Meet The Mates Sharing A Bed – Because It Makes Financial Sense

Crashing in your mate’s double bed isn’t just a student/drunken thing any more…Photographs by Megan K Eagles


by Sophie Cullinane |
Published on

We’ve all shared a bed with our mates at some point. Whether it’s because of an all-night binge of Game of Thrones, a boy who’s done something a bit shit and made you cry or just because you got so wasted at a houseparty there was no way you were going to make it home. But for Haf Gibson and Grace Prince the – impeccably made, pillows-puffed-up – double bed they shared didn’t happen by mistake. It was deliberate. A six month strategy to save some much needed cash.

‘Basically, neither of us had any money. Like, at all,’ explains Haf, who moved in to her best friend Grace Prince’s bedroom in their shared house after she broke up with her boyfriend. ‘Me and my ex used to live together and we split the £450 rent on my room, but when we broke up and he moved out I suddenly found myself having to pay double the rent even though I was earning the same amount of money I was pre-breakup. I thought I could deal with it but I couldn’t and I ended up getting two months behind on my rent. I was desperate.’

Grace wasn’t in a much better position herself. ‘I paid less rent for my room than Haf - about £370 a month - but even I’d got three months behind on paying my landlord because I was so broke. I had a job at a vintage store and I was volunteering at theatre in Hackney, but the theatre didn’t even pay my expenses and the shop job only paid minimum wage so I could barely afford my travel and food. One day, me and Haf were sitting around the kitchen table moaning about our cash flow when she mentioned a friend of hers was looking for a room in London for a couple of months. I was suddenly like, hang on, why don’t you give him your room and you can move in with me?’

It sounds extreme. But given how bleak the renting situation is these days, mates sharing beds isn’t just something that’s happening on nights when you go out and get unexpectedly blackout – it’s a daily reality for lots of people. Think about this: the average wage for women aged between 22-29 is £20,265 before tax. The average cost of renting a home is £819 a month – or about £10k a year – and that’s outside of London. 'It's definitely something we've notices happening more and more in the last year,' explains Fi Lilley, a spokesperson for Williams Lynchestate agents. 'Lots of young women don't want to (or can't) pay full rental prices, so we've noticed more and more of them buddying up with their girlfriends – it’s dorm style living. I've had women sat in front of me discussing how they could partition a room up using methods that interior designers could only dream up. They seem to prefer the idea of sharing with their girl friends than a guy.' Well, with such not-so-cheering statistics is it any surprise that people are willing to put up with your mate’s mascara on your pillow?


For Grace and Haf the initial period of adjustment was easy – mostly because they worked on different schedules. Nine-to-fiver Grace went to bed at 11pm whilst Haf came in from her job at the front desk of a members club at 4am. So, they reasoned, they were only really in bed together for a couple of hours an night.

But things got understandably weren't always plane sailing. ‘Well, Haf used to leave half drunk cups of soya milk all around the room which used to drive me insane. And she did the bed too neatly - I really didn’t like that,’ says Grace. (Though, interjection – wouldn’t that normally be considered a good thing?) ‘And she used to crawl in from work a member’s club at 4am and wake me up by watching Emmerdale on my laptop at full volume. But she always apologised….’

Haf also had her gripes: ‘On the days we actually went to bed at the same time, Grace used to insist on watching the same three things every single night. It was either Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Midsummer Murders – I kid you not. Every single night she’d fall asleep to Harry Potter. That was it though. The only thing that annoyed me is she wasn’t up for at all diverse in terms of viewing habits.’

And when they actually fell asleep – Haf in a t-shirt and Grace her pjs – inevitably the pair ended up snuggling up. ‘I’d pretty much always wake up spooning her; yep – even sometimes with my head on her boobs,’ says Haf. ‘But she also stayed at her mate’s house a lot of the time, which meant I could spend a couple of nights a week spread-eagled and enjoying the whole bed,’ Grace replies.

And what about sex? That’s got to be a whole new level of awkward, surely? ‘Yeah, we pretty much didn’t do any shagging for the whole time we were sharing a room,’ says Grace. ‘Luckily we were both going through a bit of a drought anyway,’ Haf adds. ‘I’d just broken up with boyfriend and we were both feeling a bit poor and anti-men.’

But when they did hook up with anyone, they’d always inevitably end up at his house – bringing a guy back to the room was a strict no-no. ‘Let’s be honest, they’d be like “what you’re in your 20s and you’re SHARING a room?!” It’s a bit of a boner killer,’ says Grace.

The girls lasted six months before they realised that, as economical as it was, double-beds weren’t made for sharing long term. Unless you’re in a long-term relationship. ‘It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it – we really looked after each other and became like an old married couple by the end,’ says Haf. ‘But it was time to move on.’

So would they recommend it to others in similar cash-strapped situations? ‘As long as you’re not precious about your space,’ says Grace. ‘I cleared out a drawer and gave up half a room for her stuff. But who cares about space when you’ve got more money to go out on the weekends anyway?’ Indeed.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophcullinane

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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