Naked perils of flat-sharing

When I first came to the Netherlands, I was so desperate for a place to live that I took anything. Because of this I ended up living in a shared-flat with a variety of people from all over the world. This is my experience of life with a Swedish man.

When my landlord told me that I would be sharing in a flat with a Swedish man named Johans, I thought ‘bloody hell, this sounds good’. In my head, the name ‘Johans’ conjured up images of a blond-locked beefcake who worked in a massage parlour. Unfortunately, the Johans that I met was 5ft 5”, rotund with an impressive beard, (rather like a Viking actually) and, from what I could gather about the way he made an omelette, should NEVER work as a masseuse.

For 2 months in the flat, it was just me and the Viking. Every evening (when I wasn’t binge drinking and skyping) we would have that uncomfortable conversation about the contents of our day – neither of us really that interested. What also lent the situation even more awkwardness was the fact that the Viking was not modest.

I remember one particular evening’s events that that will never be erased from my mind. I returned home from work and innocently opened the front door, took off my coat and walked down the hall, past the bathroom, suddenly realising that the Viking was showering with the door open and I saw things that no flat-mate should have to see. It was not just his face that was bearded.

Being me, I ran into my bedroom and closed the door, hoping that the incident that had occurred would never be mentioned again. However, a few moments later, a knock at the door signified that this was not to be the case. The Viking apologised and his reasoning was that he had not expected me to be home at that time. I pointed out that for 7 weeks I had returned home every evening at the same time so his reasoning was flawed and if he could please close the door when he showered, just as a nod to common decency and my appetite. Okay, so I said none of that but I thought it. Of course, what really happened was that I went red and told him that it didn’t matter.

Another Saturday night came and went, and I was about to go to bed (with a packet of m&ms of course) when the Viking returned after drinks. He walked through the door like a triumphant soldier returning with his spoils of war – in this case, the Viking’s spoils appeared to be a mousey-haired Dutch girl. As he and her made their way to his bedroom, I felt a sense of girl-to-girl duty to warn her and so I wanted to wanted to call out, ‘he has hair all over his body!’ but I didn’t.

Moments later I was subjected to a full audio of what happens when two become one, Swede-Dutch style. The next morning he had the nerve to say to me, ‘the walls are paper thin, I heard you banging the bathroom door  last night really loudly’. I thought , ‘listen mate, I have had 2 hours sleep due to some pretty loud banging myself so get out of my way  you clown!’

Aside from the above, he was a pretty nice guy.


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