Sometimes living with other people, even loved ones, can prevent you from doing the things your heart really wants — like being completely naked in your living room or kitchen, for example. Living alone definitely has its perks because you can do whatever you want, at anytime of the day in your own damn home! What luxury! The Autostraddle team dishes on what they do when no one is home and no one is watching.
Rachel, Managing Editor
I’m not sure I do much differently when I’m alone! I’m a little embarrassed by that; it seems boring. Or I guess more accurately I probably don’t look like I’m doing anything differently — I feel like 90% of my waking life is spent sitting in front of my computer at my desk with headphones on (the other 10% is probably spent in front of the fridge, looking to see what we have to eat, giving up and closing it again). But I think even though I’m still just hunched over a computer with my terrible posture I’m using my time differently when I’m alone? I’m more myself and less self-conscious, even in small things. I can be more considered with things, I can open longform articles and often actually read them through, I can think through things more fully and use my time more organically because I’m not budgeting it for being interrupted. Also I talk to my cats a lot more than I do when someone is around — but like the kind of talking to your cats that’s actually talking to yourself, you know? “Momo, is this a feature post or not really? Who did I promise I would get back to before Tuesday?” Momo doesn’t know! Why am I asking her! Her brain is the size of a ping pong ball!
Alaina, Staff Writer
I live alone, so no one is ever watching me. I love it. I listen to the same song on repeat for hours and hours at a time at an unreasonably loud level. I have full on back-and-forth conversations with my cats, where I ask them open-ended questions, and pretend they’re answering me. Like, honestly, even though I’m the only human person living here, I don’t feel alone ever because someone is always on my lap, on my face, or screaming into my kitchen. We have fun. We talk about philosophy, music, religion, we hate on Dnald Trmp together, we have dance parties, we take selfies that no one will ever see. I’m almost never in pants. I sleep literally wherever I want. Sometimes I sleep on the floor in my living room just because I can. Sometimes I wake up at 4 am and power clean my whole house. I never close the door when I pee, or when I shower, or ever. My whole house is one open door (except the front door, that stays securely locked at all times)!! It always feels special to me. It’s like a retreat away from the entire world, which frankly, is terrifying. I always think that maybe I could do a single roommate, but it would take someone very, very, very special to get me to live with someone else again. It’s the greatest privilege in the world.
Kayla, Staff Writer
Even though I live with my girlfriend and two roommates, I am home alone often. I work from home, and they all work out in the world, so I’m usually the only one occupying our three-bedroom apartment. A lot of my time alone is spent on my computer working or in front of the television (which also fortunately counts as work). I do tend to do most of my Real Housewives watching when alone since no one else I live with is interested in that. But I also love to cook when home alone. Cooking is a major anxiety-reliever for me, and even though I like to eat with others, the actual process in the kitchen is something I prefer to do solo…and not just because of the size of New York kitchens. I consider myself a good cook, but I am an extremely messy and frenetic one, so I feel more comfortable knowing that no one’s watching me.
Yvonne, Senior Editor
I work from home and I live with my partner who is mostly at home now that she’s a student and freelance interpreter. When she’s away from the apartment, it’s my time to bask in utter silence because I’m that type of person. When Gloria is here, it’s always so loud — she has music blasting, she’s talking on the phone on speaker, she’s running around with our dog. She’s just a loud person and I love her for it! But I’m the opposite and I thrive off the quiet so it’s nice not having to wear my noise-cancelling headphones while I’m trying to write or read. I also like to watch Forensic Files or any true crime shows that Gloria doesn’t like to watch. And my all-time favorite secret indulgences when I’m alone is eating a #1 combo from Whataburger or eating the whole box of Trader Joe’s Mac ‘n Cheese.
Tiara, Staff Writer
So I’ve been living alone for most of the last 4 years (asides from 9 months with my parents in Malaysia while in between places). It’s not really my most ideal living situation, given my extroversion, but after a disastrous living situation in the Bay Area I wanted to spend some time on my own. (Though right now the reason I live alone in Melbourne is because this was the first option available to me and I’ve been too lazy to move since.) I spend a lot of time on my computer — writing, reading, watching YouTube, playing the occasional game, and more recently catching up on some TV or listening to podcasts. Sometimes I hoard library books (especially graphic novels) and try to read a whole bunch at once; right now I’m working through the entirety of Unwritten. I used to hate cooking for myself but I’ve come around to it now, though sometimes I do wish people would come over to visit! Occasionally there is the solo dance/karaoke party, powered by Spotify or whatever song I’m listening to 50 zillion versions of on YouTube at the moment. I hope my neighbours don’t hate me too much.
Laura M, Staff Writer
I rarely wear clothing when I’m home alone. All kitchen cabinets and drawers are left splayed open, as I can’t be bothered to close them. Dishes pile in the sink; vibrators pile by the bed. Oh, and I pee with the door open. It’s like a weird, sexy hurricane.
Erin, Staff Writer
When I’m alone I play music VERY LOUDLY. I get my wireless speaker out and I CRANK IT UP. For the most part I remember to put my Spotify on “Private Session,” but there was a day recently where I fear the entirety of my Facebook feed was treated to update after update of the same four songs being played over and over because I forgot to toggle out.
Laneia, Executive Editor
I’m nearly never alone! It happens maybe five days a year, and I fritter away the hours with the enthusiasm of a bachelorette party on the Vegas strip. THIS IS MY TIME TO SHINE. I drink the wine that stains my teeth or I drink the expensive beer that comes out once a season or I make watermelon basil martinis, because no one else cares about those things. I make myself a fucking cheese plate to end all cheese plates and put on my cutest soft clothes. Then it’s time to watch all the shit that I don’t want to defend: The L Word, Bridget Jones, anything with Meg Ryan, every episode of Chef’s Table, etc. I mean, there’s so much shit I don’t want to defend.
But my very favorite thing is putting Spotify on private session and singing all my favorite songs at the top I MEAN THE TOP of my lungs. When I don’t have to repress this accent — and at this point it’s second nature to repress it, and it’s fine, whatever — I’m convinced I can belt out some COUNTRY HITS. The normal and sane side of me knows this isn’t true: my family can play instruments and rummy; we do not sing. But listen, in my heart, I could. In my heart, I sound like I fit into a place that never felt like mine, and I dance and laugh at no one and it feels like I’m me. THERE. That’s the most honest thing I’ve ever said to you!
Mey, Trans Editor
Well, I love horror movies, but for most of my life I’ve lived with family or roommates who hate horror. So when I’m alone, my favorite thing to do is to marathon horror movies. I’ll make some popcorn, get some like, Kool-aid or Limon Pepino Gatorade or red cream soda with lots of ice in it, and watch as many R-rated scary movies as I have time to. Like, I hate being alone, so I love the feeling that scary movies give me that maybe I’m not alone in my house. But also I hate it, but also I do really love it. Also I usually don’t wear a bra.
Stef, Vapid Fluff Editor
I have the loveliest roommate, which is something I refuse to take for granted as I’ve lived through a lot of nightmare living situations in the last couple of years. I live with a straight cis dude who’s also a vegetarian, cat-loving musician, and we get along great! Our rooms are on opposite sides of our apartment and I have my own entrance, which is ideal because I keep strange hours and even when I’m home, I often require a lot of alone time. During this time, I am having full conversations about life, love and philosophy with my cat and rarely wearing pants. I work in music so weirdly I don’t often listen to music at home, but sometimes I work on writing my own. If my roommate isn’t home and the neighbors across the hall seem like maybe they’re not either, I might even record vocal parts (and then never show anybodyyyyy). Like Mey, I will often watch horror movies by myself, or binge-watch bad TV, usually eating an unconscionable amount of vegan mac’n’cheese or nachos or something else I wouldn’t want my roommate or another living soul to be aware of the quantity I’ve consumed. Here I am telling you about it.
Molly P, Staff Writer
I live with my wife and three dogs, but when she leaves it only takes me maybe an hour to go completely feral. I will eat using one plate all weekend, the sink is my table, raw ramen is acceptable, I can smoke weed in the living room, and play music all the time. I forget to eat at normal times, and my circadian rhythm gets all wonky because I don’t go to bed until at least 2 a.m. But mostly, my secret alone behavior is examining my pores in the mirror and cleansing them. I could do it for hours. It’s bad.
Carrie, Staff Writer
I live with one roommate right now, but by the time this roundtable is published, it might be three; our landlords added a bedroom and bathroom to the house and two new tenants are arriving in early August. So alone time is about to get a lot harder to come by, BUT we’re also getting a dog, so I guess it evens out?
When I am able to snag some privacy, I play music very loudly on my wireless speaker and dance around my room/kitchen/living room/entire home. I spent years absorbing pop and Top 40 as part of my job (back when I worked in a cappella — yes, that’s a thing you can do) and that sucked all the joy right out of it. Now that I can listen for fun again, I take full advantage when no one’s around. I am an awful dancer but no one cares because it’s just me! My favorite move is the Dance-and-Clean.
KaeLyn, Staff Writer
Before we had a baby, I had a ton of alone time. Even though I live with my spouse, we’ve worked opposite work schedules for the past decade. Waffle used to get alone time during the day and I’d get it in the evening after work. We never ate together. We rarely awoke at the same time. We watched different TV shows. It worked for us. Pre-baby, my alone time involved a lot of binge-watching TV, lounging on the couch partially or fully nude, and eating an incredible amount of takeout Chinese food. There have been some major changes since I got a baby dino. Now, with the baby, my alone time only happens under two simultaneous conditions: 1) Waffle is at work and 2) the baby is napping. I fucking cherish my alone time now, which comes in 15 minutes – 1 hour increments. I tend to use alone time to catch up on work or TV or chores. However, I’ve been writing in my passion planner that I want to use that alone time for writing for pleasure or naps or sitting in the sun with a cup of tea or other restorative activities. I’m working on it. One thing has remained the same: I never wear a bra or underwear when I’m home alone.
Faith, Staff Writer
First things first: pants off. Masturbate to porn with the sound on. I like to clean things and binge things (Netflix) and vape things (not nicotine) and write aloud and solo karaoke while replacing the lyrics to pop songs with my cats’ names. I also use my hands to eat things that should definitely be eaten with a spoon or fork. Oooh, and naps. Naps are the fucking best.
Alexis, Staff Writer
My family is mostly all about space, so being by myself isn’t too hard. But when absolutely no one is in the house I usually do five things:
– take a shower with like all the doors open
– walk around in my underwear
– have multiple conversations out loud
– curse very loudly and laugh afterwards
– watch every lesbian show/listen to every gay song I can think of in the living room with the volume up and my anxiety sleeping.
Reneice, Staff Writer
I’ve lived alone for the past five years and my live like no one is watching flow involves a lot of being naked while cooking, eating, reading, stretching on my yoga ball, just living in general. I constantly make up songs about whatever task I’m presently doing. I let dishes pile up. I masturbate. I have dance parties. I clean to a trap music playlist and twerk while I scrub the stove. It’s a party in here basically.
Raquel, Staff Writer
Most of my time alone is spent lounging in strange positions on various pieces of furniture, reading. Or pretending to read and scrolling the internet.
Recently, though, I have been really into baths. Specifically very long ones, where I lay in the tub for actual hours scrolling the internet and/or reading and prune myself into an internet monster.
There’s a whole process for this. First, I waste upwards of five matches attempting to light my beautiful Pomme Frites Candle Co. soy candle. It is worth it, because it smells like warmth and autumn and the cleanest woods you’ve ever been in. Then I turn the faucet as hot as I possibly can, dip in a foot, and freak out about how hot it is and turn the cold faucet. Inevitably the water gets lukewarm and I dip in and shiver awhile until the hot water part does its thing. Okay. Then, it’s lounge time. I go in deep on some twitter threads or my kindle book and try not to think about dropping my phone in the water.
The key element here is time. One time a few months ago, I took advantage of the quiet lull before my housewarming party to take a bath and ended up having to run up and out of the bathtub 15 minutes after everyone was supposed to be there because I had really gone in deep on reading Patricia Lockwood’s Priestdaddy.
(Side note. Read Priestdaddy!!)
But usually, the getting-out-of-the-bath ritual is just as important as the one going in. The water’s gotten tepid, and I have to make the decision of whether I rewarm it with another blast of the hot faucet, or get out. I wring my wet hair so it doesn’t immediately freeze and poke my neck (does this happen to anyone else??) and blow out the candle. I use the smell of snuffed-out smoke as incentive to quickly wrap myself in a warm towel and shuffle into my room.
I towel off, then dive into my bed naked for another 30 minutes, probably, air-drying. It’s a sacred time.