I like living here. The apartment is HUGE and pretty and I pay very little rent. It’s actually kinda nice having people around, especially these particular people. Dandette planning and cooking most of the meals is a total game-changer for me and lets me put so much energy into other things (instead of figuring out how the hell to feed myself) that it’s just amazing. There’s a sweet doggo to hang out with, and an additional cat who is also sweet when he’s not using my stomach as a trampoline like a fucking bastard.
But there are a lot of adjustments. Like…a lot. There are a lot of things about this arrangement that twig my anxiety or even threaten my sense of self.
Like…from the end of my marriage twelve years ago up to now, I prided myself on being independent. Even like two months ago when I was desperate to get away from the Harpy downstairs, I was looking for an apartment that was just mine, even if it was the size of a closet and cost a thousand dollars a month and I had to ramp up my sex work activities in order to afford it. It was that important to me to live alone and depend on nobody else for my well-being*. My ex husband was in charge of all our money back in the day (and sometimes I didn’t work and he supported me) and this made me feel dependent and infantilized and I never wanted to be beholden to anyone like that ever again. And The Dandy has even made a few creepy comments before about how Dandette feels obligated to be extra nice to him because he pays her way, and he likes that. And now I’m living with him and letting him subsidize my living expenses. O.o
I’ve also always been kind of possessive and inflexible when it comes to my stuff, and now I’ve merged all my things with Dandette and Dandy’s – to a point, even, where I’ve given Dandette carte blanche to use my dildos (well, I did earmark two of them as just mine) as long as she puts a condom on them and runs them through the dishwasher after. And needless to say I can’t be as calculating and possessive about food as I was when I lived alone. “Okay, there are nine eggs left, that means I’ve got breakfast for the next three days” is simply not a thing that can happen in an apartment where there are three people and one of them bakes. I’ve told everyone that the drinkable yogurts are mine (I use them as work snacks and buy exactly enough to last me), but aside from that the fridge is kind of a free-for-all. On the up side, there are always delicious leftovers around. And I don’t seem to be getting the killer food cravings I got before (I assume because my diet is far more varied thanks to Dandette’s cooking so I’m not deficient in anything now) so it hasn’t been to hard letting go of control of the fridge. I mean I’m not having that thing where my body suddenly tells me EAT SOME FUCKING TUNA EAT IT NOW and then it turns out I’d mis-estimated and there is no tuna and I feel like I have a hole in the centre of my world (as has happened in the past). I seem, so far, to be able to be like “I’m hungry. Let’s see what’s in the fridge” and there are a few appealing things and I pick one, the way I’d imagine normal people do.
For the record, when Minx moved in with me we realized we collectively owned doubles of several different movies. She said we ought to sell the redundant copies (the “redundant” ones being whichever version looked more beat up). I agreed to this but kept “forgetting” to do so because I didn’t want to have to re-buy anything if we broke up. Which was prudent because we did break up in the end. With The Dandy and Dandette I’ve gotten rid of most of my cookware and cleaning supplies and my hair dryer and I forget what-all else, because they have those things already. I think I have a bit more faith in this relationship lasting. Mind you, the plan is for us to move to a bigger place where I have my own bedroom and The Dandy has an established history of continuing to support an ex and be on good terms after breaking up with them, so there’s that. 😛
There’s the thing where I’m part of a harem, which is quite frankly going fine so far but it irritates me on principle because it often feels like half the world (the kink world, anyway) expects women to be in some guy’s harem. And that it must mean the women are bi and submissive. I know that what people outside our polycule think doesn’t have any actual bearing on my life for the most part but still.
There’s the thing where the thought of having my life all entwined with someone else’s scares the shit out of me.. For the past bunch of years I’ve basically been solo poly and that suited me fine; I kept my partners at arms’ length enough that they never expected me to hang out with their parents or friends. When I broke up with someone I’d lose only them, not a whole ersatz family. And now I’ve let myself get all enmeshed with two people. Truth be told, I’ve been kind of secretly wanting a family and commitment and shit for a while. But it’s still scary as fuck.
And last but not least, there’s how much like a (weird, two-wived) 50s household we are, here. Not in the sense that Dandette actively wants to be a housewife to us. I mean: The Dandy is just chock-full of entitlement. He’s a middle-aged white dude and he comes from a pretty rich family (private school, multiple university degrees that his parents fully paid for so he has no student loan debt) and he’s just…really out of touch. Dandette says that when she’s talked about what it’s like to be poor, he was like “Oh, I know, at my first job out of college I was only making 30k!” (*Headdesk*) He seems to think of Dandette and I as his underlings, or perhaps he just has no idea what we do to keep things going and thinks the house cleans itself.** The way Dandette summons us to dinner and he swans in beaming with a kind of smug benevolence and eats the awesome meal she’s prepared without comment and then doesn’t bus his dishes just irritates the shit out of me. He’s sort of opaque…he’s deceptively cheerful-seeming pretty much all the time (including when his dad died a few years ago, apparently) and he has a solid track record of not communicating well so that the rest of us have to guess what’s going on with him. Dandette often talks about him to me as though he’s weather – this inescapable circumstance whose vagaries she’s at the mercy of. It makes me sick but I find myself commiserating and acting like he’s weather a bit, too. Neither of us has a lot of leverage with him since we don’t have the means to live on our own right now, so yeah, we have to try to figure out his thought processes and head off potential issues at the pass even though he won’t actually tell us there’s a problem. We need to ensure our continued security and livelihood.
I never wanted to be the kind of woman who talks about her partner like he’s some alien species and then rolls her eyes like “Oh well, what’re you gonna do?” and goes back to loading the dishwasher. But now that’s who I am. That’s the part I hate the most.
I mean, he’s also really good to us, and he’s pretty together on the feminist front. He doesn’t (or doesn’t consciously) believe that women are lesser or anything. He’s an okay guy. But god, that poor-little-rich-boy obtuseness. It kills me. One time a few months ago when I was apartment-hunting, I got turned down for a place because they didn’t feel I made enough money to afford it***. And the place demanded a money order for first and last month’s rent to even apply, and stipulated that if I got accepted I had to take the place – or at least that they wouldn’t give me my money back if I got in somewhere else. So the application process stalled my apartment-hunt for several days right at the beginning of the month. My current living situation had gotten so bad that it was giving me PTSD, but the housing market is so dire that it pretty much seemed like every half-decent place was taken within the first week of the month (I would call every half-decent ad on viewit.ca on the first of the month – sometimes twenty phone calls to twenty places – and I’d get maybe one viewing out of it if I was lucky! And this happened several months in a row!). Because I work freelance and am behind on my taxes, my only way to prove my income was to show printouts of my bank statements – and I was just starting to enter my slow season at work. I realized that I’d have to either get approved for an apartment somehow that very month, or start taking cash out of my line of credit and depositing it into my chequing account on a regular basis to make my income look more steady than it was. I was horrifically, crushingly stressed out with no end in sight, is what I’m saying. I had gotten to a point where I wanted not to be alive anymore (not suicidal ideation, mind you. Just…I couldn’t keep living where I was, every place in the city was seemingly either unaffordable or unavailable, and I didn’t have the resources to move to another city. The dilemma was breaking my brain and I wanted to wink out of existence so I wouldn’t have to struggle with the issue anymore).
So anyway, the day I got rejected for that apartment, I had plans with The Dandy. I took the bus to our appointed meeting spot, crammed between two strangers, trying not to cry or have a panic attack. I got to the spot and The Dandy he came striding over from where he parked his car, beaming benevolently as he does, wearing $300 shoes and a vintage designer wool overcoat and, I dunno, solid gold pants and a diamond shirt or some shit. And I knew that although he would understand in theory that I was stressed out, he’d never, ever really get it. He makes $93,000/year at an office that gives him paystubs and would write him a letter of employment. He’s been there a few years and his credit is fine. As long as there’s nobody ahead of him in the queue, he can apply for an apartment and get it. Even if it costs three times as much as the place I applied to he’ll get it. The most stress he’s ever felt about apartment-hunting is probably “Boy, I hope the place with the marble countertops and dishwasher gets back to me first. I liked that one marginally better than the one with the sunken tub and fireplace.”
And tbh I really, really wanted to punch him in the face.
*Platonic roommates are not exempt from this. If a platonic roommate was struggling financially and couldn’t always pay their share of rent on time; if they were passive-aggressive; if they were a loud partier; if they were often palpably sullen or cranky; all of these things would add to my stress levels exponentially. Do not want.
**I’ve agreed to be the official kitchen cleaner and I’m fine with that but The Dandy doesn’t even bring his dishes to the kitchen when he’s done. He’ll leave his half-finished plate of spaghetti to congeal on the table and just wander off, and a lot of the time I don’t notice until well after the food is dried on. If he’d scraped the food refuse off his plate and stuck it under running water for a sec, it would be an extra five seconds of effort for him; the fact that he doesn’t means I have to soak it and try to chisel all that shit off later on instead of just tossing it in the dishwasher. He’s making exponentially more work for me. Yesterday I mentioned this, just casual-like, and asked if he could just put his plate in the sink and run a bit of water on it from now on. We’ll see if he remembers.
***NB: I’d given them six months of banking records along with my application and in all of those months but one I made over a thousand dollars more than the rent of the place cost (enough excess money to cover that one shortfall and then some). So I don’t know wtf they wanted from me. Maybe they had a weirdly high idea of how much the average person spends on food and bills…