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May 13, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Fixing Your Life (Because Ours are Written Off)

Dear Hector and Janet,

I’ve been spending a lot of time with one of my flatmates recently, and I’m starting to get the vibe that they’re attracted to me. I’ve had a bit of a crush on them since before they moved in, so needless to say I’m quite stoked with that. I don’t want to go out with them or anything, but would a drunken bang to get this sexual tension out of the way be a bad idea?

Frisky Flatmate



Hullo, Frisky Flatmate,

I’ve never been in a situation akin to that before: the only flatmate I’ve ever had who’s aligned with my sexual orientation is a self-described “beta male”. Not my bag at all. But the point of advice columns is perhaps not that I’m to have had every experience you’re now pondering, so here’s what I think:

My instinct is that this is a bad idea. (Wait! Keep reading! I know you want to sleep with them, and I’ll eventually validate it. I have every reason to believe that my instinct is wrong.) It just seems messy. What if it’s horribly awkward afterwards and the sexual tension is replaced by something worse? What if you ended up doing it all the time and it was horrible for your other flatmates? What if they like you more than you like them, and you not wanting anything more becomes a problem?

That all of these are negative ‘what-ifs’ tells you something about how I approach sexual interaction. I think it’s relevant because I usually consider it with people I know well, as you are here with your flatmate. I usually feel an overwhelming presumption in favour of ‘no’/’it’s not going to work’/’we have different expectations’, coupled with a tendency to use terms like ‘sexual interaction’ that will quash the most relentless of boners. That said, it has been a while since I felt the giddiness of romantic interest: perhaps that explains this utterly morose (and yet totally rational) horseshit. I have a lot to learn from your ‘fun, risk-taking’ nature. We should get a coffee.

I genuinely believe it’s not that difficult to not act on things: you just don’t get drunk and lean in, which seems to be how 85 per cent of unions begin, for better or worse. I’m not trying to belittle you when I say that given your mutual attraction, you’ll most likely act on it. It hardly seems right for me to take a blanket stance on whether it’s a bad idea, but I think perhaps be aware that it affects more people than just the two of you, that the outcome is unlikely to be the status quo sans current sexual tension, and that a mature adult discussion should take care not to end with one person making a compromise they’re not comfortable with.

I don’t know whether this helped. I think I just ended up talking about myself. Live the dream,




Hi, you.

I think it’s pretty obvious that this is a bad idea. I mean, if you thought it was a good idea, you would have already done it and not have written in at all. Don’t do it. Surely you have that much self-restraint.

That said, you probably will get your freak on, and only then you’ll realise why it’s a terrible idea. Because you’re sex-blind, you see. Just try to bear in mind that if it doesn’t become serious it will be awkward; and if it does it will mean jumping straight to a live-in relationship. Not good when there is money and housing on the line.

Flatmates are just one of those groups of people who one should not bang. You can throw them right in there with relatives, ex-partners and people with whom your friends have previously been obsessed to an unhealthy degree. It’s just genuinely not worth it. Sex shouldn’t be ruthlessly pursued to the complete ruin of every other aspect of your life.

Look, we’ve all had sexy flatmates before. In my experience, though, it doesn’t take much time living with someone to come across them in a compromising position which forever renders them unsexy in your eyes. That might be their inescapable stench after a hungover vom, or perhaps accidentally walking in on them in the bathroom, completely nude. Maybe you’ll discover that they’re secretly a racist. I don’t know what the specifics will be, but it’ll come up eventually, and it’s always something you’d rather not know about somebody you’ve slept with—if only to preserve your pride.

All of that considered, I will forever be an advocate of taking risks and making terrible decisions every now and then, just to see what happens. So long as you appreciate that’s what you’re doing, of course.

It’s also, as my former flatmate and true charmer would say, “better than trapping your dick in the door.” So there’s that.

Cowabunga dude,

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