How to pick the right roommate for your witchy commune

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My home in North Denver is special. Not just because everyone who lives there pays a quarter of the rent that the average person in the city pays or because we make our own kombucha as a household. It's because we live communally.

But this isn't an ordinary commune; we don't eat from the same box of cereal or share toothpaste. We're also not like the many dirty punk houses I've stayed in across the country where none of the rotating fifteen roommates has done the dishes since 2012 and there are sixteen bicycles in the living room that don't actually belong to anyone.

See also: Welcome to hell: Being a chemical queen in a world of all-natural goddesses

This commune is more like a family -- a family with a designated chore list, hierarchical sibling power struggles and a free box. (For the uninitiated, a free box is a place where you can put gently used things you no longer want. It's like the last stop before the Goodwill for yoga pants, bedside lamps, swimsuits, etc.)

So when it was time to replace one of our beloved co-habitators, we knew it would be a special challenge. Not everyone is fit to live in our home, the Witch House House.

Spells and hair-changing chants AKA business as usual at my house.

Why is is called the Witch House House? Because we all believe that we are magical beings, and because it is also a play on the internetty, so-called musical genre, witch house.

Anyway, one of our beloved witches recently decided to move to the Pacific Northwest to follow her musical dreams (because that's where Nirvana came from, duh). But finding someone to replace her was giving me nightmares because the task of picking another perfect person -- someone who can accommodate all of our rules and idiosyncrasies in a very small space -- felt like it would be an impossible feat.

For instance, I freak out whenever anyone leaves food in the fridge that is not in some kind of smell-proof container; one of my roommates prefers to be naked more than she is clothed; and one of us is very particular about the toilet seat being down at all times, as to not let the "poop germs" out into the air. We are difficult people.

We all posted notes on Facebook attempting to encapsulate what living in this house was like, hoping to attract the right kind of person. Again, our house isn't that weird, but if you've never lived with people who do their own composting, play accordion and chant, and are naked a lot, it can be shocking.

To make another girl clique movie reference, living with us is like like Heathers. Except we're super nice gals.

Still, we had many interested people. But with our low boarding-house rent prices and overarching promise of open and honest communication (no passive aggressive notes between roommates allowed) we knew it would be a big task to choose the right woman.

While most rental applications include things like credit checks, our situation required a meeting with all current tenants so we could ask questions like: "What does your ideal home space look and feel like?" "How do you feel about nakedness?" and "Do you consider yourself a witch?"

Several amazing women came through our door last Sunday to check out the digs. The room we are renting has no door, which sounds worse than it is, but you know, you have to be honest with people. Also, our yard is a dense jungle of weeds, and we only have one bathroom for five people. This also means that peeing in the backyard is an option when the bathroom is occupied, something that one of our current roommates decided to do in front of potential candidates, lifting up her prairie skirt and popping a squat. (I blame her blatant yard whizzing on the fact that she had just returned from eight weeks off the grid and was still assimilating.)

Ultimately, we chose a new witch that none of us really knew personally. Sometimes with living situations, it is best to co-habitate with a complete stranger. That way you don't have any preconceived notions about how they talk too loud or leave their shoes in every room of the house. Those are fun and exciting things you get to discover later.

But really, what sealed the deal for us was that this woman told us she was an aspiring bike mechanic AND she would be bringing an actual bee hive with her if she moved in. Next to a lady who comes with a chicken coop, a new roommate with the ability to produce honey is pretty much our dream witch.

Be my voyeur (or better yet, let me stalk you) on Twitter: @cocodavies

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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