Monday, September 23, 2013

"Roommate From Hell" Makes College Living Unbearable

Dear Tazi:

I just started my sophomore year of college and have been assigned the worst roommate ever. The guy is a disgusting slob. He leaves dirty sweat socks and underwear all over the place, he smells bad because he never showers, and he has got to weigh close to 400 pounds which makes him sweat like a pig. I am telling you, he is the roommate from Hell!

“Joe” and I live in the newly built dormitory on campus, and the place is state of the art so everyone wants to live in it. Upperclassmen get first choice but since so many of them move off campus into apartments a lottery is held among underclassmen for the remaining slots. This is how Joe and I got assigned as roommates.

This past summer I tore my ACL while playing soccer, so I need the bottom bunk in my room; there is just no way I am able to climb up to the top bunk. Joe refuses to take the top bunk, and I suppose that is a good thing considering his size, so he has separated the beds. This means that where there was once open space there is now a bed, making the room very, very crowded, even without a roommate that takes up a lot of space (with his stuff that he spreads everywhere; that wasn’t a crack on his size).

Joe is constantly snacking and leaves wrappers and dirty dishes and soda cans everywhere, so even though the school year just started and we live in a new residence hall, we got ants and had to have the place exterminated. Because it’s a shared room, we BOTH got written up for uncleanliness leading to room damage, so I have been docked my damage deposit. I am appealing this since it was Joe’s trash that attracted the bugs.

Last night was the final straw. It was early in the evening – only about 8:00 – when Joe flopped onto his bed and pulled out a [dirty magazine]. He started [masturbating] right in front of me! I was so freaked out and grossed out that I had to say something, to which he replied that if I didn’t like it I could leave. I ended up going to the library to read rather than hang around there, but I don’t think I should be driven from my own room because of this guy. When I got back to the room, he hadn’t completely cleaned up after himself – wadded up tissues were on the floor by his bed.

I would like to put in for a new roommate, but that means I will be the one who has to move, not Joe, and the other dorms on campus are not nearly as nice as the one I am in now – or rather, as nice as the one I am in now could be if I didn’t have to contend with Joe and his disgusting smells and habits. Everyone who has met him comments on how nasty he is, and wonders how I can put up with him. Tazi, can you think of any way I can get rid of this guy while keeping my dorm room?

Wanting To Eat My Cake And Have It, Too

P.S. I used to tease my girlfriend about how much she “would love to have a problem worthy of print” for your column; now I have one all my own!

Dear Wanting To Eat My Cake And Have It, Too:

Where do I start? I am so excited that you phrased that old expression properly – because it is possible to have your cake and then eat it, but once you eat your cake you cannot still have it! I am also flattered that your girlfriend loves my column so much that she wants to be a part of it – thank her for me, for her loyal readership! I would argue that your teasing has earned you your predicament, but no one deserves such living conditions, so I will just sit here and appreciate the irony of your situation…mmmmmm, irony! It’s like cake for the snarky in me!

Your problem, although disgusting and extreme, is not exclusive to you. A lot of people have problems with roommates who have lower standards of cleanliness than they. Joe’s personal hygiene (or rather, lack thereof) and his personal habits cross the line between difference of personal preference into outright abuse. You should not be forced to move out of your residence hall because of this abuse.

Is he as bad as this?

If you have not done so already, I suggest you follow up on your appeal of the damage assessment of your room and tell the powers that be that Joe is the one who caused the damage and that he refuses to change his habits. Invariably, another call to the exterminator will be needed if he keeps up with his casual housekeeping and it may be possible to have him evicted for it. However, you need to document the situation. Take pictures of your room – if you can, while Joe is sitting there surrounded by his own filth – as proof of who is doing the damage.

Joe’s personal habits are a little less easy to bring under control. You cannot force a person to shower, but you might be able to report him to one of the Resident Assistant’s for his masturbating in front of you; this is a form of indecent exposure. You should not be forced to leave your room because of his behavior; if you can bring yourself to report it to an RA the next time it occurs, you can mention that it is not the first time this has happened. RA’s are trained to deal with all sorts of uncomfortable situations, and this will be further documentation of his casual and careless treatment of your shared space. Again, with any luck, Joe will be evicted from the dormitory. If eviction does not occur by the end of the semester, you may have to resign yourself to moving into a new room, and possibly into a new residence hall. It would be the lesser of two evils.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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