I’ve learned a lot about getting used to uncomfortable living situations in my first year of college, but a few weekends ago, I tackled something no person should ever have to face: the bro pad.
Urban Dictionary defines it as a “house that bros live in,” but really, it’s the tenth secret circle of hell that was so disgustingly horrible even Dante himself couldn’t bring himself to discuss it in The Inferno. And yet, at some point in all of our lives, there comes a time when the only space available to crash is the bro pad, whether that’s your friend’s, significant other’s or some semi-creepy friend of a friend’s place.
So, in order to pass on the wisdom I’ve gained from 1.5 nights I’d rather not recall, here are some tips for surviving your weekend at the bro pad.
1. Keep Yourself Organized
Things can easily get lost in the bro pad. That’s because the rotten pizza under the bed finally became sentient, grew tentacles and decided to mess with you, the house guest. So if you, like me, are a messy person, it’s best for you to just stay organized. Pick up some mini traveling containers at your local Face Values (you can even label your things if you’re that Type A). Also, purchase a handy dandy toiletries organizer that you can easily store in your suitcase/duffel bag. It’s a godsend for when you’re taking a shower there – bonus points if it easily hangs on a towel rack.
As far as clothes and shoes go, just don’t take too many. If you forget something at the bro pad, it’s gone forever. This is not the place to bring your brand new open-toe Birkenstocks. Not to mention you’ll probably cut your trip short because of how unbearably unsanitary the place is.
2. Bring Shower Shoes
You may be staying at a house/apartment, but think of the showering situation as communal. Unless you ask in advance, you don’t know how many guys there are to a bathroom until you get there. And sometimes, even one guy to one bathroom is a lot to handle. Just bring the shower shoes. If you don’t own shower shoes, bring flip-flops. They’re light and don’t take up a lot of room in your bag. Plus, you don’t know the last time the floors in the bro pad were vacuumed/cleaned. Your feet will thank you later. NEVER DOUBT THE IMPORTANCE OF SHOWER SHOES.
3. Use The Least Dirty Places To Your Advantage
You may be used to drying your hair in the bathroom, but really, all you need is an outlet to do that. Considering the fact that bro bathrooms are the usually the bro pad’s worst/scariest place, find a different area to do your hair. You may look ridiculous drying your hair in the living room, but it’s probably better than doing it by a toilet that emits poisonous odors.
The same goes for any other activities you’ll have to do in the bro pad, especially those involving getting ready. Getting ready in the bro pad is hands-down the hardest part of surviving it, especially if you’re a girl. Therefore, if you can minimize the difficulty in any way possible, it will speed up your getting-ready time and make you feel more comfortable.
4. Escape Whenever You Can
You don’t have to stay at the bro pad 24/7. Leave it. Get out of that treacherous place. Do something in the area, even if you’re just walking around aimlessly enjoying the sites around you. Make your trip about you to a certain degree. If you can find self-satisfaction during your stay, you won’t feel like it was a total waste of your time staying in that hell-hole.
This will also help you curb your inner Snow White from coming out. It’s not your responsibility to clean or reorganize the bro pad. In fact, the bro you’re staying with might hate you if you do that, even if it’s an improvement in your eyes. Honestly, if the bro is old enough to have his own place, he should also know how to take care of it by now, and the fact that he doesn’t just reinforces the fact that he is not quite a boy, but not quite a man either: he’s an inbetweener, a bro.
5. Prepare For The Unexpected
This is especially important for the bro with housemates/roommates. They could be out for the weekend, but suddenly come back and arrive with friends who they said they could lend the couch YOU’RE sleeping on. This happens pretty often because bros don’t communicate very well. Infuriatingly enough, they call it being “lax” and “chill” as they all do shrooms and decide to watch The Magic School Bus together. At any rate, just be prepared to shower with more people in the house or be more respectful toward them if you’re planning to stay again. You only have two options; you can find a way out of the bro pad or be flexible and deal with the change in plans. It may involve you sleeping on the floor or cutting your plans short – either way, you should be prepared with extra blankets or the adequate cash to get you out.
6. Don’t Be Afraid To Open Your Mouth
Chances are the bro you’re staying with probably knows his place is barely suitable for human life, but ignores this fact because he is too lazy to spiff up his pad. Thus, you have every right to open your mouth about how dirty it is or how uncomfortable you are. It serves him right for inviting you to crash without giving you a fair warning. And even if you invited yourself over, it still serves him right for not warning you beforehand. Had you known how much of a disaster zone his place was, maybe you could have made plans to stay with a less bro-ish friend, maybe the one with a compulsive need to clean.
However, don’t forget you should still be smart about this one. If you know the bro you’re crashing with is sensitive about this kind of stuff, or you feel uncomfortable opening your mouth when he is generous enough to take you in, it might be best to keep your mouth shut. But, I still wouldn’t be afraid to phrase things nicely if your situation is really, REALLY bad; by opening your mouth, perhaps your host can make his place more hospitable and comfortable for you.
On the flip side, if you feel super uncomfortable staying there, don’t feel bad about leaving early. He should understand, and even if he doesn’t, it’s not worth enduring the bro pad any longer. You’ll be safer, happier and healthier shelling out some extra cash at a hotel or staying at an acquaintance’s place than you would staying at the bro pad your whole time in town.