Seniors Rebecca Gans, Nola Pastor and Anne Sombor live, cook and clean together. The group share interests in sexual health and education and have all been involved in the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC).
How did you come to be roommates?
Anne Sombor: Nola and I were introduced through a mutual friend who said that we were like two sides of a sponge. Nola’s the yellow side because she’s really soft, gentle and soothing and I’m the green side. She said “Anne, you’re the green side, but you need both sides to clean the sponge.”
Rebecca Gans: You don’t need to clean a sponge.
AS: Sorry, the dishes. You need both sides to clean the dishes. So we never met before that, but we just kinda roommate asked each other out.
Nola Pastor: Someone also told me that I was a Nola sandwich. She said “On the outside you’re like this good and wholesome bread, but the inside is something really angsty like horseradish.” I prefer the sponge metaphor. But anyway, a friend did say that Anne and I should be roommates, and I actually asked Anne to be my roommate for the Veggie co-op as she was walking by in Cafe Mac.
AS: Then I asked both of them to live with me after the co-op but didn’t tell Nola and then Rebecca went up to her and said “I’m so excited to be roommates!” and Nola was like “uh… what?”
RG: Yeah Nola was so confused because she had never heard about any of this.
AS: But it all worked out. I’m a matchmaker.
RG: I got to know Nola at the Veggie Co-op. I didn’t live there but I was always around. She liked to play her adorable music .
NP: Oh God, okay so Taylor Swift is the music I listen to with my best friend from back home so it’s very sentimental.
What is it like living together?
RG: We have Sunday night dinner and we light candles and have a go-around question.
NP: It’s not as culty as it sounds.
AS: No, it’s probably as culty as it sounds. It’s just important to check in.
NP: We cook together six nights a week, though. We’re pretty good at it, too.
AS: Yeah, we eat so well!
NP: And pretty cheaply.
What is a go-around that you would ask?
RG: We do a rose, thorn, bud, bod. So something good that happened this week, something bad that happened this week, something you’re looking forward to, and how your bod is doing. We don’t usually have an additional question.
AS: Unless we have guests who might feel uncomfortable.
RG: Sometimes we have guests at Sunday night dinner, and they have to do the go around.
AS: It’s required.
RG: Or we’ll kick them out.
NP: We’ve only had guests a couple of times.
Have you ever had to kick anyone out?
AS: We have not had to kick someone out… yet. But I would not be afraid to.
NP: Yeah she would probably do that.
I think I understand why you’re the green side of the sponge.
NP: Anne is really good at cleaning.
RG: I think I’m not part of the sponge metaphor because I don’t really like to clean. But Anne has this elaborate ceremony to throw out the old sponge and bring the new sponge in.
How does the ceremony go?
AS: So you always have two sponges, one new one old. When the old gets too gross you throw it out but you have to honor its service. And then the new sponge becomes the old sponge.
NP: Yeah I think that only happened one time.
RG: Well I only did it once, but I think Anne does it all the time.
AS: You cut the corner of the new-old sponge so that you know that it’s the next one to throw out. Everyone can take that tip. My sponges are never slimy.
RG: Do sponges get slimy?
AS: Oh yeah.
You can put your sponge in the microwave to clean it.
RG: We don’t have a microwave.
NP: We almost got one once. I really wish we had.
RG: I’m really glad that we don’t have one.
AS: Yeah, we eat so well!
RG: Yeah but one time I bought a frozen burrito and it took 45 minutes to heat up in the oven when it would have taken 3 minutes in a microwave.
NP: A microwave would be nice for a heating pad. It gets so cold in the house.
AS: I had to get plug in heating pads for my room.
Is it a sun room?
AS: No, but Nola’s is.
NP: Yeah but we insulated it. It was a fabulous time.
AS: We listened to Fleetwood Mac and covered her windows. But then we blew a fuse. We learned what was on the same circuit.
RG: Yeah that far side of the house and this side are on… yeah this is not interesting. I’m going to stop talking about circuits now.
What are some other things you do together?
RG: Anne and I get dressed together a lot. Our closets are actually connected.
AS: We can’t really reach through to grab each other’s stuff so we kinda just run around to each other’s room until we figure out what we’re going to wear.
RG: If we don’t talk about outfits the night before, I get a little panicky the next morning.
Nola, do you partake in this?
NP: No, I just admire their outfits. I don’t like being cold and I only have about 3 warm sweaters. I also don’t really like colors.
AS: We don’t wear colors either.
RG: Except for lipstick.
NP: I could try that.
How did you go about decorating the house?
NP: A lot of our decorations are anatomically themed.
AS: That’s my bookshelf with my bust on top.
RG: And that’s my shelf with my bust on top.
AS: Have you seen the vulva? It’s a cat so it’s a pussy pussy.
What do you do on campus?
NP: I’m co-chair of the GSRC.
RG: Nola is the GSRC.
What’s your favorite thing about being a co-chair?
NP: I really like facilitating the tea times, which are informal chats we have about something related to gender and sexuality. What I think is really cool is that the GSRC isn’t a huge community but the few people who do come seem to get a lot out of it. I’ve watched relationships form there, including with myself. It’s also–this is going to sound really rehearsed–but it’s a brave space and a challenging space where we can talk about things that we normally don’t get to talk about. Last Friday was about self love and it was fabulous. It’s a topic that I don’t hear enough about.
RG: Except for here. Sometimes I go into the kitchen for something like cheese and I end up talking to them for about 3 hours about self care.
NP: We’re really affirming here. I’ll ask them if it’s ok that I don’t do my homework and they’ll always say “Yeah, of course!” Well, except for Anne. Once in awhile she makes me do my homework.
AS: I’m sorry that I made you go to class today.
Has it ever been a bad thing to affirm everything?
NP: I don’t think the stakes are ever that high.
RG: I don’t know, I did have to take my capstone home over winter break. But I don’t think they played any part in that. They were mostly telling me to get my shit together.
NP: No, I never said that.
AS: Yeah, I would never tell you to get your shit together.
RG: Well maybe you should have!
What about you Rebecca?
RG: I’m a co-chair for Mac Activists for Choice and a SEXY trainer. That’s pretty much what I do on Campus. Oh and I have a radio show, Blank Generation. It’s a punk show, Wednesday’s at 2:00.
AS: You also work at Planned Parenthood.
RG: No, I don’t.
AS: Then where do you go?!
RG: I work at NARAL. I have worked at Planned Parenthood, but that was a long time ago.
AS: Sorry, I don’t keep tabs on you.
How about you Anne?
AS: I’m on the WMCN staff and have a radio show. My show is “It’s Local Somewhere.” I interview people on my show and we talk about why it’s cool or not cool to be where they’re from. Monday nights 8-9pm.
RG: We all hold office hours in the GSRC. We kinda spend a lot of time there collectively.
AS: We are the GSRC. Oh and I also work at Cyclists for Change where I teach women and trans people beyond basic bike mechanics.
Have you taken any classes together?
AS: Well we take fashion everyday… of our lives.
RG: We live fashion together.