Tab Bristol Agony Aunt: Episode 1

Rolfe’s Remedies

Before we begin, a large thank you to those who have written in, and to those who may do in the future. It takes guts, so well done. Keep ’em coming!


Writer 1:

I’ve just had broadband set up in my house after a month without since I moved in; as soon as it was set up I made myself comfortable (you can see where this is going) and to my horror I found that porn is blocked. I felt like, and still do feel like crying. My housemate is in charge of the account and I don’t quite know how to ask her to remove the block…


To my first query: you write to me regarding troubles with broadband and how this can hinder you from making yourself ‘comfortable’. This is obviously a little bit of a dilemma and I can hear many lads in Bristol giving you a consoling hug. The thing is, and the way I see things, you are left really with two options. First, you grow some gonads and just ask your housemate. This may be difficult but the conversation will go one of two ways. The thing is, whilst it may be an embarrassing thing to ask, your housemate isn’t stupid, she will certainly know that the chaps in her house will be in need of a little self-TLC from time to time. With that in mind, you asking her straight out may not come as a surprise at all.

If however, this more direct approach is not the way you wish to roll, then the second I feel may be a disappointment for you. If your housemate is uncomfortable about removing the block and/or you can’t muster the courage to ask her to remove it, then this leaves you in a bit of a sticky (no pun intended) situation. You can’t physically force her to remove it and so if she is adamant to keep it there, then you may be forced to improvise. However you do this is entirely up to you – I’ll let you take control of that one.

So, I feel that your main option is to ask your housemate straight out. If you are really too embarrassed, then maybe pull the card that you want to stream a film (a normal one) and can’t because there is a block. Of course this is a little devious but you have still spoken to your flatmate and have let them know that there is a problem. As with many situations, I feel it is best just to talk to the person in question – if you don’t ask, you don’t get.


Writer 2:

I live in a house of 5 and 2 of our flatmates have now become an item. There’s not that many of us in the house so things have got a bit weird. I thought that living together in 3rd year with a perfect group of specially selected friends was going to be so easy but now its all ruined. How should I approach the situation?


To my second kindly caller.

Firstly, breathe! Let’s not jump to conclusions as I am sure your plans for this year’s house are not ‘ruined’.

This is of course a situation that many worry about. It is lovely when flatmates or best friends ‘become more’, however, as you are highlighting, it can leave everyone else feeling a little strange. To be perfectly honest, you will be having the best situation at the moment; whilst it will be taking you time to adjust to the new dynamic, they will be happy with each other – the side you really want to avoid is if they break up as that has the potential to get messy.

Even if you are a little irritated about their blossoming relationship, there is not an awful lot you and the rest of your house can do. My advice to you is to embrace it with open arms, try and be as natural around them as you can be. Depending on your relationship with them, maybe crack a few jokes (as long as they are not wildly inappropriate and borderline offensive). If you get the balance right, you will be able to make light of the situation, and hopefully alleviate any pending awkwardness. After a time, the whole situation will be normalised and both you and they will be feeling more at ease and it will no longer be an issue in anyone’s eyes. Just, whatever you do, don’t make them feel awkward or embarrassed about what is going on – this will only end in the house dynamic being divided further, and in worst case scenario, completely shattered.

A budding romance is a beautiful thing, just give it a little time to settle, test the waters with a few normalising comments, and see how you get on. Do get back in touch and let us know.


Question 3:

I desperately want to turn on the heating in my house but my stingy housemates won’t let me. I’m a slim fellow and I’ve got a cold which won’t go away. Showering is almost impossible and I have to wear a jumper to bed!  Most of the other people in my 8 person house have got a bit more meat on their bones and so obviously don’t mind that much! They say they want to wait till mid-November but I need it now!


Finally, to my chilly friend. Mid-November is nearly upon us and so to avoid any further tensions, maybe just stick it out until then. The way that I have coped in the past (and still do, it is my preferred method of warmth) is to purchase a hot water bottle. These fellows may seem a little dated and perhaps slightly 1950s, but they are incredible. If your housemates are determined to continue avoiding the heating bill, then with a hot water bottle strapped to your chest, the cold will no longer be your foe. Alongside the hot water bottle, the best cure for a chilly house: jumpers. If you are in the house and it’s like a fridge, layer up. Yes, you may resemble the Michelin Man, but you will be warm my friend, believe me.

For the shower situation, I would suggest taking two towels in with you: one for your body and then one to wrap around that. It may seem a little excessive but if this is a genuine problem, then it will take off the edge and remove that extra nip of cold. Follow these steps until your friends decide that the time is right and relieve you from your chilly torment.

Either that, or go straight up to them and demand that the heating is put on, even if only slightly. Maybe suggest that it will be better for the house? If living in an old house, the cold isn’t great for it and without a little warmth, it can easily become victim to a dose of damp. If you have never experienced a damp house, it’s not great and puts everyone in a bad mood, especially your landlord.

If this all fails and push comes to shove, perhaps suggest that for the first month, you pay a little more of the bill. If everyone else is adamant not put the heating on yet you are continuing to die from hypothermia, then this will be an offer they surely cannot refuse. I feel this last suggestion may work, however I personally feel is a bit of an extremity. My advice to you my friend, would be stick it out until November, let the first week go by, purchase a hot water bottle (even if you have heating, it’s always a great thing to have near you at all times) and then return to the subject with your house. Explain that you have tried to live in the fridge, but a deal’s a deal and the time has come to warm up. Perhaps for extra emphasis, reveal the icicles which have been forming at the end of your fingers and nose over the last few weeks.

Good luck!