Thursday, January 03, 2008

Roommate Advice

I tend to talk about myself a good deal here at and I sincerely hope that my commentary has helped at least one of you discover some new music and that my spelling mistakes have inspired many more of you to pay better attention in school. But, this week, I am going to shift my attention from my own advice on music and neurotic girls to that of my long-time roommate and good friend, Juan. For about seven years, Juan and I lived down the hall from each other, first as South Quad neighbors at Skidmore and later as roommates in southern Manhattan. Juan is a great guy and one of the best roommates I’ve ever had; he doesn’t pee in the closest when he’s wasted (unlike my freshman jock roommate), spends a good deal of his spare time at his mom’s in Queens or his Uncle’s in Brooklyn and has a habit of falling asleep on the sofa instead of in his bed (thereby allowing me to subsidize my income by renting out his room 1-3 nights a week!). He also has a good head on his shoulders and balances out my scatterbrained neuroses quite well. Juan recently moved to Albany to begin work at the State Senate, but came back to New York shortly before New Year’s Eve to help celebrate our friend Caitey’s birthday.

And while at dinner, Juan made a comment, which actually inspired me to think a bit more seriously about what, in retrospect, can be one of the most traumatic experiences in any swinging, young bachelor’s life: attending the birthday party of a girl you are causally courting. On the surface, attending the birthday party of a girl you are interested in seems like a choice opportunity; a chance buy drinks for your intended, simultaneously win the admiration of each-and-every one of her friends and be the all around “man- of- the- night.” But, what most guys don’t realize is that, unlike guys, girls have a tendency to invite every guy they are currently flirting with to the same birthday party, all of whom are vying for the elusive “man- of- the -night position.” In fact, invariably what happens is that the birthday girl ends up hooking up with the bar tender or some Irish guy who happens to be in town for “just one night,” while the 8-10 guys who put on their best dress shirts for the evening end up having slow, forced conversation with each other.

Of course, as Juan reminds me, it’s a Catch 22 because if you miss the birthday party, you automatically take yourself out of the running and/or preemptively brand yourself as the type of guy who will leave at six in the morning for an “early meeting,” or “last minute racquetball lesson.” I think the last time I had to make the difficult choice of whether or not to attend such a birthday party was my freshman year of “real life.” Luckily for me, one of my favorite bands decided to schedule a run of shows at Tonic and I was able to use the “my true love is music semi-excuse,” which somehow managed to give me some sort of hand in our relationship and was able to bring her back a concert souvenir, which also solves the second biggest relationship birthday problem---the present.

Like most guys, I like to keep the various girls I am interested in at any particularly time separated like Tori and Kelly in the final season of Saved By the Bell…especially at a birthday party or similar social function, which has a good chance of being tagged on my friend’s Facebook. But, then again, I know more about spelling than birthdays. That’s why I listen to my roommate Juan (who’d like you to vote for him in the 2012 State Senate Election.)

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