In college, I lived in an apartment with four others girls; we called ourselves/ the apartment “The Lawful Brothel.” Clearly, we were a fun group.
I don’t know if you’ve ever lived in a house with five girls, but the brothel is the source of some of my best college memories.
We loved sitting around the kitchen table chatting late into the night, making shower schedules, throwing themed parties, using penis straws in our beverages, snuggling up together watching movies, celebrating sexiversaries, and of course, each other.
The beauty of living with four other people was that there was always someone to talk to, no matter the time of day (sometimes, that was also the downside– everyone needs their quiet time). Early in the morning, you’d find me shuffling about making coffee; between classes in the afternoon, Kerry could be found in the living room watching a Sox game and doing homework; at dinnertime, Renee would be cooking something in the kitchen; late at night you’d find Jessica on the couch sewing or knitting; or when pulling an all-nighter, Mallory would be blasting some catchy song on repeat to get through it.
A fun tidbit about the brothel was our shower schedule. Undoubtedly, it’s difficult divvying up bathroom time among five women. There were two bathrooms in the apartment: one small bathroom downstairs in the tundra* where the single bedroom was, and a large bathroom upstairs where the two double bedrooms were. Being extremely intelligent ladies, someone came up with the idea for a shower schedule (it wasn’t me; this happened before I moved in). So, every quarter, we all sat down and arranged our bathroom schedule, which was split up into 30 minute increments in the morning. Because I was a night showerer though, I only reserved morning time once or twice a week. I had friends visiting once, who noticed. Turning to look at me worriedly they asked, “Becca, why do you only shower twice a week?” (I really wish I could find a picture of one of the signs. I feel like there was one posted at some point on Facebook, but I can’t find it. I just spent 10 minutes searching…)
*Tundra: 1. a vast, flat, treeless Arctic region of Europe, Asia, and North America in which the subsoil is permanently frozen; 2. the lower level of the lawful brothel in the winter. (Seriously, one of the girls kept a space heater in the downstairs bathroom.)
One of the best things about the Brothel was our affinity for themed parties: in the two years I lived there, we had two toga parties, a mustache party, two New Year’s parties, an Alice in Wonderland party, a Jazzercise party, and an ABC (Anything But Clothes) party– to which I wore a dress made of hot pink duct tape and my roommate MADE, like weaved, a dress out of grocery bags. We did not mess around when it came to a fun theme.
The ABC party was probably one of my favorites at the Brothel. As previously mentioned, I wore a duct tape dress, and my roommate Jessica wore a dress made out of grocery bags– in which she looked smokin’ by the way (see below). Other outfits included: Target bags, garbage bags, caution tape, a robe, and a wrestling singlet. (I was going to say a wrestling “onesie”, but I’m pretty sure that’s what I called it the night of the party, and my friend yelled at me, so I looked up the proper name.)
This was a party of trials and tribulations: Renee said she had never been sweatier than when she wore those garbage bags. The challenge I faced was in the bathroom. It was not possible to pee in my ensemble. We tried cutting little slits on the side of the dress, but that wasn’t very helpful. And at the end of the night, Jessica and I had to literally cut ourselves, well, each other really, out of our dresses.
“I’m really sorry, but you’re about to see my boobs.”
“Becca, we sleep in the same room– it’s not the first time.”
I felt horrible cutting Jessica’s dress. She had spent hours braiding the bags and weaving them together. She was a costume design/ technology major, so it was no surprise that Jess was best dressed at most (all) of our themed parties.
Sexiversaries & Penis Straws
And perhaps you read the word “sexiversaries” earlier, and thought to yourself, “Did I read that wrong?” and then you read it again and realized it did indeed say sexiversaries. At the brothel, we annually celebrated each of our sexiversaries (i.e. the day you lost your virginity). Because why not? We usually celebrated with some sort of phallic dessert, penis straws*, and I think one time there were condoms blown up like balloons.
*Penis straws were not reserved solely for sexiversary celebrations. We used them on many other occasions as well: parties, and well, whenever we felt like it.
All in all, becoming a brothel member was one of the best decisions I ever made. Were there arguments, annoyances, mishaps, and broken mirrors? Yes. (The broken mirror wasn’t actually the fault of any brothel member though; it was a casualty at a party.) But there was way more laughter, hugging, eating, and overall loving in that apartment than I’ve seen pretty much anywhere else– because brothel love was not contained to only the five of us living in the apartment, but also to our previous and honorary members, and all of the people we loved and welcomed into our weird and wonderful home.
Sadly, Jessica and I no longer share a room, Kerry doesn’t leave Potbelly cookies on my kitchen table, and I don’t worry about killing Renee through my use of peanut butter; there are no more pictures in “the spot,” there’s no shower schedule, and these days, I don’t use penis straws on the regular. Instead, the brothel reunites as often as we can, and we drink beermosas and gossip, and it feels like we are sitting around the kitchen table again. ‘Cause that’s what brothel love is.