by David Provost
One of the most exciting aspects of entering the college experience would have to be living in close quarters with a complete stranger. Sewanee’s roommate pairing algorithm clearly yields mixed results, but that’s where the real fun kicks in. Anything can happen when it comes to roommate matching: a couple of theater majors making themselves at home hanging Journey posters together, pairs that can venture to Woods Lab with that scientific sense of security, or two undecided majors with no sense of the future contemplating why the new microwave makes everything explode. Dorm life is truly magnificent at the University of the South. For the first semester.
Not even an eternal optimist can ignore the battlegrounds in the more antagonistic living situations on campus. While I’m sure most of you were puzzled when your first semester writing fellow mumbled about the simplest way to torture their roommate, it’s suddenly becoming unfortunately commonplace. (Yeah, I said unfortunate. Crumble up your scheme list and give that misunderstood homie across your rug an extended hug). These are undoubtedly trying times. The honeymoon phase has ended. In the words of either Karl Marx or Mark Twain (see, my writing fellow should have helped me with this), “This is how the world ends: not with a bang but by moving that stale bar of Dove soap two inches too close into the realm of hygiene privacy.”
The following three-step plan is incredibly rewarding for preserving/restoring positive roommate social ecosystems. (Results may vary for threesomes).
1) Stay mild while sexiled.
So your sister and/or brother in college has met someone special on a weekend night. So special that they insist on showing them, not their father’s gun collection, not their third special secret tumblr account, no, instead the precious Journey poster you hung up in unison! It may seem like an enormous step in the relationship to bring in a third party this early, but love is love, after all. So as soon as you see the striped tie of sensuality wrapped around that golden knob, forget any idea of entering the room- and do so without being seen or heard. You’re saddened in this very moment, I know. Up until this day, you thought you were the only one who could sleep over. Instead of crying yourself to sleep or asking to come in, contact some musical talent from Winchester to serenade you from outside the room.
As official and unofficial roommate snuggle and watch torrented ABC Family movies, request the musician to play Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” until Reese Witherspoon figuratively pops out of their computer screen to “get down.” Enjoy this moment as a deep soul and in a few moments, your roommate and their friend will come out of the room to fist bump you in utter awe. Hell, they might even consider shutting the door.
2) All the way turned up.
One day you be begin to notice that bar of corporate America sanitation is inching further and further into your territory. You could have sworn your Crest Pro-Health tube was 89% full. And alas, you find THEIR brand of scented body-wash in YOUR shower. Is life even real anymore? Despite her literally perfect roommate relationship, Kelly-Ann Graff (C’17) resorts to alternative social media to express the internal madness, tweeting, “@kellyanngraff: Does making unintentionally bad MS Paint art count as a hobby?” It just might, Kelly Ann. It just might. And as painful as a sloppy bathroom situation can be, dorm room cleanliness is next to godliness. Chances are, the territorial lines of your room are quickly becoming a Where’s Waldo map made of Solo cups and retired Glade plug-ins. Take a moment to analyze your partners space and begin to psychologically challenge them by matching the mess, trash for trash.
Continue the unspoken competition until you can’t enter the room without entering mountains of box-wine stained brassieres and shower shoes. At the height of the competition, get that pal of yours (the one who owes you a solid for taking the blame when he broke an elevator during Fall Party) to whisk the garbage and laundry away into the night, leaving your roommate to be the clear victor. You have shown to them, they are better at something than you. Respectful bonds will be formed and new (albeit far from perfect) cleaning policies will be practiced. All is at peace in the jungle.
3) The passivity.
We’re still working on steps to move past passive-aggressive behaviors. If this is your dilemma, try wearing sunglasses indoors for a while and play any track from Gaga’s first studio album. If the tension isn’t expunged within the hour, seek medical attention immediately.
I hope this three-step plan can be a excellent, if not the best tool ever for making rooming a euphoric period in your life. Don’t fret, things might get slightly better.