Saturday, April 7, 2012

University Roommate Rubs Her the Wrong Way

I read this bit of advice from Prudie, the Washington Post advice columnist featured in a recent installment of Slate:

"Q. Lights Out Happy Time: I am a freshman at college. My roommate is pretty great—except for one thing. I'm pretty sure she "takes care of herself" after we turn out the lights and she thinks I'm asleep. The motions and noises she makes are consistent with this theory. I have no problem with her doing that, but it makes me uncomfortable that she does it while I'm in the room. I'm also absolutely mortified about possibly discussing this with her. They did not cover this in freshman orientation, so I'm counting on you for some insight."

Prudie's suggestion was that it fell in the same category as bathroom noises -- you pretend that you don't hear them.  That's good advice; though it was not one of those things covered at Freshman Orientation; or maybe it was when I nodded off after the sixth hour.

The fact is, many college students live comparatively sheltered lives and may not have had to share a room previously.  Not my case; I had an older sister.  And we both had our favorite stuffed animals.  But, because of that, they're not disposed to be tolerant of others' quirks, needs, or wishes.  Lots of dorm arguments go on over the volume and content of music played.  And things like this too.

Anyway, probably most college students adapt quite well to this living with someone else aspect.  Or they move to a single apartment off-campus, if affordable.  If your roommate has a need to comfort herself in that manner, it's best to pretend that you're asleep or otherwise occupied.  And, for the most part, this is part of the orientation into adulthood when applied to other areas.  It's not a bad model to deal with several things in which you find out things you were not intended to do so, as long as no one is getting hurt.

A little story.  I'm not a heavy sleeper; and during my freshman year in the dorm, I woke about around two A.M. to certain noises going on in the room.  My roommate had her boyfriend in, and they were actually doing it!  They were not practicing to be missionaries; too much information.

Anyway, I kept silent.  I do not know whether my roommate or her b.f. knew I was aware of what was going on, but maybe we need a word in our language to cover the mutual pretending that someone does not know what is going on, even if she does?

I asked the Lucky Dog Guy: seller of hot dogs and independent philosopher.  He said that the Russians have a word like that: vranyo.

Vranyo - This is the phenomenon of semi-lie or semi-truth with a twist of fantasy, white lies and suppression of unpleasant parts of the truth.  In effect, It goes something like this: “She knows that she is pretending that nothing went on, I know that she is pretending that nothing went on, and she knows that I know that something went on, but we both smile and act as if nothing did.”

Does that make sense?  Anyway, I changed roommates at the end of the term.



Mike said...

Just keep smiling.

Full Cup Balcony said...

In my opinion, your roommate exceeded her bounds. Ick! Ick!

A nice, interesting word, tho.

Banana Oil said...

Coed dorms are not a good idea.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

At least they didn't ask you to be part of a threesome! No, seriously, that sucked.

Anonymous said...

So when do YOU do it?

Bilbo said...

A useful word, vranyo. Unfortunately, it must have been one of the vocabulary words that was in the levels of Russian I didn't get to. And changing roommates was a good idea.

Big Sky Heidi said...

It must have been hard to sleep with that going on!

Vrayno. Isn't that kind of what took place with the death of Kim Jung-Il in the PKNR? Everyone being forced to feign extreme grief........

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Mike - I do.

Full Cup - I think so too. And I had a tummyache at the time.

Banana Oil - Some people will always misuse things.

Elvis - Ugh! Threesomes sound creepy, I don't see what people think is so good about them.

Bilbo - I did't study Russian; I found it in a book called Valsalva's Maneuver.

Heidi - Sleep is impossible. Yes, I see the similarity.

Thanks for your views, everyone!

The Bastard King of England said...

That's a hard thing to deal with, unless you have your own sex life.

I'm With Stupid said...

You could have turned the lights on and started video taping them. That might have convinced them to go to HIS room from then on.


Anonymous said...

Andmiss the show, Jay?

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

So that's why girls like stuffed animals so much!

Hell Hound said...

Just like if her vibrator caused her to have sound effects.