By the time we reach our mid-20s, few of us share a property with friends, but why on earth not?
Read an interesting article the other day about straight women living together.
I always thought I might end up living with my old friend S by the sea with a menagerie (or whatever the group noun is) of cats, mad as a couple of batty old hens.
Actually, I don’t think this will come to pass as she decided to get sprogged up instead, but it still strikes me as a civilised way to live.
As the article points out, two or more women sharing a property was very common between the wars, when so many men had been killed. Sharing a house or flat gives women companionship, stability and support – like the flatmates you have when you’re younger, but on a longer-term basis. Sisters sometimes manage it, but when it comes to ‘mere’ friends, prurient eyes begin to roll in the sex-obsessed west.
I’ve suggested house-sharing to my sister, who is a widow in a coterie of widows, eight or so of them, each owning their own house, running up separate bills for electricity, gas and whatnot, eating most of their meals alone etc.
Unfortunately she feels they’ve all lived alone too long to be able to compromise with anyone again, and she has a point. Let’s face it, compromising even with someone you’re in love with is difficult enough, never mind with someone who’s just a friend. Still, at least if it’s women, hopefully no-one will be leaving up the toilet seat…
The set-up of the three women in The Ice House seems to me to be an ideal way to live if you’re single – one wing each and a big living room to share. Perhaps if the property market continues to squeeze we’ll see more of people pooling their resources in this way, which would certainly put an end to the loneliness so many people feel as they grow older.