SWelcome to Friendzone, Jezebel's column devoted to dealing with the valuable people in your life. Got an issue and looking for guidance? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
My roommate and supposed new "friend" went through my stuff! She owns the house in which I rent a room. She didn't tell me she was a recovering alcoholic until I had already signed a short-term lease. This information would have certainly influenced my decision to live here as I grew up in a pretty rough addiction environment. She sprung this on me the day I moved in. And then she announced that none of the roommates was allowed to have alcohol in the house. She's very sweet, so I figured I'd just go with it. But yesterday, she admitted to me that she had gone through my things in the bathroom to ferret out the type of prescriptions I have. She asked me to hide my painkillers because she's an addict, you see, and can't have triggering things in her environment like this. Should I break my lease (I can do it without penalty) and move out?
GTFO of that house immediately! She violated your trust by going through your stuff. Her reasons for doing so don't really matter to me. That is creepy. Is she also going through your sock drawer to check for teensy weensy packets of cocaine? Does she sniff your shoes to determine whether you've been dipping your toes in meth? (Does meth smell like anything? I have no idea.)
Look, I'm not concerned that she didn't immediately reveal that she's in recovery. That's pretty private stuff – I mean, it's called Alcoholics Anonymous for a reason, right? What bothers me is that she a.) announced a pretty big house rule after you'd already signed a lease and given her money and b.) went through your shit!
Put an action plan in place with the help of friends/family. Pack your thangs. Tell this chick you're moving out, and tell her exactly why. Then high-tail it the fuck out of there.
I have a friend who doesn't want to swim (understandable) and isn't allowed to pray or participate in religious ceremonies (not understandable) while she is on her period. Does this seem fair to you? Because coming from a guy, it doesn't to me.
Well, does it seem fair to your friend? That's what really matters, after all. If she's cool with it and it doesn't bother her in any way, I'd let it ride. But if she feels anxiety or stress about it, you might open a dialogue with her and ask about the origins of said rule. Is it some kind of punishment for being "unclean," or is it some sort of sacred honoring of her lady-parts? Like, "Hey lady, you're bleeding out your gi-gi, why not put up your feet, drink some tea, and chill out for once?" Because that would definitely be a part of any religion I invented.
Anyway, learning about the reason behind the rule might help you to understand it better. You can also do your own research, of course, if you think such a conversation might embarrass your friend. However you proceed, remember that she has the right to practice religion as she sees fit, so long as she doesn't harm anyone else in the process. As her friend, your most important job is to encourage her happiness.
I have some deep-seated issues with the Catholic Church and, really, Christianity in general. I went to a Catholic high school, where the nuns were terrifying and taught us girls to hate ourselves for being female, and preached that God created women only to bear children. My wonderful boyfriend of two years has a number of very close childhood friends that are deeply Christian. My attitude towards these friends of his, as well as their partners and children, has been very cold over the past few years because of my prejudice towards their religion. I can't seem to just flip a switch and get over the experiences that scarred me in the past. I know those experiences aren't representative of the attitudes vast majority of Christians, but I just can't seem get over it. Am I a monster? Any advice?
You are absolutely not a monster! I completely understand your residual anger and resentment with regard to religion. You were traumatized by mean people who taught you to hate yourself. Why on earth would you want anything to do with religious folks?
Here's the thing, though: those nuns don't have a monopoly on Truth, any more than the Taliban or the hippies at your local drum circle or the Dalai Lama or the guy at your grocery check-out line or your mom or me. You get to make up your own life philosophy. Isn't that great?
First, let's deal with your understandable religious PTSD. As a fellow recovering Catholic, I'd advise you to check out some sects that are generally more lady-friendly than the One Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church. This is NOT because I want you to be a Christian! This is simply an educational endeavor. For example, those Unitarians got it goin' on. I've also attended some lovely lady-led services with them Presbyterian types. And if we're talking Catholics, there are some badass renegades out there – the power of Google will bring you to them. And the list goes on and on.
My point is that there are many Christianities out there, just as there are many Judaisms, Buddhisms, etc. You might even say there are as many Christianities as there are Christians, since each individual has her or her own take on the teachings, rituals and customs. Seeing the diversity of Christian experience might make you feel a little less freaked out when you hear of someone going to Bible study or joining the church choir or whatever.
Now as for this business with your boyfriend's friends and their kids – it's important to treat each individual as more than just his job or her hobby or his religious affiliation or her favorite brand of ketchup. For example, I am a Sicilian-Italian-Irish-English-Scottish-American who was raised Catholic, writes and tells jokes for a living, lives in Los Angeles, has brown hair, and hates lunchmeat. I am also a feminist and a Democrat and a fan of Blue Collar Comedy Tour member Ron White and a dog AND cat person. I saw one episode of "Arrested Development" and wasn't really into it, but I'm willing to give it another couple of tries. I love "Master Chef" and "Hannibal." I don't like the opening to Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods." Any one of these characteristics, taken out of context, might make you despise me. But a different characteristic, again taken out of context, might make you adore me.
Try giving your boyfriend's pals a shot. Talk to them about things that interest you. You might find out you've got a common fondness for figure skating (this happened to Grace and Jack on "Will and Grace" and it was a beautiful thing). You might discover a mutual love of turtle sex videos on YouTube. I have a feeling you'll find a way to bond with at least one of his buddies and that you'll soon feel more comfortable around these folks.