissections of the previous night’s ill-advised shenanigans, there was mutual exasperation at both incarnations of the third flatmate; a love of caipirinhas at the Opal Lounge in Edinburgh; and many pots of coleslaw eaten whilst sitting on the kitchen floor.
During my first year in London when I was living with the girls, much wardrobe-based pilfering went on. It wasn’t unusual to go to the cupboard or drawers or jewellery box to find that the item you’d planned on for that evening had gone walkies (with the hair tongs still suspiciously warm), but it worked: for every item of one’s own that was out and about on loan, there was a piece in a flatmate’s room, not being worn, that would do just as well if not better.
These days, living with The Writer sees me less sharing the wardrobe than I am squatting in a tiny section of the end of it. For someone who preaches the intense difficulty of buying decent clothes to fit tall men, there is an abundance of good shirts, cashmere jumpers, and expensively tailored jackets in the listing little thing.
There is, of course, rather less to borrow from one’s 6-foot-lots boyfriend’s clothing collection when you’re a 5-foot-not-enough woman than when you’re living with two female friends. Still, I’ve not let that stop me and now when TW gets home, he’s wont to find me in one of his flannel lumberjack shirts (preferably already worn: seriously boys – if you’ve not yet discovered Terre d’Hermes, might I suggest you do so as a matter of urgency. Swoon) which is less ‘oversized’ on me than ‘entirely swamping’.
And I’ve not stopped there.
“What’s happened to this?” TW said the other day, pulling a white t-shirt off the shelf. He held it up by the shoulders to reveal an oddly misshapen garment.
“Ah. That might have been the one I borrowed the other day.”
“What did you DO to it?! It looks like you’ve turned it into a dress!”
“I might have slept in it…”
“Slept curled up in a little ball, with it pulled down over your knees by any chance?”
Whoops. Still, that’s one replacement white T-shirt GAP should be expecting to sell this week AND I have something extra to sleep in. Good news all round.
And the what’s-yours-is-mine works both ways.
Whilst I’m rather of the wrong size for TW to be borrowing my clothes – ain’t that a relief – that doesn’t mean that all my possessions are off-limits.
I walked into the bedroom the other day to find TW kneeling in front of my mirror (the fact that it’s at a convenient height for me to do my make-up means that it practically reflects TW’s belly button when he’s standing).
With a face full of concentration, he was waving the hairdryer, on full power, over his hair.
There was a moment’s pause as my eyes met his in the reflection of the mirror. The hairdryer fell silent.
“What?!” he said as I stood behind him, smirking ever so gently. “My hair… it stays more… I mean, it… look, it just looks better when I dry it like this, ok?”
And with that, the hairdryer went back on, and TW left the flat that morning with his hair looking particularly lush and voluminous.
For fear that we’re atop a slippery slope, I’ve locked up the volumising mousse, just to be on the safe side.