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1978-The Michigan Daily
The University was founded in
1817 and it can claim overr
240,000 living degree holders-
more than any other U.S. univer-
sity. Who really cares?
Undoubtedly you've already ac-'
cumulated quite a few facts about
the University. But the facts don't
always tell the whole story. In Af-
ter the Fact our writers bring you
a more personal account of sub-
jects uniquely familiar to college
students such as learning how to
live with roommates and cutting
those parental apron strings. We
hope the ideas presented in this
section will help you adjust to the
'U' when you get here and are con-
fronted with more facts than
before. Keppler's Laws. Avogar-
do's number. The Dreyfuss Affair.
SASS. 648 -
Roommates: Often odd couples
By M. EILEEN DALEY
I've had five so far. My roommates
have ranged from a sex fiend to a
vegetarian. I've roomed blind, I've
lived with my best friend, and have
come to the conclusion that coping with
roommates is as much a part of the
University experience as dorm food
and tuition assessments.
I met my first roommate shortly af-
ter I graduated from high school in
December 1975. We lived in room 213,
I'VE BEEN IN closets bigger than
that room - not that I hang around in'
closets, but the place was tiny. The
floor was a cold, filmy green. The walls
were a bright hospital white, and the
curtains were puke-provoking - fat
horizontal stripes of blue, purple and
white. Bill Blass would cringe.
When I arrived on campus my
roommate, whoever she was, had not
returned from winter break yet. Her
name, according to Carrie down the
hall, was Sue. Carrie told me Sue was
quiet and liked to study a lot. Cathy,
who lived next door, told me Sue was
outgoing and liked to party a lot. While
unpacking, I discovered four bottles of
vodka in the closet and I figured Cathy
One thing bothered me. I was told Sue
didn't know she would have a room-
mate when she returned from vacation.
Terrific, I thought. Here she's had this
pencil box sized room to herself all
year, and now she's going to find her-.
self sharing it with me. Surprise, sur-
prise. Boy, was she going to be thrilled
to meet me.
BUT SUE WAS delighted to have a
roommate, and we quickly became
close friends and ideal roommates. We
liked the same things, and there were
no personality conflicts as she was
strong in my weaker areas and vice-
versa. Most importantly, we had the
same taste and could wear each other's
Many roommates suffer from what I
call the Odd Couple Syndrome - one is
messy, and one is neat. Sue and I didn't
have that problem because we went on
messy/neat binges at the same time.
The first term we lived together our
Newberry cubicle was immaculate.
There was never any dust. Our beds
were always made, and shoes were
neatly lined up in the closet. A year
later was a different story. Though you
couldn't say we were sloppy, clothes did
have a tendency to pile up on the floor,
and I don't remember making my bed
more than twice.
THE REASON behind the change is
simple. When we first lived together,
we didn't know each other very well
and neither wanted the other to think
she was a slob. But after rooming
Daily Photoyby JOHN KNOX'
Dorm life and roommate friendships begin with an empty room.
together a term, we knew the truth and
it didn't matter.
However, maintaining some stan-
dard of cleanliness and order is not the
only problem college roommates face.
There are often times when one room-
mate will want private use of the place
and roommates have a way of devising
tactful systems to let their roomie know
when to get lost.
Barb and Laurie, two women I knew
during my first year here, had a
technique that never failed. If Barb had
a visitor who was going to stay until,
say, 11 p.m., she would leave the
following note on the door:
Your T. A. called (the clue for Laurie to
beat it), and willcall back at 11p. m.
It is not advisable, however, to let
others know what your system is, as my
friend Paul learned.
THE MEN ON Paul's floor at
Washington University had what they
smugly considered the ultimate
method. A short piece of tape on the
door meant to go- study in the lounge a
few hours. A long piece of tape meant to
spend the night in the lounge.
One night, while everyone was at din-
ner, someone slapped a long piece of
tape on every door. One by one, the men
OUR SHOES HAVE BEEN RUNNING AROUND
COLLEGE CAMPUSES FOR GENERATIONS,
SO WE KNOW WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT.
on the floor discovered their taped
doors and filtered down to the lounge.
The lounge was somewhat crowded, un-
til a few of Paul's brighter hallmates
realized their roommates were there in
the lounge with them.
Although rooming with Sue that win-
ter term was terrific, we didn't live
together fall term, for I had committed
myself seven years previously to room
with my best friend from home.
' Like the old adages, "A stitch in time
saves nine," and "Don't count your
chickens before they're hatched," the
phrase "Don't room with your best
friend" is quite familiar. Knowing what
a bizarre individual my best friend is, I
should have listened.
TO HER PARENTS, my best friend
is their bright, well-mannered youngest
daughter. To others who know her -
either personally or by reputation --
she is better known as "Perv", the.
residpnt sexmonger of Helen
In sixth grade, Carol and I decided to
be roommates at the University of
Michigan. I was confident that rooming
with Carol would be great. She always
had an extremely perverse sense of
humor and since seventh grade, when
she pointed out the double entendre of
"She'll be Coming 'Round the Moun-
tain," I've been amused by it.
After a few months at school, Carol's
libido went wild, and she transformed
from someone mildly obsessed with sex
to a full blown erotopath.
GROSS PLAYGIRL pinups were soon
smattered all over our room, along with
a chart detailing how many calories
various sexual acts burn up. A colorful
embroidered sampler which said
"Home - a place to lay my head and a
few intimate friends," hung above her
bed. It wasn't long before she became
known as "Perv" to everyone on our
At an early October football game,
amid West Quad cries of "South Quad
sucks!" someone shouted out "Carol
sucks!" Immediately she jumped onto
the bench, shook her fist, and shouted,
"You're damn right I do!" Our phone
didn't stop ringing for weeks after that.
She was inspired by the West Quad-
South Quad cursing however, and she
thought it would be quaint if Newberry
and Barbour followed their example of
One night she yelled "Barbour
sucks!" out a bathroom window. Bar-
bour women responded to her taunts
and the badgering went on for weeks,
until after a women's studies class, she
decided it would be more effective to
yell "Barbour can't suck!"
THE BARlBS continued for some time
and many residents, who had been fer-
vently trying to study, were angry.
Complaints reached the building direc-
tor, who was slumming it for the day by
eating in the Barbour-Newberry
cafeteria with RDs and RAs from both
establishments. The building director
was appalled to learn of the previous
night's activities, and he wanted t
know the instigator's identity. Our RD,
Gail, later told us she had tried
desperately to defend Carol's character
but the building director was not con-
vinced and demanded that the trollop
be pointed out. Reluctantly, Gail nod-
ded toward Carol, who was bopping
across the cafeteria in a t-shirt
proclaiming "A hard man is good to
find." The building director has since
threatened to cancel her lease.
The last straw was when "Per" tur
ned our room into an erotic art gallery.
In addition to her pin-ups, the light
switch plate was replaced by a painting
of a lecherous overweight flasher done
in pale blue and green water colors.
Fleshy paper mache sculptures were
everywhere. Most notable among them
was a four-foot replica of the male
anatomy which she sometimes used as
a hobby horse to ride to dinner.
I had had it - there was no way J
could ever let my parents visit me, and
it was impossible to have a date ove
without him suspecting the place was a
campus branch of the Velvet Touch.
BUT I didn't expect her to change the
decor because I didn't like it, and she
wouldn't have anyway, so in January, 1
moved back with Sue. No bitter feelings
were involved, and we are closer
friends than we've ever been.
The following fall, Sue moved intoa
sorority house and I moved into a
apartment with Debbie, a vegetariar
I'd met first year.
Our apartment life was, in a word
casual. We were seldom home at the
same time, so we didn't have a schedu
for doing household chores and w
never cooked together. In fact, we stop.
ped grocery shopping in October. In.
stead, we ate out. Once in March
opened the refrigerator and its contents
were pathetic: a bottle of ketchup, tw
bottles of Italian salad dressing and ar
open box of Arm and Hammer bakin
EVEN THOUGH I have been for
tunate as far as roommates are concer
ned, the horror stories of incompatibl
roommates are all-too-often true at th
University. There are numerous case
of roommates who hate each other s
much they just want to pinch or punc
each other whenever they are forced t
be together. Consider my friend Wor
thington who roomed blind last yea
and absolutely hated his roommate'
Worthington, or .$wampy as he i
known,, was on Carol's and my debat
team in high school. He is a very nice
very serious person. When he came;;t~
the University, Swampy was very con
cerned with his studies and had hope
to be assigned a roommate much like
himself. He got just the opposite.
His roommate was a huge, less-than
intelligent athletic fellow who wa
primarily interested in sports, drug~
and blasting out windows with hi
stereo. His first words to Swampy were
"You take the top bunk." Incensed
Swampy glared at the hulking, tank
like figure. "Okey-doke," he sai
cheerfully, tossing up his bedroll.
SWAMPY'S roommate was in
women, soto speak. One night Swamp
arrived home at midnight the nighy
before his roommate had a big pape
due. The room looked likean asembIl
line. One woman was writing the paper
another was correcting it, another w
typing it and another was "attending t
the needs" of Swampy's roommate.
Eventually, Swampy got fed up, an
requested a room change. He was to
he'd have to wait until a space opena
The next few months were almost un
bearable for Swampy. His roommat
never turned off the stereo and he was
constantly entertaining friends into th
wee hours of the morning. Poor Swam
py was never invited to join thei-
IN DECEMBER, Swampy got th
good news that he could move int
another room down the hall. A few
nights before he was to move, Swamp
was wakened out of a sound sleep by hi
roommate and a friend who were in
specting a bag of something or other.
"Hey, man, do you think it's rain
"I dunno. It's got specks in it."
"Hey, who's the guy in the bed?"
"Where? Oh, that's my roommate
Worthington ... I guess he's alright."
Swampy hated him anyway.
M. Eileen Daley is a Daily manr
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