By Tyler Stiem
So you crave the bohemian squalor of Henry Miller’s Paris circa 1930, huh? You’ve rented some filthy little basement suite with Calvin Klein-esque trés-faux wall paneling. There’s a bare mattress flopped haphazardly on the floor. Instead of washing dishes, you wait until they present a marked E. coli danger, then throw them away. Macaroni is the only food with an acceptably low enough nutritional value to meet your standards; even then, you refuse yourself the luxury of Kraft Dinner™. Term papers are pounded out three weeks late on a dusty old typewriter that is, however ironically, missing the letters o and k. What little money you do have is spent on liquor, cigarettes, and the opposite sex. Ascetic and hedonist, you’re a starving student.
Then one day, walking around hungry and sexually aroused as usual, it hits you like a cosmic wet fart or a Rembrandt: This sucks.
But there is a way to embrace your Bacchanal sensibilities yet still live comfortably. Drunken revelry, debauchery and healthy, comfortable living–it can all be yours on a budget infinitesimally smaller than Anaïs Nïn’s libidio! Follow a few of these tips and you’ll be livin’ large in a space-age bachelor pad in no time.
• Instead of a tv, think diorama. Seinfeld? Friends? Bah! With some construction paper, yarn, a shoe box, scissors, and a bottle of Elmer’s glue, you can make your own friends. No reruns, no commercials, no improbably attractive, sickeningly lovey-dovey yuppies disguised as Greenwich Village hipsters to make you wanna buy an uzi and leave a trail of bloody carnage and cappuccino in your wake. What more could you ask for? (On second thought, sniff the glue. At least then your imaginary friends might seem real.)
• You only die twice, but you can wear your underwear at least five times before crotch-rot sets in. Here’s a surefire three-step method I call Launch-O-Gaunch™–it’ll save you oodles of laundry money. Step one (the auditory test): Carefully lift the prospective pair to your ear. If you hear the scuttling of tiny crustacean feet, then to the laundry hamper they go. If not, proceed to step two: the ol’ factory test. G’head, inhale. Take a good, deep whiff. Instant nose bleed? Watery eyes? Dizziness? Vomiting? If symptoms persist, dispose of the offending article and refrain from operating heavy machinery for two to six hours. Otherwise, move on to step three: the adhesion test. Give your undies the ol’ Doc Gooden toss–if they adhere to the wall and take more than 30 seconds to slide to the floor, they’re a no go. Otherwise, rock-‘n’-roll, roll-‘n’-rock! And remember: in terms of durability, tolerability and social acceptability, gaunch (loose-fitting underwear, ie: boxer shorts, under-kilts) are far superior to ginch (tight, contoured underwear, ie: briefs, panties, chastity belts, funderwear, condoms, butt-floss).
• Heroin. It eliminates hunger, bowel movements and sexual desire. Maintaining a habit is surely cheaper than the combined cost of food, toilet paper, and European mail-order penis enlargers.
• Become a vegetarian. The vegetarian diet is superior for two reasons: 1. you get to annoy your omnivorous friends with didactic, "have-you-hugged-a-cow-today?" rants; 2. you get that cool, sinewy/gnarled Iggy Pop look(heroin optional). Plus, meat’s expensive these days.
• Don’t pay for sex. Unless you’re really horny and they’re more desperate than you are, in which case you might be able to get paid for sex. (Aside from subsequent feelings of guilt and worthlessness, always a good thing.)
• Date someone living with their parents. Free food, free food. Free food. (And shotgun celibacy saves you the cost of contraceptive devices.)
• Double-side your bed sheets. You should change your bedsheets every one to three weeks. It took me four months and a nasty itch to figure this one out. Just flip-em over every couple of weeks (to a maximum of four flips) and you’ll be fine.
• Blow-up dolls are for wankers. So is porn. Unfortunately, masturbation is a given as far as student life goes. If you want to do it right and do it cheap, draw your own dirty pictures (a real winner of a side project for fine Arts students); if you’re a spiritual person and thus shun pleasures of the flesh, go Zen–spank your "inner" monkey.
• If you can’t afford to shave, think home electrolysis. Alligator clip, bobby pin, dangerous high-voltage electrical outlet, paraffin wax.
• Empty the lint trap. Don’t be a luddite–it’s that mesh thingy usually in the dryer door, and you just need to shake it out before each load. Hell-o toasty warm underwear. Buh-bye wasted kilowatt hours.
• In the name of Odin, give me your cabbage! Pillaging your neighbors is a great way to meet new people and score free food, and you’d be surprised how easy it is to do. Just knock back a couple of shots of Vodka, make a sword out of toilet paper rolls and stumble next door. "Hey you ash-licking Frenssh bashtard-mofos! By the god of Shunder I command ye to gimme yer besht ale, a fatted swine, and a comely lash/lad or I’ll set your village assfire!"
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• Starving students support starving filmmakers. Instead of shelling out eight clams to a monolithic theatre company (Cineplex or Famous Players) to see a film by a monolithic film production company, go grassroots. See a film at one of the struggling independent theaters in town–the Plaza, the Uptown, the Globe (quasi-independent)–and you’ll be supporting struggling filmmakers, actors and production companies. It also gives you a license to be a generally disdainful, clove cigarette-smoking artsy type.
With that, dawn ascends upon New Bohemia… now what? Kick back, relax and see what happens. If by following these tips you’ve broken any laws or incurred the wrath of God, you can buy a one-way ticket to the Caymans with the money I’ve saved you.