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May 27, 2009 — by Jesse Gipe

One of the most awkward parts of being a bisexual teenager is rooming. You tend to forget things like school trips, and when they jump into view, it is time for frantic searches. Finding roommates you know is critical. If, for some reason, you miss the sign-up date or do not manage to get in a room with friends, you are delegated to a room of barely known or utterly strange persons of the same gender. Most teenagers (especially females) are too nice to allow someone they barely know to sleep on the floor. Because of this, you end up sharing a bed with a near stranger, huddled in one foot on the very edge to avoid touching them accidently. You stay awake all night, listening to the soft breathing of people who know each other. You wish you could sleep, but are afraid of falling off the bed or having one of those awkward dreams and talking in your sleep.

The wake-up call for the next morning is scheduled for seven am, but you are up at five thirty, taking your shower as quietly as possible with the door locked. You wrap your pajamas around your wet body and sprint to your suitcase and back when you realize you have forgotten both clothes and a towel. Your roommates stir, and you land spread-eagled on the floor, having tripped in shock at their waking. They, of course, wake up and insist on helping you up and making sure you are in perfect order. At least one of them wears the requisite negligee that shows her chest as she leans over you to check for bruises and broken limbs. You sit there in panic, pajamas clinging to you and showing every tiny, incriminating detail. At some point, you find an opening and duck out, only to find that one of your roommates now has command of the bathroom and is intent on her daily hour-long beauty ritual. The door, of course, stays open. Your roommates change in front of you as you bury your nose desperately in a book or search through your suitcase, trying to think of what could take you an hour to find.

Finally, you manage to escape your room, but your roommates (who come down an hour later, of course) pin you down at your table right in the middle of a dangerously revealing discussion with a close and trusted friend about that cute girl at the next table. The discussion must be cut off, and as long as your roommates are there, you frantically signal your friend not to say anything about who you like.

Stressed out and exhausted from lack of sleep, you load onto the busses and are finally out of reach of your roommates. The rest of the day goes fine, except for that seemingly ever-present ‘swear word’ –gay. Well, you can ignore that. You’re having a fine time with your friends. Until it’s time for curfew, at any rate.

So, you trudge off to your room, where your unfortunate companions are lounging around in their pj’s watching television. They spin off, as girls have a tendency to do, into a long and involved conversation on the merits of the various actors and characters on-screen. All their heartthrobs are male, of course. And, just to complete the agony, they insist on knowing your opinion. You have to ‘think fast’ and make up some nonsense about how strong and manly one of the characters is and bite your tongue to keep from remarking that the lead actress beats all the males by several miles.

The night is a rerun of the previous sleepless dream. The only difference is that you actually fall asleep out of sheer deprivation for two hours. When you wake up, your bedmate has draped herself across the bed and is holding your hand. She seems to be having an amorous dream, and you try to ease your hand out of her death grip without waking her. You manage to take your shower and change into normal clothes without a hitch, for once, but when you are finished, the pj top of one of your roommates has come unbuttoned. A great deal of chest is showing, and hard as you try, you can’t stop peeking. You try and unobtrusively pull up her coverlet. She doesn’t wake up, but five minutes later she is flashing the ceiling again. At five am you’ve had enough. You tiptoe out, and knock on the door of your friends’ room. They wake up and let you in, reluctantly, and you snatch a couple more hours of sleep in a pile of pillows on their floor. Thank goodness the chaperones don’t do room checks in the morning.

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