Tattoo Tactfulness, Roommate Freakout, Jun 05

When Roommates Freak Out

Dear Meg,
My roommate broke up with her fiancé two months ago. He was cheatingon her with a woman who looks just like me. Since they split, she’s projectingall her jealousy and anger onto me. She gives me freaky looks, storms out ofthe living room when I come home, and slams doors all the time. I keep tryingto get her talk to me but she won’t. We’ve been friends a longtime, Meg, and I really want to work it out, but the stress is killing me.What would you suggest?
—Cheryl

My Dear Cheryl,
Phew. That does sound like a stressful situation. I’m glad you knowyour roommate’s behavior is about her and has nothing to do with you.Being understanding with your friend is a testament to your patience andintegrity, but this doesn’t mean you have to be a victim of someoneelse’s erratic emotions.

Hey, there’s this new product on the market called “TV-B-GONE” thatturns off televisions by remote control if they are being played too loudlyor are constantly substituting for healthy human interaction in social situations.Are you electronically inclined? Perhaps a “ROOMMATE-B-GONE” isin order—this could be your ticket to a life of luxury and living alone.

When I first moved to Iowa, I was sharing an apartment with a woman whowas consumed with jealousy and envy. I didn’t get it at all. She wascompetent, beautiful, and extremely talented, but for some reason I pushedher buttons. After months of passive-aggressive behavior, I finally forcedher to sit down and discuss this directly. We decided our dwelling arrangementwas not going to work out, but I wanted to try and get along until one ofus could find another place to live. I asked her if we could, at the bareminimum, be kind to one another during this transition. She stared at mein a “freaky” way for about two minutes and then responded, “It’snot my job to be kind to you.”

Well, I knew my goose was cooked. She had a few too many sessions of whatI consider to be Uber therapy (i.e., her rights and feelings were the onlyones that mattered and she had no part in any suffering her own behaviorcaused others).

I got out of there fast, Cheryl. I have no way of knowing if moving is thebest strategy for you, of course. I feel badly for your roommate. Breakupscan be devastating, but it is hardly your fault that you resemble the womanher fiancé fooled around with. Give her a few more opportunities todiscuss the situation with you. If she refuses, you’ve done all youcan, so pick up a copy of the Clash’s Combat Rock and play track 3(“Should I Stay or Should I Go”) loudly and repeatedly. Thisought to give her a hint and in the process an answer may present itselfto you. Be Peace?

Love, Meg

Be Respectful at the Tattoo Parlor

Dear Meg,
All my fraternity brothers got tattoos this year. I think I’m going todo it this summer. Do you know anything about this? I don’t want to lookdumb when I go.
—Steve

My Dear Steve,
Yep. I know a bit about the world of ink, but artists and shops havetheir own rules and expectations. The main thing to know is that youare going into a business for a service and the person you will beconsulting with is an artist, so be respectful, okay? Just because someonechooses to work outside the mainstream does not mean they aren’t serious aboutwhat they do.

Talk to some one who has body work you admire and ask them where they hadit done and who did it. This lessens the odds of running into the dreaded “scratcher”—theuntalented tattooist who leaves you with a permanently bad piece of ink.

After finding a shop with a good rep, receiving a consultation, and choosingyour art, you will be quoted a price. Do not try and talk them down. Also,understand that having a needle gun depositing ink under the top layer ofyour skin isn’t generally considered a pleasant experience unless you’rethe Governor of California, so don’t cry, whine, or complain if it’spainful. When the gun draws the border, that’s called the “ouchline” andis often the worst part, so just grin and bear it. BTW, Disney charactersare way uncool.
Love, Meg