NYT profiles world's best roommates

Posted at 3:42 PM Jan 22, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

dallasbalcony.jpgMy room was pitch black. Must have been about 4 a.m. With a kitty nestled at my feet, I slept fitfully in one of Dallas' neighborhoods of lesser repute, the kind of place where gunshots were part of the weekend ambiance. (To be fair, this describes much of Dallas.) But the balcony had a beautiful view of downtown, and the kitchen was spacious. With a roommate, I could just barely afford it on my reporter's salary.

Suddenly, my bedroom door flew open. A tall, shadowy figure stood in the doorway, menacing. I didn't wait to reach for my glasses before I started screaming at the top of my lungs, seriously considering throwing Whiskey at the intruder, since he hadn't been de-clawed. The figure didn't move. Fifteen, twenty seconds passed. The intruder just standing there, me screaming. And then, finally: "Shut the fuck up! If you turn the a/c up again, I'M GOING TO KILL YOU FOR REAL." It was my wonderful roommate. I would survive, at least until the next time I touched the thermostat.

Roommating really isn't anyone's forté. Sure, you hear the odd urban legend about two BFF's who've managed to get along and agree on room temperature and an appropriate level of cleanliness. And then there's, well, everyone else on the planet. Except for two ladies profiled by the New York Times today.

Roselyn Leibowitz and Catherine Redmond are 54 and 65 and share what is verily a badass loft in midtown Manhattan:

"None of this would have been possible had we not been open and frank with each other," Ms. Redmond continued. "The question for me was, what can we be for each other and what can we not be. We had to be free." A large house with two separate wings or a brownstone with different apartments was the general idea. "And we had a rule -- never to lie to each other about anything," Ms. Leibowitz said. "If either of us felt uncomfortable with the place or anything about it we would not hide anything from each other."
The process of cohabitation was probably not impeded by the fact that one of them had $3.1 million to drop on a loft that could be renovated into two separate studios. The other pays rent. And oh, terror: they've never written any of this down.

"Our financial arrangement is a casual relationship between trusting friends," Ms. Redmond said. "To be sure, I am a beneficiary of Roz's immense generosity, but our friendship, and more important, the soul that is Roz's kindness to me, has never impinged on my sense of freedom."
Man, I hope it works out. Not only do I kind of love the idea of two middle-aged women rocking their singlehoods together, but I also kind of love the idea that friendship can survive this kind of financial arrangement. And also I hope that no one gets killed over a thermostat. It's no way to go.


SammyC said:

I shared my first apartment with my friend and we had no real problems. Even better, after a while both our girlfriends moved in and we still avoided any significant conflicts. I only lived in that place for like 1.5 years, but we didn't have a single argument during that time.

April said:

My husband and I currently live with two roommates (male, yes I'm a lone woman in a house with three men!! eck!) But I have to say, our lives have definitely been interesting. Sometimes I feel like my everyday life is a sit-com. It's only been six months, but we'll see how it goes. Needless to say, I think the 3.1 million would help!

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