Too noisy at this birthday brunch

Subpar Advice from the Sub-basement

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Illustration by Lauren Chapluk

Oh, the Noise writes:

So I’ve finally moved into my first apartment with a new friend from classes, and I’m having a kind of sensitive issue. My old roommates at University of Portland didn’t ever hook up with their significant others, but this one does. Regularly and loudly. We never really broached ground rules before moving in, so is it too late to say something now?

Heya Oh, the Noise,

It is a little past the expiration date if you didn’t hash it out in your roommate agreement, but if it’s making you uncomfortable then it’s time to say something. Be aware that your roommate might be a little touchy about it, but if you don’t say something this will fester inside of you like a spider laying eggs. And you don’t want to be the villain of a Stephen King novel, do you?

A more fun and slightly more passive aggressive option is to find out what kind of music your roommate can’t stand. And then when they start knocking boots, you turn that music up to whatever level they use when making love. Either it will break their concentration and force them to leave the room to ask you to turn it down, or they’ll realize that they’re super loud and maybe they’ll quiet down.

It’s hard to say because I don’t have enough info about the roommate, but sex is something of a private act for most people and it’s just going to be uncomfortable either way. You just have to decide how to set that uncomfortability on your terms.

Hearts and Stars,
Your Advice Guru

Less Amused Bouche writes:

So my parents are in town for my mother’s birthday and it’s great, except that the restaurant they want to try, well, the head chef is kind of my ex. And it’s a pretty small restaurant, so I know they’ll recognize my name (even my last name, if we reserve a table under my parents). The relationship itself wasn’t very long, but was very dynamic (in a bad way). My parents think I’m being silly, but I’m concerned that the chef might pull a Fight Club or something.

Heya Less Amused,

Ah. Well, I’m strongly inclined as an INFJ to believe that you should go with your gut. People who tend to not listen to their gut end up having bad things happen that were avoidable. If you know that the ex is “dynamic” and are worried about unsavory things in your cream of mushroom soup, be proactive about it. There’s a simple way to do so: Go to a different restaurant.

Unless this is a year in advance reservation place, there’s no reason you absolutely have to go there. Portland offers an amazing amount of similar palette profile locations. In a one-mile radius of my home are at least four different Thai restaurants, two Lebanese places, two Chinese places, a take-out Indian place and a place that specializes in prime rib.

Add to that the brick and mortar locations that have bars and great menus here? I’d be amazed if I spent my entire life here and tried every restaurant. I don’t even get out to the mac-and-cheese place I like as often as I want to.

Think of this as an opportunity to branch out. If you still have time, find a place or build up the excitement about mystery. Open Table is a great resource for this. Birthdays are special. Find out about a pop-up restaurant or something. You have the opportunity here to manifest your own destiny and give your parents a sense of childlike wonder. Why not use it?

Hearts and Stars,
Your Advice Guru

Maid of Dishonor writes:

I’m sure you get this question a lot, but I’m going to be maid of honor for my best friend and I really want to be excited. But the guy she’s marrying is not great. I want to be supportive, but there’s a lot of hesitation and things not being said when we get together to work on wedding stuff, or even just when we go out and he comes up. I’m also not alone in the bridal party in not liking the guy. Should I drop the world’s worst kept secret?

Heya Dishonor,

It seems like I do get bridesmaids’ questions more than any other type of wedding question, but I don’t mind answering them. Weddings are one of my favorite ritualized ceremonies of American culture (along with a good Halloween party and Christmas with the in-laws, if you like them). It’s the most expensive and exhausting party you’ll ever have, and the odds of spilling food on your white outfit? Astronomical.

Okay, so let’s talk about the toupéed elephant in the room. You’re not saying why, but people all seem to have a feeling about this guy. And it’s not a good feeling. Perhaps the bride is blind to it, or perhaps she doesn’t mind whatever the rest of you have a feeling about. The worst case scenario is that it’s abusive, but I’m hoping that’s not the case. Because that’s a whole different level of advice, and I don’t know that jumping to that conclusion is helpful.

Have you had a meeting with the bride? Just the bridesmaids? If not, that’s a great chance to have a killer brunch (there’s a place in town that does a fried chicken benedict you might love) and to have a heart-to-heart with the bride. This heart-to-heart doesn’t have to be accusatory or fearful. You’re her friend. It’s your job to be protective and critical, and yet allow her to make her own decision.

Weddings are stressful. They don’t bring out the best in everyone. That’s why a whole TV show was developed around them (Bridezillas, not Marriage Boot Camp). It may be that the groom is just super stressed. Post-wedding, you might grow to love him. But I don’t know. Start with the heart-to-heart, then go from there. If you need to intervene, you’ll know. Listen to your gut. Your gut is not wrong.

Hearts and Stars,
Your Advice Guru

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