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Roommates: interview carefully and then pray

Social Chaos: Bill's Briefs

Many years ago when money was tight I innocently put a “fun roommate wanted” ad in a gay paper. The result was when it came time to discuss a few rules most applicants were less interested in getting a couple of things straight between us than in getting a couple of straight things between us; but I digress.

Finally I chose cheerful, snappy James/Jamie who proudly announced, “I’m a bi-sexual trans lesbian.” Foolishly ignoring the danger signals in that convoluted pan-sexual description, I thought, “What fun.”

We agreed no pets other than her fish and “Fish” turned out to be plural: 15 goldfish, each in its own name-labeled mason jar artfully arranged in a cross on the floor!

The plot thickened: JJ (my idea) began and ended the day by singing to them. Loud gospels greeted the dawn and quiet lullabies the dusk when she accompanied herself on her lute (Yes, lute!).

Odd individualisms and odder still individuals soon appeared. Fun was fading.

The final straw was her moving in her friend “Paul,” a pre-op female to male, who was taking huge doses of testosterone resulting in wild mood changes and a veritable carpet of hair on her still intact, massive breasts.

She once exposed all to a duet of young Mormons sending them fleeing and assuring me sanctuary from further visits. Grateful as I was for that, I was about to evict them when they decamped in the night leaving 15 desolate companions and one month’s rent due.

The next tenant was quiet, but a neat freak who constantly complained about finding hair everywhere.

Laziness: the curse of the young and old

In the supermarket this week I found an extremely disheartening example of American laziness. My horrified eyes focused on a pack of “frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.” Frozen. How lazy can we get? Has making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich become too exhausting for our modern family? It seems so.

Daily we get reports, discussions and interviews on TV reminding us our diets and laziness are resulting in obesity for the young and heart attacks for the old.

We seniors are as guilty as the young as to disregarding the warnings and the connection between them and the poor health and flabby physiques of our friends and ourselves until the heart attack, dizzy spell or shortness of breath suggest we should have paid more attention.

For those of any age with no willpower for serious exercise and diet control, I offer four simple “don’ts.”

1. Don’t use the elevator. Walk up. Go slow, rest every few floors; no rule says no stopping.

2. Don’t take the bus or drive less than ten blocks. So it takes 20-30 minutes; plan for it.

3. Don’t use the TV remote. Get up and down every time.

4. Don’t rely on TV dinners. Stand, move and cook for yourself. Julia made it to 92! (Ask a senior.)

There are lots more equally easy activities to improve your health and body, but I’m out of space.

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Posted by on Jan 31, 2013. Filed under Bill's Briefs, Bottom Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “Roommates: interview carefully and then pray”

  1. How delightfully transphobic.

  2. We’ve all been there – picking a new roommate and discovering their quirks a little late. However, this article wasn’t really about that. It was about how people like me are disturbing and potentially dangerous roommates. I would encourage you to become more educated about the transgender community and follow appropriate journalistic guidelines when writing about us.

    Your comment about “Foolishly ignoring the danger signals in that convoluted pan-sexual description” suggests that bi/pansexual and transgender people are at best confused and at worst dangerous because of our orientations and gender identities. That’s what straight people used to say about gay folks.

    This is followed by placing quotes around Paul’s name and mispronouning him repeatedly (I gather he uses he/him/his based on your description of him as an transgender man.) Our names, whether changed legally or not, are just as real as yours and adding quotation marks implies disbelief in or lack of respect for that validity. Journalist standards are to use the pronoun that the individual identifies with, rather than the one assigned to them at birth or matching the legally documented sex, both when referring to the individual currently and in the past prior to coming out or transitioning. Using “she” for Paul reinforces cisnormative and transphobic attitudes.

    Gilding this particular lily, you exoticize Paul’s body as pre-op (also an outdated description considering many trans people cannot afford or do not want surgery) implying that his body in transition is unattractive and even revolting and using it as the punchline of your story.

    James/Jamie and Paul may in fact have been terrible roommates for a variety of reasons. But you’ve made it about their transgender, bisexual, pansexual, or genderqueer identities. This is exactly what cissupremacy and transphobia look like. (Try replacing gender in this article with race and you’ll see what I mean.) And that, Bill, is why I and other trans people are still treated as subhuman.

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