The elephant in the top bunk

By Ben Moriarty

While I have lived off-campus for two years now, the first two years, while on campus, my roommate had a lot to deal with. And by that, I meant he had to be present and pretend-sleeping in his top bunk while I knocked boots on the bottom bunk, taunting him in the middle of it because I knew he wasn’t actually sleeping and could hear every little thing and was envisioning it in his mind yet still pretended to be asleep. And he never complained. Because he feared the consequences.

Just kidding, I’ve never even encountered a girl who wanted to sleep with me, never mind actually finding a girl at the University of Massachusetts to do it with out of the 10,000 or so that are here, roughly. My roommate can attest to that sad truth.

But, sex is a well known part of college, an important part for many people – after classes and alcohol. And with this casual and not casual sex comes sexless, awkward hall passes, and the spread of STDs.

Ha ha! Take that suckers. Who’s laughing now?

Maybe that’s why, this year, Tufts University added a new policy regarding guests and dorm habituation. Specifically: “You may not engage in sexual activity while your roommate is present in the room. Any sexual activity within your assigned room should not ever deprive your roommate(s) of privacy, study, or sleep time.”

This begs the question of, what if you aren’t disturbing them of either study, sleep time or privacy? If your roommate is watching TV, you are obviously not depriving them of either sleep or study, and if anything, the roommate is the one who is depriving you of privacy.

Jerk roommates. Sometimes people can be so inconsiderate.

And to some level, this matter is inconsiderate. Which is probably why Tufts imposed this rule. There are several aspects to this.

First, is the “Come home with someone, your roommate is apparently sleeping, should you get it on or not?”

Second is the “Oh, what a splendidly fine evening this was. I had such a fine time drinking wine and eating cheese. I am opening the door into my room now at 3 a.m. Oh, my roommate is having sexual intercourse with another human being, whatever shall I do now at this rather morning hour?”

Third is the, “Roommates who beat the system because they are gay and can room together unlike other couples.” Wait, what happens in those situations?

In two of three of those situations, you are either inconveniencing your roommate, or living dangerously and rolling the dice. And, using the general law of common courtesy and that mighty fine Golden Rule, you know you shouldn’t be doing it (don’t you hate people that point out puns?).

Despite writing this column, I am – in my opinion – fairly conservative regarding sex. Last year, when I wrote a negative column about girl’s fashion during Halloween, I was bombarded with comments and e-mails saying I was just mad I couldn’t get any.

But, even being conservative in relation to this topic, I muster up about enough bother regarding sex with roommates in the room as I do about when people share what they think of my writing. And that is none.

While college may be about learning, or something, or finding who you are, or whatever enlightening crap that is, a lot of it is showing that you can deal with what life gives you, and then actually dealing with it. And most of the time, it’s not fun or convenient.

What I’m not doing is advocating that one should feel free in having sex with your roommate present, or not care if they know they should be arriving soon, or even at all. But, if your roommate doesn’t have the courtesy to not do it (or, more likely, has the will for thrill), then deal with it.

And if it really bothers you, then pay them back. Cold, baby. Ice cold.

Ben Moriarty is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]