Oh, my sweet summer children. Come listen to your Xennial Barbarian elders' tale.
I spent a year of my twenties living in just such an arrangement. Nine (or ten, depending on the month) young enlightened artist types living in an old (we all heard antebellum, current listings claim it was built in 1905) mansion in what is now Atlanta's Kirkwood area. The rent was cheap, the location ideal, and the place itself magical. Especially once I told the resident ghosts to stay the fuck out of my room.
It was definitely an experience I won't forget. I learned a lot there.
How to apply a worthy flogging to a guest without waking up the slumbering infant on the next floor, for one.
Quite a number of awesome celebrations, including the wedding reception that wandered into the 3rd floor ballroom while I was lying around in my underwear watching cartoons.
As an artsy young undergrad, it was an adventure.
As a functional adult, it was one shitshow after another.
I'm sure there's twentysomething artsy fuckheads who aren't complete and total flakes. They're not the ones that are joining communes. Every damn month was some asshole coming up short or late or both. With the responsible ones among us having yet another whip-round to keep the roof over our heads.
With the special prize going to the one who snuck out in the middle of the night to stiff the rest of us, getting arrested with intent to distribute oregano, then using the house as his phone call. We took turns laughing at him before hanging up. Last I'd heard of him, there were active warrants for him in another state.
And that was just getting the rent and the bills paid. That didn't include such adventures as having to clear my own house because my latest roommate, Derpy McPianoman, decided to invite his dealer home and got robbed, calling me as an emergency number (because of course).
This went up and down the scale from stupidly dangerous to even more stupidly petty. (Show me someone living with two professional chefs and I'll show you someone living with two people who think dishwashing brownies live deep in the pantry and come out to work while they sleep.)
The adventure lasted a year. Three of the original nine to be there from start to finish, including myself. I'm not even going to mention the fuckery that got the last of us kicked out.
I'm still on friendly speaking terms with three of the eighteen or so people I lived with during that year. I'm not particularly close to any of them these days.
Don't get my buzzkill wrong, I still see the ideal. I honestly do. It's not just the usual RENT waiter rubicon* of sense that affects young artists that get hit with the practicality stick as they mature.
I remember dating the occasional Doe-eyed Mcfluffywiccan chick with fond thoughts of "pack" in their minds. Not thinking about who'd be doing the pack's dishes.
It's a yearning to try and replace the extended family.
(It's no small wonder that the ideal communal life is the Addams Family).
The fly in the jam is that it's attempting to do that without using the tools of blood and marriage that made extended families the source of stability that they are.
There's a reason that weddings involve publicly witnessed oaths to look out for each other in good times and bad.
NOTHING you can do with a gagglefuck of fellow arts yahoos has the cultural or psychological weight of that public ritual.
It's like trying to build a house without a foundation or insulation, then wondering why it's starting to fall apart.
There would need to be some serious bonds of trust (or moderate bonds of trust combined with independent wealth) before I'd ever consider anything resembling such an arrangement again.
* Watching RENT as a kid, especially an arty kid, it's easy to get wrapped up in La Vie Boheme and no day but today and all that. But sooner or later as an adult, even one in the arts scene, you identify more and more with the waiter. Live in your seasons of love all you want, but can you fucking freeloaders stop dry-humping on the tables so the customers who actually tip can eat?