Mommy Wants Vodka

…Or A Mail-Order Bride

It Means Butterfly


Now before I get to the meat -n- potatoes of this post, I need to be clear about something. Although I never got along with this person myself very well, it had much more to do with our obvious personality differences and not because she was a bitch. She was not a bitch then, she’s probably not a bitch now.

She’s a nice girl, just not my kind of girl (do I ever really like nice girls?).


My brother and I are 10 years apart, him being the older of us, so when I was 8 he went off to college in the big city.

When it came for my time to choose a college to attend, because I am highly unoriginal, I chose the same school. A couple of months before school started, I got a letter in the mail that was decorated with butterfly stickers and written partially in crayon. Figuring it was from my young cousin, who shares a name with me and at the time thought that I was perhaps the coolest person on the planet (she has since wised up), I tore it open.

It was not a letter from Rebecca, no, it was a letter from my future roommate in college, whose name meant butterfly (if you really are dying know her real name, go check the last two entries and/or the comments. I don’t really want to broadcast this, as this is the first time I have broken my “let’s not talk about people who don’t read this rule”). She lived somewhat locally and suggested that we meet up for lunch at some halfway between us location.

I sent a perfunctory reply (without the stamps or crayons, of course) and we eventually settled on meeting at a Friday’s. To make it a little easier on my nerves, I dragged my friend Evan along.

At the appointed time and location, Evan and I showed up and took a seat. A couple of minutes later, it means butterfly arrived and sat down with us. I can only remember two things about this meeting:

1. She smelled like raw meat

2. She had the sort of personality that is really sweet and nice superficially, but you can see underneath that there is something…else, underneath. Like she might bite you or something if you fucked up.

This was not perhaps the most encouraging meeting I’ve ever had with someone I was about to share a shoebox with, but hey, she didn’t seem like a serial killer, which I considered a bonus.

Several months later, the time to pack up and leave for school dawned upon me and I shoved everything I was going to take with me into my friend Scott’s purple Neon and he drove me downtown and helped me move in.

The weekend that I moved in happened to be one that it means butterfly was gone, presumably back home, but she’d already moved in. This afforded me the chance to snoop through her stuff without her there.

What I found….disturbed…me.

She was an absolute girly-girl, and although I have a tendency towards being slightly girly, underneath that I’m all dude (without the dangly bits). I’ve been called affectionately “a dude with boobs” and I think that fits. Her side of the room was covered in what later I learned was colorful plastic table cloths, and over that were some poster-boards covered in magazine clippings.

Like phrases and stuff “Play With Fire, Skate on Ice.” And pictures of hot hunky guys. Cut from magazines. I knew this because I’d done the same thing to decorate my locker in Junior High, before I realized how dumb it looked.

But there were 5 different poster-boards strewn about the room, hanging from walls, hanging from the ceiling, hanging everywhere and annoying me. Then I saw that the back of the door was covered in what looked like cellophane but more iridescent and sparkly, and upon closer examination, realized that she had started to write cute little phrases on it. Quotes from Jewel–the singer not the store– mainly about love and happiness, kittens and puppies.

Her desk had a calendar on it that, I shit you not, had Precious Moments people-creepy-things on it. She was obviously a 50-year old trapped in the body of an 18-year old.

I was quite underwhelmed and a little bit nauseous.
At this point in my life, well before I had kids, well before I was a mother or a wife or a homeowner or a nurse or even your Aunt Becky, I was probably more of a rocker chick than anything else–minus the minked hair and gravelly voice. I smoked often and happily, drank whiskey, and was known to dabble in The Pot.

It became excruciatingly obvious that she was nothing like this. And yet, in the tradition of making people who have nothing in common, live together in a teeny room, she was to be my roommate.

“Shit,” I said to my metal friend Scott, “FUCK! What now?”

He looked sympathetically at me, put his arm around me paternally and said, “Vodka. Lots and lots of vodka.”

That night we drank to my new roommate and the disaster that we both knew lay before me.

21 Comments to

“It Means Butterfly”

  1. On April 20th, 2008 at 2:47 pm Ames Says:

    My first college roommate was a cheerleader. She was obsessed with everything cheer related and had one of those super bubbly personalities to your face but was really a backstabbing bitch. I still remember the first thing she said to me when we moved in and we met for the first time “At least our room is right next to the stairs, that’ll make it easier to find when I come back to our room drunk”. Luckily I only lived with her for about a month before we were moved from the “overflow” rooms to actual rooms with different roommates.

    Did I mention that she also told me that I was too fat and every time I tried to eat something she would take it out of my hand, throw it in the trash and hand me a diet coke? I don’t miss that bitch one bit…

  2. On April 20th, 2008 at 2:36 pm Karen Says:

    I am excited for part 2!

  3. On April 20th, 2008 at 2:54 pm Calliope Says:

    Precious Moments calender is all you had to say. Good effing grief!

    My first college roommate was the BEST. For starters she lived a quick train ride away and she had a boyfriend back home (that was 16!!!) so she created a class schedule where she was only at the dorm tuesday night & wednesday night. Thanks to her I was able to really learn about getting freaky in private with my boyfriend.

    She also taught me how to make groovy envelopes out of magazines, helped me freshen up my rockin’ manic panic hair, and while I brought the microwave she brought the water bong.

    AND she was friends with Liz Phair and totally introduced me to a whole new world of music.

    Man I miss my freshman year!

    As for my suite mates…they were all insane bitches that were cheating off of each other and ended up losing scholarships and getting kicked out of NYU.

  4. On April 20th, 2008 at 3:07 pm Sarah Ross Says:

    Oh Becky – how do we get so lucky? My first college roommate was a bisexual who regularly had 3-ways while I was desperately trying to sleep in my bed. Not even a little bit cool.

    And when I upset her, rather than talk to me about it, her MOM would call and yell at me.

  5. On April 20th, 2008 at 4:02 pm andria Says:

    My freshman roommate was a disaster too. Our stories are eerily similar except mine turned into a good girl gone bad story. She began getting porn in the mail and her parents came to get her in Feb. because she got knocked up and they cried and blamed me for being a rotten, devilish person who dragged her to the dark side although we had ceased to speak after week three. She had totally told her parents that I MADE her do everything. It was too comical.

    Thanks for reminding me of her. I might just steal your idea and post about mine too one day. But I wouldn’t be as nice and I’d tell everyone her name was Michelle.

  6. On April 20th, 2008 at 4:45 pm birdpress Says:

    Wow, that girl sounded scary. (Her name was Papillon?!)

    I was excited to meet my freshman roommate because our school had us all fill out a background/personality form so that they could carefully pare us up with a roommate that we had stuff in common with. Wasn’t that thoughtful of my school? Let me tell you how well this worked out…

    I was a small-town white girl who grew up on a farm and showed horses. She was an inner-city black girl from Philly.

    We got along well enough, but we had NOTHING in common.

  7. On April 20th, 2008 at 5:54 pm tash Says:

    Her name sounded a bit like . . . a sex act. Because she was local, and I was from across the country and didn’t know a soul, she kindly explained the city to me for the first 5 weeks of school, and then got into the party life and I spent the rest of year trying to find a roommate for sophomore year. She wasn’t terrible, it never came to blows or even bad words, but I don’t think either of us cried when we said goodbye at the end of the year, nor did we seek each other out during the next three.

    I met Mr. ABF at the end of orientation week, and he moved in with his orientation BF because BF’s roommate got whigged out by the big city and moved home. After one week. Freshmen roommates are tough things.

  8. On April 20th, 2008 at 7:54 pm Heather Says:

    I commuted. Now that sucks.

    My best friend, whom I met in college, had a most hideous roomate who committed a crime in the worst way (which involved police and detectives at the “crime scene” aka my friend’s apartment). Since it’s not my experience, and it is a bit too much to share on the blogosphere, I’ll stop there. I’d be more than happy to blab via email, though 😉 .

  9. On April 20th, 2008 at 8:29 pm TheRamblingHousewife Says:


    Can’t wait for part 2!

  10. On April 20th, 2008 at 8:53 pm Heza Hekele Says:

    I really wish I could tell you about my college roomate…my parents begged me to go to college…but I had other plans! I instead ran off to Whistler with Mr. NoGood (who is now affectionately referred to as “the sperm donor.”) Now, ten years later, I’m two years into an eight year education and raising my six-year-old. Ah, life.

  11. On April 20th, 2008 at 9:26 pm Cricket Says:

    Oh yeah, mine, she’d tried to commit suicide in the very same fucking room the spring before. Plus she smoked, which was very helpful and made it easy to change roommates before we even moved in.

  12. On April 20th, 2008 at 10:34 pm Cassie Says:

    My roommate had also moved into the dorm before I did. Apparently, she didn’t like to see my side of the room so empty, so she had gone ahead and decorated our entire room. Oh, and put some of her extra clothes in my closet. She had also spent the last week pledging a sorority, so most of the decorations around our room were her sorority colors, letters, and other symbols. Needless to say, that year did not turn out so well.

    I’m ready to hear part 2! 🙂

  13. On April 20th, 2008 at 10:51 pm Backpacking Dad Says:

    “dangly bits”


    Seems I’ve read that phrase somewhere else recently…..

    My first roommates (there were five of us in an apartment) were 1. a beer-drinking re-entry student getting his shit together to get a B.A. in physics; 2. a middle-class Indian exchange student blowing through his parents’ money and learning about porn for the first time; 3. a cliquish, but cool, Asian dude who sold knives door-to-door in the summer; 4. an older guy who would teach us all how grad students drank.

    And me. The baby of the apartment, still too young to drink (even in Toronto), and learning about hockey and being too hungover for classes for the first time in my life.

  14. On April 21st, 2008 at 5:16 am Carlynn Says:

    I would have gone to speak to someone and desperately asked them if I could move. Actually I can’t even remember my first college roommate. My second roommate who I stayed with until we left the residence I met by going up to her and asking if she spoke English. She remembers me looking pathetic and luckily she took pity on me and over the following 3 years fed me much vodka and most definitely led me astray, which is what you are supposed to do during college, n’est-ce pas? Two highlights of our friendship were car surfing and a fascinating guy she introduced me to.

  15. On April 21st, 2008 at 7:59 am Kristine Says:

    My first college roommate was an early high school graduate and too much of a kiss-ass go getter. So much so that she moved out after one semester because I wasn’t giving her enough high fives, I think.

    Then I got another early graduate, who loved her boyfriend so much that 2 weeks into the semester he got into a bad wreck and she stayed up all night and slept all day for the rest of the semester and left to visit him every weekend – she nearly got kicked out of school, and he broke up with her anyway! Oh and the time he did show up in the beginning? They thought if they waited long enough to come back to the room that I’d be asleep so they could fuck on the floor, and too bad for them – I sent them to motel 6.

    My third roommate had daddy issues and ran off with a guy who was 2 years older than her father.

    And my 4th roomate stunk so badly that when I graduated and had my family come to my apartment, even after she had moved out I had to practically coat her room in baking soda to try and get rid of the funk. Oh, and she never came out of her room – except to go to school.

  16. On April 21st, 2008 at 9:08 am Don Mills Diva Says:

    I cannot wait for the second instalment!

    My college roommate was very very religious as well but we actually managed to get along and remained friends for many years…

  17. On April 21st, 2008 at 10:02 am She Puts The Passive In Passive-Aggressive at Mommy Wants Vodka Says:

    […] Part I is here. […]

  18. On April 21st, 2008 at 4:59 pm Jerseygirl89 Says:

    Oh wow, that is so scary. And I thought my roommate was bad!

  19. On April 23rd, 2008 at 12:38 am baseballmom Says:

    omGAW. I, too was the exact type of ‘rocker chick’ that you were, and when I saw my roommate, I knew that we were doomed for failure. She looked like Shirley Feeney on Laverne and Shirley, down to the blue eye shadow and light pink lipstick, and sorta had the hair of Janet on Three’s company. She had a fiance, who she religiously wrote and called ALL THE TIME, and when he came to spend the weekend, they also tried to do it in the bed next to mine, like 2 feet away. EW! I sacked out in the basement of my friend’s frat house until the fiance left, and moved the fuck out at the end of the semester, in with a friend who was way cooler!

  20. On June 9th, 2009 at 12:20 pm Mommy Wants Vodka » Blog Archive » She Bet On One Horse To Win And I Bet On Another To Show Says:

    […] with Pashmina and my roommate Vanessa. Should you want to read The Vanessa Chronicles, I suggest here, here, here and […]

  21. On February 15th, 2010 at 10:01 am I Forget What C Was For at Mommy Wants Vodka Says:

    […] aside, I wish I could tell you that she was exaggerating the roommate stories (she’s posted them here, here, and  here), but she’s not. I would be the first one in line to call her out for such […]

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