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Monday, April 16, 2012

The Horny Roommate - Part 2 (Violating the Honor Code, Roaming Hands, Making Out, and the Blinds are Closed)

Hello, Bro Jo.

Quite a bit has happened since I first wrote you.

I'll refer to my engaged roommate as Jenny and her fiance as Mike.

Jenny and Mike like to kiss. And snuggle. And lay across each other's lap. And lay down on the couch or floor together. And fall asleep under blankets on the couch (which is a very narrow thing, mind you) together. With the blinds shut (against the honor code) and often times at home by themselves (also very highly against the honor code). And her hand has been found on his crotch.

My other roommates and I have often walked in on both of them by themselves in the apartment with the blinds shut, usually doing one of the things mentioned above. At first I thought I was the only one it was bothering, but two other roommates shared with me their discomfort with Jenny's behavior and we talked about how we're not sure what to do, and we're not sure how to approach Jenny. Jenny is very sarcastic, and her mood changes at the drop of a hat. We can never tell when she's just being goofy or when she is seriously mad.

So it has been very awkward.


The other day, I went to the temple with two of my roommates. It was probably one of the best temple experiences I have ever had. Very spiritual.

The three of us got home, and when we walked in, the lights were off and the blinds were shut and Jenny and Mike were asleep on the couch snuggled very tightly under blankets. I put my coat away in the closet, leaned over and just flipped open the blinds so people could see inside. This woke her up and she gave me a dirty look. I said "Sorry, they need to be open." And I walked back to my room. The sweet roommate was going to shut the door, and I stopped her, saying "they don't need privacy..."

I got dressed, went back out to the front room to fix myself something to eat. Jenny had shut the blinds again. I got myself something to eat, then went to go get the mail. Before I got the mail, I opened the blinds again. Another dirty look, and I repeated "they need to be open."

I returned from getting the mail, and the blinds were shut yet again.
So, I leaned over a third time, getting frustrated, opened them up, and said "These need to be open, it's against the honor code if they're not."

Jenny argued that it was already against the honor code that they were only flipped open and not all the way up. I retaliated "Well it needs to be open. You two are breaking the honor code right here!"

Mike was awake by this point, and I said to them both "If this keeps up, I'm going to have to tell the relief society president. I don't want to have to do that. You guys are being way too physical and it makes all of us uncomfortable. We've just been afraid to approach you because we didn't know how you would respond. But we just came back from the temple, and it was a very beautiful experience. But when we walked through the door, the spirit left (I started crying here) and that makes me so sad. I just don't want you guys to get hurt."

Now, I know that wasn't the best way to approach it. I know it would have been kinder for me to pull her aside and talk with her, but I honestly thought she was going to rip my head off no matter how I approached her.

I left the room. Mike left, and Jenny walked around slamming doors and stomping her feet.
One of my roommates suggested we all have dinner tonight, because she feels that it is important that we not exclude Jenny out. She needs to know we do love her and that we want things to not be so contentious.
She invited Jenny out and Jenny just started shouting that no, since Mike isn't allowed to come over anymore, she can't come either.

We had another conversation where I explained to her that of course he's welcome over, and I'm happy they're getting married, but the making out has to stop. She argued that they know where to stop, they know when they've kissed enough, and I told her great, just don't bring that in the apartment. (Though I have mixed feelings about "knowing when to stop"... I'm sure you do, too, but I let that be.. for now) I explained that this apartment belongs to all of us, and I'm sorry we didn't bring it up sooner, and I'm sorry she's embarrassed, but it is not fair to make us uncomfortable that way, because we're all paying to live here. I also told her how unpredictable she comes off as, even if that's not her intention, and why that factored into us not telling her sooner. She responded with "I never get angry!!"
I didn't really know what to say there, so I just moved on.

We ended the conversation with a hug, I told her I'm not mad at her, I hope she won't stay mad at me and that she'll forgive me for embarrassing her. She said she'll work on it.
Okay.

And as far as the physical stuff goes, she says she realizes it now that we all have different backgrounds, and some things might other people uncomfortable.
Since then, Mike and Jenny have only sat with their arms around each other, and there hasn't been any kissing. Of course, it's only been two days.



In the mix of all of this (other personal things have been going on), I texted my wonderful, awesome, fantastic cousin and asked him for a blessing. He picked me up and brought one of his roommates, who is just as wonderful. I explained the situation to him, and we talked about blessings for a bit. He told me when he gives a blessing, he puts all of his emotions aside and has to let the Holy Ghost speak through him. It can't be his own judgement, it has to come from the Lord.

There were some very helpful things said in the blessing. I was also told to tell the bishop and relief society president. I did not think I would have to before. I wanted to wait it out and see if things got better on their own. But the Spirit of the Lord has made it clear I should do this, so I will.

My family at home feels like this is being too much of a tattle-tale, that I might be being too much like Percy Weasley (from the Harry Potter series).


Bro Jo, I know this is the right thing to do. I see where my family comes from, and they are right in a way, but I know what the Lord wants me to do, so like Nephi, I will go and do.
Thanks for suggesting we talk. It didn't happen the way I expected, and I don't think the talking is over. Actually, I think it's far from over. Jenny is still mad at a few roommates over ridiculous things, and I have suggested we have an apartment discussion and open up our communication.

I don't know when this is going to happen, and I know nobody wants to do it except for me. It feels like everybody would rather just remain hostile than let down their guard and admit they're wrong.

I'll keep working on them, telling them they know we should really have it and that we're adults and need to do it instead of being childish.

Wow! Long letter. I'll keep you updated on any improvements that happen. Hopefully that will be soon!

Thanks,

V.E.




Dear V.E.

With respect to the folks back home, the differences between you and Percy Weasley (other than him being fictional) are:

a) he was a pompous jerk that didn't care about the feelings of others
and b) he was wrong.

My understanding of the Honor Code, and all Honor Codes, is that if you know someone is doing something wrong and you do nothing (which may include ratting them out) you're just as guilty as they are.

Jenny and Mike don't know when to stop; they've already crossed the line they should have stopped at. Add to that their lying and hiding of what they're doing, and it's a recipe for trouble. Their hormones have overridden their common sense - which is totally understandable, but not excusable.

My opinion, not that anyone has asked, is that they need to move the wedding date up . . . soon, lest they find themselves hiding their sins and lying about their worthiness to enter the Temple.

Good luck,

- Bro Jo

17 comments:

Kate said...

Hang on there, don't tell the Relief Society President. She has no authority over Honor Code violations. Only tell the bishop. And good for her for saying something. It is a scary thing to do, but it's the right thing to do.

Dave Johnston said...

True, the RS president doesn't have "authority", but can be a trusted friend and a good source of counsel. Many times we should be going to our quorum and auxiliary presidents before we seek the Bishop's counsel.

- Bro Jo

Anonymous said...

In my opinion VE crossed the line, and crossed the line, and kept crossing it. She stomped on the line. I'm very sorry that making out bothers her, but it is normal, and as VE pointed out all of the roommates are paying rent, not just her, and she doesn't get to decide what others can and can't do. Nor for that matter is whether or not her "horny" roommate is making out with her boyfriend up for a vote by the apartment.

If VE wanted to open the blinds so that she could be keeping the honor code, then she could go ahead, but she opened them up and then left the room.

The Honor Code violations are troubling, and as a friend if she wants to tell her roommate that she should get help, that would be good behavior, but what VE did was decide that she was going to make her roommate keep the honor code, no matter what, and that isn't VE's decision, not even as a roommate.

There are elements of the honor code that impact everyone, and roommates have a right to expect others to follow them. If the boyfriend was at the house after curfew, or in the mornings for example. Or if a roommate was leaving pornography in a place where others could see it.

VE's roommates' behavior, however, is not impacting her in any kind of direct way. This is an outgrowth of VE's unhealthy sexual attitudes that we saw in her last post. Anything sexual grosses her out, and she doesn't want to see it. If her concern was for her roommate she would have behaved in a loving way.

The impact she did mention, that she lost the spirit, troubles me deeply. If she cannot feel the spirit if everyone is not up to her standards, than that is a problem that VE needs to address because she will rarely be in situations in her life where everyone will be following the rules, and you still have to be able to feel the spirit. That's not the kind of situation she can blame on the roommate's behavior.

If VE's roommates were writing in, I think Bro. Jo's advice would be good. Their behavior, filtered through VE's description, could lead to major problems. We should not, however, encourage others to throw temper tantrums because others aren't acting the way they want them to, like VE did.

Jdawg said...
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Christopher Cunningham said...

Doing the right thing takes a lot of courage, judging others when they don't does not.

What virgin ears seems to not understand is that she gets to decide how she follows the honor code, she doesn't get to decide how other people do.

Because her roommates behavior is not affecting her in any kind of direct way, virgin ears aversion seems to be mostly dealing with her discomfort with human sexuality, which is an issue she needs to learn to get over as she spends more time with grown ups. I'm a little surprised Bro Jo encouraged her childish judgmental temper tantrums.

Dave Johnston said...

Wow, Christopher and Anon, you couldn't be more wrong.

Publically Petting Procreation Parts is not a sign if sexual maturity; nor does not wanting to endure a soft'core porn show on your sofa something you should ignore lest the ignorant label you as uncomfortable with you own sexuality.

Quite the opposite.

Your annalysis of V.E. and her handling this situation is woefully ignorant; I'd chalk that up to me knowing more of her background than you, but frankly I think that's irrelevant.

Consider this: no one had more entitlement to do whatever they want in their own home than you parents and grandparents; it may make you uncomfortable to realize this, but they've had sex . . . Way More than you can imagine. Trust me, you kids aren't inventing or discovering anything they don't already know about.

Even God says they can go at it like animals whenever they want, after all, unlike this couple in V.E.'s apartment, they're married.

Your ancestors have seen and done more than you or this couple of clothing clad copulators.

And your relatives are in their own home. No roommates to consider. Mortgage, rent, or free-and-clear, they get to do what they want.

That said, the next time you go over to watch a move, will it be approptiate for your grandma to be straddling your grandpa as he feels her up in front of you? Are you "sexually mature" enough to not react as mom and dad start dry-humping on the sofa?
Trust me, this will not be the first time either of these events have happened.

If you object to that behavior, will that mean you're Sexually Repressed or Naive?

Of course not!

You two have both missed a fundamental point: this show is happening in V.E.'s Living Room, a space she has just as much right to as her other roommates, and when you share a home you have an obligation to respect those you live with. One girl's lust does not override her roommate's right to be in her home without having to see this stuff in a public space.

Could V.E. have handled it better? Perhaps, but you've completely dismissed the roommate's blatant rudeness and disregard for others. Honor Code or no, this girl and her boyfriend were totally out of line.

Ask yourselves this: if their behavior was okay, then why were the blinds closed? Why not take their Love In to the cafeteria and feel each other up there? Why not girate on genitalia in the Chapple? Is a home any less sacred?


I hope that when you have teenagers you're much less tolerant of "sexual expression" in your own homes.


Oh, and while I'm at it, while V.E. certainly isn't responsible for the decisions of others to violate the honor code in her home, she certainly has an obligation to report those violations, both morally and by contract. She isn't choosing their behavior, she's simply reporting it.

An important difference.

- Bro Jo

Dave Johnston said...

One more thing: I HOPE all of you live your lives in such a way that when you come home to find two rude people mock-doin'-it on your couch that you too can feel the Spirit leave.

This isn't just a situation of V.E. hearing about naughty behavior, Anon, she's continuously coming home to find it going on in her home.

- Bro Jo

Nate said...

Woah, woah, woah. When did falling asleep under a blanket become this massive sexual action? Yes, it's riding a fine line and should be discouraged but to blow it out of proportion doesn't help the situation any more than saying nothing does. I've been in a similar situation and yes it was uncomfortable and annoying and there might of been some defiling of the couch if you know what I mean. But me and my only sane roommate didn't bring in outside help, report them to the honor code office, push our personal spirituality on them, etc. We TALKED to them, personally, like adults.

The interesting thing about talking to someone is that it confers information directly to the person you are talking to. This, in effect, establishes boundaries, makes opinions know, and gives awareness to the situation. That didn't mean that anything stopped but that's an issue of agency, not gross negligence on my, or my roommates', part. We would tell them, directly, that it was late and their friend needed to go home. We would bring our concerns up but not in a dramatic confrontation. If you want to motivate someone, don't back them into a corner, show compassion and understanding rather than criticizing.

And about the sexual nausea this girl has, yeah, definitely a part of this issue. Just because you heard your mom and dad making animal noises in the bedroom next door doesn't make you "experienced" it just means your parents are crazy. So, case in point, the situation bugs her because she assumes it's a terribly evil thing even though there is no proof that any sexual relations have occurred. Get that proved first, then you can be angry. But until then CHILL OUT, let people make their own choices and quit dangling the honor code above their heads like a 1 ton weight. Yes, they signed it, they are responsible to follow it, you are responsible to make issues known when it is appropriate, but don't become the honor code police, believe me it's no fun at all.

To Miss VE, and Brother Johnston, the responsibility for a person's actions falls to the person not an overly sanctimonious and self-promoting third party. In closing I quote Jesus "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in they brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thy own eye?"

Oh and P.S. to BroJo, just because you ramble off a load of sexual comments doesn't make you edgy, "in touch," or any more intelligent. It's actually incredibly inappropriate, especially for the crowd you're catering to and doesn't establish any credibility as moral follower of Christ. Remember that the next time you write an overly emotional, offensive response to someone who might be a minor.

Dave Johnston said...

@ Nate,

I appreciate your response and your chastisement, but you may want to go back and read both this and the first letter; you're missing or ignoring items and context.

Such as: "And her hand has been found on his crotch"

and

"I thought I was the only one it was bothering, but two other roommates shared with me their discomfort"

and that I suggested in the first letter that they talk, which VE mentions here: "Thanks for suggesting we talk".


So you and I are on the same page here, I have no interest in being "in touch" or "edgy"; I could not possibly care less about either.


I'm sorry if my words have made you uncomfortable; it's too bad your concern for young readers of my column doesn't extend to people like V.E . . .

Perhaps I went to far in trying to make my point, but I'm more bummed out that you seem to have missed it.

Just as you missed that I agree with you when it comes to who's responsible for their own actions; of course, there's more at play here than that.

It's also too bad that like many you mis-use Christ's quote regarding the beam and the mote. We are all sinners, my brother (clearly I am, right?), but our failure at perfection does not mean that we don't also have a responsibility to A) help our homes be a refuge from worldliness, and B) excuse us from those moments when we must be, as Christ so often reminds us, our brother's keeper.

It's a tough line walk, no doubt.

I do think it's sad that the person trying to do the right thing, the roommate who tried to talk things out, the girl who made the effort to smooth things over, the person who was both morally and ethically correct, is (forgive me) being crucified here.

How quick some of you seem to be to judge her, while seemingly giving the roommate a pass . . . interesting.

Remember, VE tried multiple times to communicate with "Jenny", but was consistently blown off. VE isn't the "Honor Code Police", but she has every right to expect certain behavior not to happen under her roof because (AND READ THIS CLEARLY) THAT'S WHAT THEY ALL AGREED UPON WHEN THEY COMMITTED TO LIVING UNDER THE HONOR CODE.


Regardless of our differences in opinion, I appreciate the healthy discussion; seems as though this topic is striking a few more hearts and nerves than I expected.


Very interesting.


It does seem, so far, that girls are tending towards cheering VE for being brave enough to take a stand, whereas guys think she should have minded her own business and let the two of them keep carrying on in her home . . .


Very interesting indeed.


If you read enough of my stuff, there's no way we'll agree on everything. Heck, Sister Jo doesn't agree with everything I write or say; why should anyone else?


I don't try to be volatile, but I believe in being honest and direct with my opinions (as clearly you do, too) and if I do that enough, eventually some of what I write (if not a lot) is going to rub some people the wrong way.


Again I apologize if I offended or struck a nerve.


Part 3 is next week.

- Bro Jo


PS: Whether "it happens" or not, unmarried couples should not be falling asleep under blankets. To quote a favorite speaker, perhaps a bit out of context, "Stop it".

Jdawg said...
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Jdawg said...
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Tamora91 said...

I agree with Bro Jo on this one. How is it not directly affecting V.E.? I would feel uncomfortable (and she has stated that she AND her other roommates feel uncomfortable) to come home to two people asleep on my couch. What is the difference between that couch and his/her bed? Nothing. Wouldn't you feel uncomfortable walking in on two people in bed?
And what are they doing that they feel so uncomfortable with the blinds open?
Her roommate is treading on one fine line that leads to roads they shouldn't want to go down. Speaking as someone who has made those mistakes, I wish someone had knocked sense into my head earlier. And VE did say that her blessing encouraged her to speak with the bishop. Maybe that is what the couple needs.
But I digress. When they chose to live at the apartment, they chose to abide by the honor code. Its a binding contract. Its not just a sometimes thing, or a when-you-feel-like thing. Its respecting your roommates, and yourself. She has a right to say hey, you know what, this isn't right here. She not being a 'Honor Police.' She feels uncomfortable because when she agreed to move in, she believed that all of her roommates would uphold the contract as she has.

Dave Johnston said...

I too, am guilty of making too much light of this topic and situation in my comments, for that (and some other errors that a good reader pointed out to me) I apologize.

Bro Jo

Kate said...

Whew, what a good discussion. Here's my two bits from my experience. I had a roommate (at BYU-I) come home at 5am with a massive hangover. And she later told me about the party she went to- boys, alcohol etc. Since I knew specifically what she had done, I had the responsibility to report her actions. I went to my bishop and told him what she had told me. He called her in for an interview, and they resolved it. She never knew it was me who told, and she behaved well the rest of the semester. I didn't confront or berate her; I just did what I had promised to do- report.
I'm Relief Society President, and I still disagree that the girl should go to anyone before the bishop. He is the one to deal with sin and HC issues. If the girls need support or help resolving conflict after seeing the bishop, then I can act under his direction and advice to help them.

Christopher Cunningham said...

I attended a University that was not associated with the LDS church. I had a roommate that put up posters riddled with profanity, left pornography laying about where anyone could see it, and when I tried to speak to him about these issues he very bluntly said that there was nothing he would do for me. The University said there wasn't "sufficient grounds to warrant transferring rooms". Yet, I was just as entitled to the Spirit in that dorm, as I have ever been. The Lord loved me no less, and when I keep my baptismal covenants the Lord is bound to allow the Holy Ghost to be my constant companion. Nothing that anyone around me did, could affect my relationship with the Spirit, and my worthiness to have it with me. When the Spirit leaves us, we cannot blame that on anything or anyone but ourselves.

Jenna said...

I have mixed feelings about this. I believe strongly that everyone should mind their own business. The impulse to tell authorities seems exceedingly puritanical to me. But I understand that a person would want to feel comfortable in their own living room at all times.

And, having been in Jenny's position before, I have personal experience that colors my opinions. Fortunately for me, my roommates did mind their own business, I learned the error of my ways on my own, and had a very personal spiritual awakening during my repentance process. I am now happily married to my partner in (almost) fornication. I imagine that my experience would have been less meaningful if it had been forced upon me by interfering roommates.

That said, I do wish my roommates would have openly expressed their discomfort had there been any. If only because I had no desire to offend them, and wish that I could have made it right. I did give up my questionable practices eventually, and I hope that that was restitution enough.

So on the whole, I approve of going to Jenny directly without imposing judgment on her. VE, just tell her you feel uncomfortable. Don't worry about her personal righteousness, because frankly it's none of your business. Even with an honor code in place, I believe that such things should be between Jenny, God, and no one else. Acting judgmental toward her will only put her on the defensive and make her less likely to change. Let us all act with charity, not with pharisaical holier-than-thou attitudes (which, forgive me, you appear to have employed with Jenny thus far).

I have one more quibble that I must voice, because it is a particular pet peeve of mine. Bro Jo, Jesus *never said* to be our brother's keeper. Those words came from Cain, not Jesus. It drives me nuts when people talk about that phrase as if it were a verbatim directive from God. In fact, they came from the original son of perdition (albeit used derisively). Kind of makes puts a damper on the phrase, doesn't it?

Dave Johnston said...

We may not have record of Jesus saying the exact words “your brother’s keeper”, but he certainly taught the concept often. (I try not to quote scripture here, but you may want to check out the conversation he has with Peter in John 21.)

When we do things in public, when our actions affect others, what we’re doing is no longer our business alone; we give up our rights to privacy (which are on shaky ground to begin with, by the way) when what we do is no longer private.

And even when we think our actions are hidden, they very rarely are; Judgment is the Lord’s, but everyone is entitled to their opinion.

I think people misunderstand the “judgment” thing. I think they confuse “condemnation” with “opinion”. When the Lord talks about judgment, He’s speaking eternally, that’s condemnation (or reward, depending on your actions); when we “judge” in a temporal sense its opinion, even if it also happens to be fact. There’s nothing wrong with saying that something is wrong; it’s called discernment, and the ability to discern is a gift from God.

For example: what “Jenny and Mike” did wasn’t “questionable behavior”, there’s no moral-relativism that makes it okay, no justification . . . it was wrong. Does that mean that VE was perfect? No. Does my saying that what they did was wrong condemn them? Of course not. What I say has nothing to do with their status in the eyes of God. Does pointing out wrong behavior make me guiltless or better than anyone else? Not by a long shot.

Now, all of that said, how I express my opinion can also be sinful (and regrettably, in my case, has too often been so), but the sin of one person does not excuse nor justify the sin of another (and that goes both ways).

Believe me: this thou ain’t holier than anybody.

If I’m incorrect in my opinion about their behavior, then Jenny and Mike shouldn’t care. If I’m right, then they’d best listen and correct their behavior.

Not that you asked but, in my opinion, your practices weren’t questionable, they were wrong, and no, simply giving them up is not restitution for the wrong you committed against your roommates. I think you need to apologize to them.

Am I judging you? No.

Am I better than you? Ha! Not possible.

I’m not perfect, I don’t condemn you; heck, I don’t even know you.

But I think I’m right.

As for our buddy Cain . . . go back and check out what the Lord said about his qualm about not being responsible for the fate of Abel. I don’t think the phrase is dampened at all, especially when you realize just who it is specifically that Cain is speaking with.

Thank you for being part of the discussion!

- Bro Jo