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Sometimes, when you have an extra bedroom and a hard time saying “no” to friends, they come to stay with you. Often, and for too long. In the course of the past several years of hosting both terrific and terrible guests, I have developed a keen sense for detecting bullshit, learned to draw boundaries, and come up with a golden rule: If you act like an asshole in my house, you don’t get to come back and do it again.

This past week I had a friend from out of town come to stay with me. This was, perhaps, the worst house guest experience I’ve ever had. In true blue writer/blogger fashion, I had to write about it. Instead of detailing each of her offenses in an exhaustive essay, I’ve decided to make a list. Here are 14 easy ways to be a bad house guest, one step at a time:

  1. Tell your host that you will show up with some money to pitch in for groceries and that you will only be staying for a couple of days, but when you arrive be sure that you only have $5 and announce that you will be staying for an indeterminate amount of time.
  2. Upon arriving at your host’s home, immediately dump your luggage in the middle of the floor and leave it there overnight.
  3. Without a word, walk into the kitchen and rearrange the all the items in the refrigerator, freezer, and cabinets while simultaneously taking inventory of all the food items that you want to eat. Assume that you can help yourself to as much as you want whenever you want, no questions.
  4. Don’t have enough clothes or shoes of your own? No worries. Open the door to your host’s bedroom, walk right in, and put on anything you like. When your host looks at you with contempt simply say, “You don’t mind if I borrow this, right?”
  5. While you’re at it, ask your host if you can borrow her bra. When she says no, press her further, insisting that, “it’s not like I’m asking to share your used tampons or something.”
  6. Ask once if you can use your host’s computer to check your email, then attach your hard drive to it and use it whenever you want. Your work is too important.
  7. While watching TV with your host, wait until she leaves the room and then confiscate the remote and change the channel.
  8. When your host is leaving the house and asks if you would like to come, tell her no and explain that you are staying behind to masturbate (on her recliner. In her living room). Then ask her if she has any porn on her TV.
  9. You are invited to a party at the home of your host’s friend. Make an appearance, but don’t offer to help with anything. Eat and drink as much as you want, and ask probing questions like “are you two having sex?” Direct those probing questions to people you have never met before. Then, at the height of the party, ask the party host if you can sleep in his bed—and then turn the lights off and get comfortable.
  10. Assume that your host will drive you wherever you want to go, and don’t worry about gas money. In fact, ask if you can go on a road trip.
  11. After freeloading for a few days, ask your host if you can borrow some money. When she gives you the money, tell her you are broke and have no intention of paying it back.
  12. Leave crumbs on the stove, smear butter on the counter, grease up the toaster oven doors, and leave your dirty dishes in the sink. Do your dishes if you feel like it, but your host will probably get sick of them and wash them anyway.
  13. Make yourself at home. So much so that you lie spread eagle on the couch, offer food and drink to other people as they walk into your host’s home, give out your host’s cell phone number as your contact information, plan expensive meals with your host’s food, turn off all the lights in the house when you are ready to go to sleep, ask your host who she is speaking to whenever she is on the phone, complain about the comfort of the furniture or the set-up of the house, and leave a trail of your items in every room that you move through.
  14. When you leave, leave a pile of dirty items balled up on the couch and remind the host that she should wash them. Don’t offer any money, any help cleaning up, or any amount of gratitude. Your host should feel grateful for having had you stay at her home.
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