Ask Amy

Friday, July 17, 2009 at 11:28am

DEAR AMY: My 18-year-old son "Bob" is leaving for his freshman year of college in August. Bob just received his roommate assignment, and after "friending" him on Facebook, Bob discovered that his roomie is gay.

Bob has four older siblings who have made it successfully through college and dorm life. They've had roommates who were of different races, different cultures and different religions, and have gotten along fine. Bob would prefer a straight roommate.

When I called the university to ask if Bob could be assigned another roomie, the housing director intimated that I was persecuting the gay roommate and that if my son didn't start out rooming with the gay student, then Bob could go to another school. He can put in for a room change during the first two weeks of school if he wants to switch.

I was taken aback. The university (a Jesuit school) has no policy for gay/straight roommates, other than that they don't permit discrimination. Bob will room with the assigned roommate.

In doing an informal poll of my older children and their friends, I discovered that all but one had a gay roommate and didn't stay roommates for long.

Is it discrimination when a straight man doesn't want to room with a gay man? Do you think schools should have a policy about this?

— Worried Mom

DEAR WORRIED: Evidently you understand and applaud your kids' ability to room with people of every background, race and creed, but you and your family draw the line at sexual orientation.

I agree with your school's policy not to discriminate. You could help your son by assuming that he will have a successful roommate experience, but let him know what his options are if he doesn't.

Sometimes students are held hostage by their roommates' nighttime schedule, alcohol use or indiscriminate dating life. That's why the school permits students to switch roommates after a two-week trial.

"My roommate is gay" in and of itself isn't a valid reason to switch in advance, any more than, "my roommate is Asian" would be.

This should be your son's issue to sort out on his own.


DEAR AMY: Is it possible to be in love with two people at the same time?

I've been married for six years to a wonderful woman, but I have also fallen hard for one of my co-workers.

We went on a business trip together recently and became intimate.

People joke about having a "work wife" or "work husband," but I feel like I really do.

It's nice to have someone I can be close to both at work and at home.

The problem is that now she's starting to talk about me leaving my wife for her. My marriage is great, so I have no intention of ending it, but I feel as if I love my co-worker too and don't want to give up either woman.

What should I tell her if she keeps persisting?

— Denver

DEAR DENVER: You don't love two women at the same time. In fact, it's quite obvious that you don't really love either of these women.

If you really loved your wife, you wouldn't cheat on her. If you really loved your "work wife," you wouldn't involve her in an adulterous relationship.

I suggest that you be honest with your "wives," telling each that you are more interested in your own needs than in theirs. Tell them that you like things just as they are and have no intention of ending either relationship.

I'd love to find out what happens next.


DEAR AMY: "Faced Out" wrote to you, wondering how to manage unwanted invitations on Facebook. She needs to realize that you control it; it doesn't control you! She should change the account settings for e-mail notifications to "off." When she gets continuous invitations from one person, she should officially "ignore" them on the site. She shouldn't worry that she'll hurt her feelings; it's only Facebook.

— "Facing" It

DEAR FACING: I see a new T-shirt slogan on the horizon: "It's only Facebook."

Send questions to askamy@tribune.com

Filed under: Lifestyles

9 Comments on this post:

By: jps13pat on 7/18/09 at 1:39

Completely and utterly disagree with Amy's take on the gay roommate. I think that this is an issue that needs to be discussed, and not thrown under the "racist" rug. What "Bob" feels is not hatred towards gay people. It's discomfort for having to live with someone that very well may be sexually attracted to him. If a girl was unknowingly assigned a male roommate, you wouldn't think twice about her asking to switch to a girl roommate. This is no different.

By: robowayne on 7/20/09 at 7:42

I agree with jps13pat
A homosexual male as a room mate for a straight male is like co-ed dorms.
If a straight male is uncomfortable with that, then WHY make him the bad guy?
If a female is uncomfortable to undress in front pf a male, then why is this any different?
It's obvious that AMY (whoever he/she is) is a pro Homosexual and a straight guy be damned!
Not cool.
And this is the last time I bother to read "ask Amy". It has NOTHING for me.
Goodbye Nashville City Paper.

By: Schuss on 7/20/09 at 8:50

Amy, you are an idiot. GAY IS A CHOICE, not something you're born with, like RACE or CREED. It should be the CHOICE of the son whether or not he wants to be exposed to that CHOICE of lifestyle.

You are another example of media support of the gay agenda.

By: joicash2 on 7/20/09 at 9:41

I am also a mother of a college student but I also think that this mother should butt her nose out of his business. If the son has an issue with the gay roommate then it is his responsibility to talk with him and not his dear mommy. I feel that he should set up some ground rules that if he is to have someone in the room then they should work something out so the mama's boy won't be scared for life. Since that's what she feels with happen to her son. My lord this mother needs to stop controlling every thing her son does. He is going off to college and it's time for the apron strings to be cut. My son didn't live in a dorm but had his own apartment and I did not and have not tried to control his life since he went off to college. I hope her son stands up for himself and tells his sheltered mother to mind her own business. She is only a prejudice person and I feel sorry for her and her son. This poor other roommate has probably been bullied most of his life since coming out and my heart goes out to him. So I think the mother should do some sole searching before she does anymore damage.
jc nashville tn

By: BenDover on 7/20/09 at 11:06

Wow Amy. I'd say 99% of the time you give very good advice but this time you totally blew it. This kid should not be compelled to room with a gay roomate if he doesn't want to. The school should certainly make allowances for this circumstance and immediately remedy the situation. The fact that the school reacted the way it did and the fact that you advised what you did really really scare me.

The kid will get to know gays during his tenure in college... no need to shove them down his throat.

joicash also made a good point... but I see the parent's outrage in this situation as valid... especially if they are paying the bills.

By: MamaG on 7/20/09 at 12:55

I think all you posters on this subject are a bunch of homophobic idiots. What this mother has done is raise a homophobic son, which is probably how all of her children have been raised. If the boy doesn't want a gay roommate, HE needs to be the one to deal with it. Your ignorance lies in the fact that just because someone could be attracted to their roommate doesn't mean they would act on the attraction. Gay or straight, I'm sure they can control any sexual attraction they may have. How narrow-minded and shallow of you posters, and of the mother who wrote this letter. And to robowayne I say Good Riddance.

By: Kosh III on 7/20/09 at 2:06

Sexual orientation is NOT a choice. Religion is.

The kid needs to spend the two weeks getting to know his roommate. Then if he still wants a roommate just like himself, he has that option.

By: Schuss on 7/20/09 at 8:47

Homosexuals have a CHOICE whether or not to be homosexuals. A straight person CHOOSES whether or not he/she is going to have sex with a certain person. A homosexual has the same CHOICE.

I am not a homophobe. I, simply, don't condone their lifestyle choice. I choose not to associate with homosexuals, if at all possible. I don't watch TV programs with homosexual content and don't allow my children to, either. I block the LOGO and Bravo channels, due to their high content of homosexual media.

I grew up in San Francisco Bay Area. I had a gay roommate in boarding school. I didn't have the luxury of finding out ahead of time. I didn't like it very much. I moved out.

There is far too much media telling the average person that gay is ok. I resent that I have to be exposed to it.

GAY IS NOT OK.

By: jps13pat on 7/21/09 at 10:22

MamaG, in my discussions with others regarding this topic I've often heard the "they can control themselves" argument come up. What a bone headed argument that is!! I could use the same argument to say that men should be allowed to room with women, because after all, I'm sure the men could control whatever sexual urges they may have. I hope that you can pick up on my sarcasm, because that's bs. Most Americans claim to be christians, and most christian denominations teach abstinence before marriage. The fact that so few are actually able to accomplish this is a testament to how good we Americans are at "controlling our sexual urges." Furthermore, calling us all homophobes is ignorant and short sighted. Would you say that a teenage girl has a phobia of men if she decides that she doesn't want to live with a guy in college? No, that is ridiculous. The same goes for your assessment of us. Perhaps you should think a little bit more before you type next time.