DEAR ABBY: I am a college freshman with a roommate problem. Her name is "Sheryl." (From what my friends say, my problem is not unique.)
Sheryl and her boyfriend, "Steve," are very affectionate. They're not shy about displaying their affection for each other in front of me.
The tiny dorm room I share with Sheryl is where I sleep and study, but I am constantly distracted by the sounds of their loud make-out sessions, and their mushy baby talk makes me want to gag! Whether I'm writing an essay, talking on the phone or e-mailing, Steve and Sheryl can usually be found on the next bed kissing and carrying on as though I don't exist. No matter how many hints I drop, Sheryl seems clueless about what a problem her behavior is for me.
I may not be the perfect roommate, but I try to be quiet and considerate when Sheryl is trying to study. And I don't call my boyfriend sickening names when someone else is around.
For the sake of aggravated roomies everywhere, what can be done? -- ANNOYED IN SANTA CRUZ, CALIF.
DEAR ANNOYED: Stop hinting and speak clearly. When people think they're in love, they sometimes tend to tune out the obvious. If you need to study and your roommate's amorous activities are distracting, tell her and her boyfriend they'll have to knock it off or find someplace else to indulge. And don't feel defensive about it. The primary purpose of college is to study and to graduate.
If that doesn't work, apply for a change in roommates -- preferably one with similar goals as yours.