Ask JT! Roommate Hell and Grindr Curiosity

Hey JT,

I have a roommate problem. Last month, my friend from college moved in with me. (We’re in our late 20’s now.) My last roommate moved out – we had moved in together but only I was on the lease. Since I had a room to fill, I asked my friend if he wanted to move in, and he jumped at the opportunity, since I have a nice place with a lot of room and relatively cheap rent.

Here’s the problem: without asking me, he moved in with basically every item he’s ever owned in his entire life, and spread it all over the apartment (including some furniture!). The place is kind of a mess now, and it looks like it’s more his apartment than mine now, because there’s just so much of HIM around, you know? I don’t want to sound petty, but that’s not what I had in mind.

What’s more, he constantly leaves dirty dishes in the sink, even though I repeatedly told him when he moved in that that’s my #1 pet peeve and it was really important to me that we keep the common areas clean at all times. Not sure how to handle this. Any advice?

Roommate from Hell

dishes1Here’s the good news, RFH. You have all the power in this situation, because you’re on the lease, and he’s not.

Here’s the bad news. This is your friend, so it may get kind of awkward.

You have every right to express your feelings, and if you don’t, they’ll get bottled up until you explode, so be proactive and start talking about things right away.

Find a time when you think the roomie will be able to talk, and tell him you just have a few house-related items you wanted to discuss. The key factor here is subtlety. I know some people will scoff and say that’s lame, that you should be aggressive and let him know exactly what’s what. If he was just a random roommate, I’d agree. But since he’s your friend, it’s all about nuance.

Living with friends is tough, and what makes a good friendship doesn’t necessarily make a good cohabitating relationship. But he’s in there with you now, and you don’t want to turn your friend out on the street because of a messy beginning – both literally and figuratively – to your time together.

So let him know that it’s totally fine for him to have his things, but that it is a lot more than you had expected when he moved in. You don’t want to be pushy, but you had your ideas for how you wanted to decorate, and you’d like him to scale it back a little. For whatever reason, he was under the impression you’d be fine with his things in the common space, even though that’s not the case. So you both can save face, chalk it up to a miscommunication.

When it comes to the dishes, however, that’s a different story. Remind him that the cleanliness of your kitchen is most definitely something the two of you had clearly discussed before he moved in, and in addition to it being a matter of respect, leaving dirty dishes can bring bugs.

People will tell you to put all of his dirty dishes on his bed, so he’ll remember and never do it again. That’s fine, if you want to ignite a war between the two of you that will never be resolved. Instead, you can do what I did when I had a similar problem in college.

Find a picture of a roach online, and then blow it up to the size of a regular piece of paper. Print it out. Then attach it to his door along with a note that says:

“I am the Roach King, Dread Lord of all he Surveys. I have heard tales of your bounty sung in great halls across the land, and have brought my legion to sample your wares. Yours is indeed a fine kingdom. And now it is mine, for alas, the Roach King takes what he chooses, when he chooses. Bow before me, and I may spare your life. Defy me, and know my wrath.”

Can you believe that roommate accused me of being over-dramatic?

Hi JT,

grindr1I am 23 and finally moved out of home, so I’m keen to start dating. I have had a brief four-month relationship with a guy earlier this year, but am now looking to date more seriously. I’ve never used Grindr before, and am unsure as to whether I should use it for dating. I live in a town with a population of 60,000, so not a huge amount of possibilities. Should I turn to Grindr, or should I try to meet people through another gay friend?


Keen to date!

Grindr? Really? No OK Cupid,, Zoosk, but right to Grindr?

Look, you’ll always hear anecdotal evidence about the relationship-forming powers of Grindr, but it’s there in the name – it’s a hook-up app. When people think of Grindr, they don’t picture meet-cutes and flowers. They picture other people’s taints, because that’s what’s on there.

If that’s what you’re in the mood for, then go for it (with protection at all times, of course). But if you’re really ready to start dating seriously, as you say, there are a ton of options you can take before going going down the dark, bodily-fluids-strewn path of the modern-day gay red light district. (Which I say with love.)

For one thing, there are the dating sites I mentioned above. They’re always a good option, and can lead to some great things. Or maybe the city nearest you has a gay and lesbian community center. Centers are great because they’re always looking for volunteers, which can be a very fun and social way to spend your time.

You can check out and find out if there are any groups for gay dudes with similar interests to you. And if there aren’t any groups, you can start one yourself.

Or, as you said, friends are a great way to meet new people. You just have to promise not to hold them accountable if it doesn’t work out.

Hey JT,

I’m a theater major and taking summer classes for credit. One of them is a stage combat class which I’m loving! I remember back when you were writing your dating column that you used to do stage combat for fun. I have a final presentation coming up and wanted to a cinematic fight scene (I love movie fight scenes!). Any suggestions?


Wow, great memory, F! I do in fact dabble in stage combat, and am something of an aficionado of movie fight scenes.

If you’re going for unarmed, a great movie to mine is, of course, The Matrix. Yes, you’ll have to modify the choreography to work around the wire-fu, but the beats in the grounded portions of the fight scenes are amazing. The best two fights are, of course, Neo vs. Morpheus and Neo vs. Smith, but there are a lot of other fights in there that you can pick and choose bits from.

I just watched those fights over again, and they remain a classic. It also made me nostalgic for the days before Bourne-esque shaky-cam fight scenes.

If you’re doing the ol’ tried and true dagger-and-rapier thing, take a look at this fight scene from Troy. It’s otherwise a bad movie – don’t get me started on the missed opportunity with Achilles and Patroclus – but the duel between Achilles (Brad Pitt) and Hector (Eric Bana) is pretty bananas. They use shields and spears in addition to swords, but they can all be modified to be done with daggers and rapiers.

Or, hell, if you have a wire team on standby, you can always do one of my favorite fights of the last 20 years, Mystique vs. Wolverine.

Hope that helps, Fisty!

To ask JT a question, email him at Or you can be super tech-sexy and ask via Twitter. Messages may be edited for space (but they’re totally more likely to get chosen if they’re three paragraphs or less. Just sayin’.)