Friday Fluff, Sweet Machine

Friday fluff: Unlikely roomies

FJ and I have been roommates twice, once at nerd camp and once at college. You’re probably not surprised to hear this, since we clearly have a lot in common (even if our sleep cycles differ). We did the usual college roomie things: swapped clothes, listened to music too loud, had midnight snacks, got the giggles at 3 am and annoyed our neighbors. It worked: we were good roommates.

There’s a slideshow today at The Daily Beast that features famous roommates (who were roommates first and famous later, mostly). You’ve probably heard about Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones, which is weird but kinda makes sense as a duo. But did you know that Frank O’Hara and Edward Gorey were college roommates? Can you even imagine what their parties must have been like?

So this inspires today’s fluff question. Forget people who actually were roommates. Instead, we ask: who should have been roomies? Miss Conduct and Miss Manners? MeMe Roth and Papa Willett? Kate and Dan Savage? Tell us your creative would-be roommates in the comments.


109 thoughts on “Friday fluff: Unlikely roomies”

  1. We did the usual college roomie things:

    wrote poems by Robert Frostt; made lists of people who would bring us warm milk; yelled at a church; determined that it’s no fair naming your kid an adjective when your last name is a noun; made nail polish paintings; sumo a capella; wrote poems about volcanista; chicken hat.

  2. Right, we also fell out of bed holding our new gallon of milk. Or whatever that was.

    Okay, I will stop it with the inside jokes. :)

  3. Ooh! One of my favorite roommate activities was suggesting adjective names for the hypothetical future children of my roommate, last name Lee. Frank, Belle… it’s a great game.

  4. I had a boyfriend/good friend whose last name was Case. That was a fun “pick your kids’ first names” game. He now has two kids with totally not-punny names. Ah well. No Justin or anything. (Wasn’t Justin Case a Carmen San Diego character, by the way??)

    Roommates: PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk with ANYONE who gets feminism and fat acceptance. Melissa McEwan from Shakesville? Not to put her through it, but still…

  5. Orson Scott Card and Stephene Meyer.

    I’m not saying it wouldn’t be horrifying, but still, if any two people deserve each other…


  6. By time I got into college, I was an adult, with 2 children. So I never experienced the roomie thing. Add this to my list of things I didn’t know I wish I had experienced until

  7. Ooh, good call, AnthroK8! They would be the best room to host debate-watching and election night parties.

    Beth Ditto and Rachel Maddow could have the cool queer girls’ corner where it didn’t matter if you were butch or femme.

  8. Don’t sweat it too hard, April. My first college roommate and I…eh. I think they got our forms and were like, :oh, they both like rowing, and the outdoors, and stuff like that, perfect!” Whereas she was interested in boating and laying in the sun, and I was more mudpies and climbing trees. She moved out after a semester.

  9. Come to think of it, I don’t think the Kate/Meme combo would last long. Meme would see a fat person being happy and explode.

  10. I’m bringing the red-and-blue sprinkled bi-partisan donuts to the Franken-Stewart debate watching parties.

    I want to be the RA on the Maddow-Ditto floor because Rolling Stone quoted Rachel Maddow saying she liked the show Foyle’s War. (A mystery series set in 1940’s England.)

    Michele Bachman and Meme Roth would be great roommates because they would be fun to annoy. And probably they would form a vortex of craziness so profound they’d collapse themselves into another dimension. Being their TA for Intro To Something Basic and Collegey would be fun in a Critical Thinking Grading Smackdown.

  11. The Frank O’Hara/Edward Gorey thing is one of my favorite facts in the entire world, because I am obsessed with Frank O’Hara and everything about him is my favorite fact in the world. This doesn’t have anything to do with roommates, but I will take any excuse to share my favorite literary anecdote ever –

    O’Hara was giving a reading and was getting heckled by Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, who were there being assholes because that was kind of their M. O., I guess. At one point Kerouac shouted out, “You’re ruining American poetry, O’Hara!”

    to which O’Hara responded: “That’s more than you’ve ever done for it.”

  12. Scott Card and Stephanie Meyers! Brilliant, if a bit un-BYU! Ingrid Newkirk really deserves Sarah Palin as a roomie, don’t you think? Just because I’m a mean, mean person.

  13. “I would prank them SO HARD.”

    Oh, yes. And I would show up at their rooms looking very earnest and polite and passionate and keep excitedly inviting them to Womyn’s Center Masturbation Workshops and Menstruation Celebrations and protests and suchlike.

    (I totally went to Naked Hippie College in the Midwest in the 90’s, and the Wmyns C. had both of those events while I was there. A friend still has their “We Want You To Come” ad poster for the former. Then again, I can’t see Roth or Bachman having settled on Naked Hippie College in the Midwest as the right school for them, so we are in serious fantasy territory now.)

    And THEN I would prank them in the dark hours of the night.

    Heh heh hehhh…

  14. Oh, and before I go do some actual labor for which I am paid:

    Emma Goldman and the members of Sleater Kinney, for some serious intergenerational riot grrrrlllll mayhem.

  15. Hey, they left out Dennis Leary and Steven Wright!!!

    As long as we’re pairing comedians, let’s get together Margaret Cho and Caroline Rhea. LULZ!

  16. Who is Papa Willett? Is he like the male MeMeMe or the opposite? If you put them both in a room together, would they cancel each other out? Or would they form a black hole of annoyance that would suck in all the other fat-haters? I want to know!

  17. Walter Willett is the king of launching studies that use imaginary study groups to come to hysterical conclusions about teh fatz.

  18. Do any of the parents here subscribe to BabyFirst TV? I nominate Sandra Lee (of Semi-Homemade notoriety) and that awful woman on BFTV who does the ugly “crafts” projects. Because using powdered drink mix is so much cheaper and safer than getting non-toxic fingerpaints!


  19. SM and FJ also covered all of their furniture and walls in snipped-out WWN headlines, and introduced two very important penguins to our house. Though for what it’s worth, I feel it’s important to note that the poetry about me was written in my room. In addition to some other very important poetry, which I can still quote upon request.

    (SM and I were only roommates once, not twice, and it wasn’t for a whole year, so I do NOT have the same cred. Mostly we were stupid a lot.)

    I heartily second the suggestion of John Cleese and John Oliver. I can’t come up with anything better than that.

  20. it’s no fair naming your kid an adjective when your last name is a noun

    How about an adverb and verb? There’s a dance studio in my city named after the owner, I assume: Shirley McPhail School of Dance.

  21. Oh, adverbs are definitely tricky, too. “McPhail” at least has that “Mc” to distract you.

    Favorite scholar name ever: Hugh G. Dick. WHY WOULD YOU USE THE “G”?

  22. Paul Krugman and Bill O’Reilly.

    Paul can come live with me when he gets tired of all of Bill’s loofah talk.

    Oh I would pay Palin and Newkirk’s tuition to see those two bitches fight it out.

  23. Nakes Hippie college… hmmm wouldn’t happen to start with an O end with an N and be in a little place called Oxford would it?

  24. What’s with all the Orson Scott Card haet?

    Hugh G Dick amuses me.

    If Stephanie Meyer is going to be with someone, I think it should be Anne Rice. Maybe vampire-books-with-actual-sex-and-some-plot would rub off on her ¬_¬

    Also Anne Rice’s vampires are a lot less emasculated.

  25. Combining Unfortunate Naming Practices with Roommates gives us:

    Emma Goldman and Oliver Sacks, double majoring in anarchic finance and investment psychology.

    fatsmartchick: no, no. It did occur to me after writing that down that there are many Naked Hippie Colleges in the Midwest, including Macalester, Grinnell and the O-in-Oxford one. My one starts with B and rhymes with Schmeloit, and Creative Writing and Anthropology rank among the most popular majors there.

    We ran around without pants a lot.

  26. I also went to Naked Hippie College in the Midwest in the 90s. It definitely started with O and ended in N. My freshman year roommate experience was not good, though. I still have no idea why they put us together, except that put together our names made an amusing pun. After that I lived with a friend and we never looked back.

    Speaking of adjective/noun names, I used to know a woman named Sandy Foote. She married that name actually, and eventually got divorced and remarried so now her name’s Sandy Something Else, which is a bummer.

    Nothing was better than my schoolmate Joe Head and his dad, Dick, though.

  27. How about Octavia E. Butler and Ann Coulter? I can only imagine the fireworks. XD Or Octavia E. Butler and just about any stodgy conservative… (Can you tell I just love her? XD)

  28. . . . which is in Boberlin, OH, by the way. Oxford is the home of Miami University, which I don’t think contains any naked hippies. I could be mistaken. The only people I’ve known who went there were sort of standard clothed Midwesterners.

    One of my classmates suggested putting Michele Bachmann and Barney Frank in a room together for lulz. Although Rep. Bachmann already seems to have a roommate, and I don’t know that I’d wish that on Rep. Frank . . .

  29. Note: I meant a small room with a microphone and some sort of inflammatory statement to make them start arguing. They sit in a room together most days, I’d guess.

  30. Ken Ham and Christopher Hitchens.
    Ted Haggard and Graham Norton.

    And in the room just next door to me, David Tennant and David Morrissey.

    I didn’t realize all of you had roomed together – did you tell each other about the blogging ahead of time, or stumble on it and then finally realize there were people you knew under those pseudonyms? ‘Cause that would make for a wacky cool girlfriend movie.

  31. @drst and others

    I went to a writing class by Orson Scott Card (and I had to look him up to find out anything about him before the class –and I am a huge scifi fan so what does that say) but this was right when Twilight and Stephanie Meyer were hitting it big.

    Anyways, someone in the audience asked him about it since they are both Mormons and he said that she took his class and was writing the first of those novels and he hates vampire fiction. Totally felt like it was a book about forgiving the bad, abusive boyfriend and that it was a horrible example of writing but since it was popular, it didn’t matter. He just wouldn’t read it because he hates that sort of stuff and finds all vampire tales boring.

    Just saying…

    His class was interesting, whatever you might think of him personally.

  32. Haven’t had the roommate experience unless you count siblings and ex significant others. But I did have a customer in my early days in banking: Ruth Orr Gee.

  33. I didn’t realize all of you had roomed together – did you tell each other about the blogging ahead of time, or stumble on it and then finally realize there were people you knew under those pseudonyms? ‘Cause that would make for a wacky cool girlfriend movie.

    Ha! That would be a good plot. The real story is simpler: FJ and volcanista and I are long-time friends in real life (if long distance) and we all spend enough time online that we let each other know about interesting places to hang out online (like LJ fats, which is where we first met Kate).

  34. Does it seat two?

    Five, actually — I was planning to build it out of my station wagon. (I just mentioned this to my mom and, hilariously, she immediately started helping me with my time-travel cover story. “Well, you’re the right age to pretend to be a Radcliffe student…”)

    Re: dog with piglet: Whatever, that dog’s just fattening up its bacon snacks.

  35. How’s this for unlikely roommies:

    Bobcat and Fawn

    Just in case anyone needs a bit of cute for the weekend.

    Also, I want to see Papa Bear O’reilly share a space with Stephen Colbert for a semester. How long before the temper blows and the facade drops?

  36. Oh my god, AnthroK8, Emma Goldman!!! I heart that woman so hard. Way to be rocking it at a time when the world really DID NOT WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT.

    (I was in Union Square for the first time just after I saw Ragtime/found out about her for the first time, and I had that whole bit about “the night that Goldman spoke in Union square…” floating about in my head and it was amazing /fangirl)

  37. Fred Phelps and George Takei


    I wouldn’t wish it on George Takei, though, he seems so darling,

    I also really liked Meme Roth and Paula Deen. Nice!

  38. And also further, I want Sara Ramirez (from Grey’s Anatomy) and Lisa Edelstein (from House) to be in the room beside me.

    Did you know Lisa Edelstein wrote, directed and starred in a one-woman musical about AIDS called Positive Me in NYC back near the start of the HIV epidemic? And Sara Ramirez won a Tony as The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot? And there are all these photos of Lisa as a crazy 90s NY club kid and of Sara partying in Las Vegas with Kate Walsh from Grey’s and I just WANT TO BE THERE TO HEAR WHAT THEY WOULD SAY TO ONE ANOTHER. IT WOULD BE AWESOME.

  39. On the funny names tip, I went to high school with a girl of middle eastern heritage who’s last name was Maboubifarhti (my booby farty, if you needed any help). And when I was a kid, my mother knew an elderly southern lady, a former debutante, who’s name was Lily White (White was her married name, from her first husband). When I was about 9 years old, she got married for the third time to a man who’s last name was Butts and she became Ms. Lily White Butts. I swear on a stack of bibles (well, I would if I was religious) this story is true. Even now, years later, it still cracks me up.

    Awesome roommates? Me and Nick Cave.

    And I had no idea that OS Card was a homophobe. I was really into his books in college. Damn, that sucks.

  40. orson scott card lives near where I do and writes a HORRIBLE column for the local “conservative” paper (the kind you can read for free at local restaurants). It’s a decently big paper, but totally horribly conservative. and I loved the ender books but I am mad that he is such a hateful bigot. :(

  41. Tom Waits and Carole Kane, because eavesdropping would be AWESOME.

    Shakespeare and Kenneth Branaugh, for the amusing kiss ass.

    Oprah Winfrey and one, or all, of the SP Bloggers. Someone needs to stage an intervention.

  42. In each of these roomie pairs, which one would move out first?

    Dan Savage and Rick Santorum

    Jamie, yours cracked me up, but MeMe Roth and Gina Kolata.

    Anne Lammott and Ann Coulter

    Rush Limbaugh and the Dalai Lama

    Janeane Garafalo and Condoleeza Rice

    Julia Sweeney and Elisabeth Dole

    A.A. Milne and E.B. White

    Mike Myers and Matthew Broderick

    Wes Anderson and Peter Jackson

    Captain Kangaroo and Mister Rogers

    Dora the Explorer and Daria

    Sanda Tsing Loh and Kelly Ripa

    Margaret Cho and Sarah Palin

    Tavis Smiley and Larry Elder

    okay, that’s all I’ve got for now.

  43. Wellroundedtype2, those are great!

    Now my husband’s playing along.

    Bobcat Goldthwaite and Stephen Wright.
    The Dog Whisperer and Dog the Bounty Hunter.
    Chuck D and Cat Stephens.

  44. I’m going to go with Santorum, Roth, Lamott, Limbaugh, Garofalo, Sweeney, White, Broderick, Anderson, Kangaroo, Daria, Ripa, Palin, and Elder, but so many of them are based on nothing but a random gut feeling that I don’t think I can explain any.

    It’s late.

  45. I don’t know if a roomie situation would have worked, but I have always harbored a deep desire to attend a party with Dorothy Parker and Oscar Wilde. Because the sarcasm and wit would surely flow.

    Oh, and on the funny names upthread, I once made my grandfather pull out his old annuals to prove to me that he really went to school with a set of twins named Harry and Ophelia Rump. It was true.

  46. volcanista, on September 4th, 2009 at 7:01 pm Said:

    SM and FJ also covered all of their furniture and walls in snipped-out WWN headlines,

    I just saw this, and OH MY GOD! I had a coffee table that was decoupaged with WWN headlines. Freaky coincidence.

  47. I know a guy named Drew P. Koch.

    I’ve met Michelle Bachman under non-political circumstances and, well, she’s an interesting character. I maintain she’s smarter than she comes across, she just puts her foot in her mouth a lot. Don’t agree with much of her political beliefs, though.

    MeMe Roth and Paula Deen are my favourite combination so far, I think.

    Anthony Bourdain and the head of PETA.

  48. I second Sara Ramirez and Lisa Edelstein! I have such an enormous crush on Sara, I don’t quite know what to do with myself.

  49. Last one. I would promise, but that’s just gonna get broken. This is really my kind of game.

    Papa Willett and Paul Campos.

    I can imagine a scenario in a crowded hotel lobby in D.C. where there’s only one room left but two hotel patrons trying to check in at the same time, so the logical thing would be to share the room, and as a result Kate Harding and Paul Campos end up as roommates. As it turns out, they are both scheduled to appear opposite MeMe Roth on CNN the next day. They are in top form, until smoke starts coming out of MeMe’s ears, and her face melts, exposing the printed circuit board behind where her face once was.

  50. I second Sara Ramirez and Lisa Edelstein! I have such an enormous crush on Sara, I don’t quite know what to do with myself.

    Me too, Karen, me too! I just. *falls over*

  51. @buttercup

    Hello fellow hockey fan! =D

    (Personally I’d think Marc Andre Fleury and Sidney Crosby but then Sidney Crosby’s name seems to cause a lot of extreme reactions…)

  52. determined that it’s no fair naming your kid an adjective when your last name is a noun

    It’s even worse naming your kid a verb when your last name is a noun – Especially if that verb is “chase”.

  53. wellroundedtype2 – I had a horrible day yesterday (and night-no sleep at all) and your comment was the one thing that has made me laugh since then. Thank you!!!

    Insomnia does not make my humor very sophisticated…

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