'My flatmate won't keep her clothes on... what can I do?'

On this week's 'So You Think You're An Adult', one listener has an issue with her flatmate who is...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

22.13 18 Jun 2021

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'My flatmate won't keep her cl...

'My flatmate won't keep her clothes on... what can I do?'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

22.13 18 Jun 2021

Share this article

On this week's 'So You Think You're An Adult', one listener has an issue with her flatmate who is very free and confident with her body.

'My flatmate won't keep her clothes on... what can I do?'

00:00:00 / 00:00:00


The listener's problem

I'm a 36-year-old single woman living in an apartment in Dublin, which I own.

I recently took in a tenant to help with my mortgage repayments. She is much younger than me at 23.

I haven't had anyone living with me for a number of years so I'm struggling to get used to having another person in my home.

But she is very friendly and neat and tidy too. However, there is one thing that is really making me rather anxious.

She is very confident and free with her body, which I know is probably a good thing but I just can't get used to it.

She regularly parades around the apartment in next to nothing, especially during the recent sunny spell.

When she goes from the bathroom to her bedroom after a shower she only ties the towel around her lower half, which I find just bizarre.

She doesn't wear a bra either which I found mortifying when my Dad visited last weekend.

I honestly hate to be a prude but I feel uncomfortable, and yet at the same time I am reluctant to say anything and cause a rift between us. Please help.

Barbara Scully's advice

"I know I'm not alone, but for the last months I haven't worn a bra - and it has been a glorious, glorious freedom.

"I do not need to wear a bra for support, but following social conventions - such as this woman points out - I have always worn a bra.

"Except I got locked down and I thought 'What's the point malarkey anymore?' and I didn't.

"And since we've started to slowly come back to normal I have dilemma: I don't want to put a bra on.

"But yet, I'm conscious of somebody being offended by the possibility that my nipples might be showing through a t-shirt.

"Why are people offended by women's nipples that's what I want to know?

"I do feel like if you're going into somewhere that you think 'Maybe it's a bit bad mannered or a bit off if I go in and I don't wear a bra', even though I've no tits but I have nipples.

"I want to know what the problem is with that.

"When I was a teenager there was no problem going around without a bra.

"When you went on holidays you'd sunbathe topless all the time, there was no issue about it.

"But suddenly we seem to have become ridiculously prudish about women's nipples, and it drives me absolutely insane.

"I think it's great that your woman is body confident.

"I was a bit put out by her description of your woman 'parading herself around' - like she's walking around, showing off - she's not, she's in her own home.

"I'm not sure if this woman is a prude, but she's clearly very uncomfortable.

"Having said that it is her house, and if there's something happening that's making her uncomfortable I guess she's entitled to say something.

"But I think that would be foolish, because I think it's terrific that the tenant is free and easy and comfortable in her own skin.

"The vast majority of women are not - and I think, in one way, this woman who owns the house should be kind of flattered that her tenant feels so comfortable.

"So I really think this woman hasn't got a problem, except by kind of checking herself as to what is her issue with it.

"There shouldn't be any issue with it at all".

Declan Buckley's advice

"It's all about whether a certain part of a woman's body can cause 'offence' to people.

"It's all about the kind of 'That part of your body is sexualised and therefore it's scandal if you show it'.

"In some places, it's considered the height of fashion to just have no bra on.

"It's her home - if it was a cultural thing, or whatever it is, you want your home to be a safe space and that's entirely appropriate.

"But if you're sharing your space with somebody else who has a different perspective, especially if you're making them pay for the privilege, you do have to have a discussion about it.

"That's a weird conversation to be having - particularly if your statements are going to be stuff like 'When my Dad comes around, I feel uncomfortable about your body when my Dad is here.

"It also puts a weird responsibility on the woman who possibly doesn't know how to put a towel on.

"Even if her Dad gets the glad eye off it, that's her Dad's business - it's not the daughter's business [and] it's certainly not the person whose body becomes the focus of attention.

"It's not this tenants job to walk around policing her body, in case it affects something in the environment.

"But do I think everybody needs to be sensitive about how other people perceive the situation.

"Railroading your body positivity into a situation is as open to discomfort".

Main image by Claudio_Scott from Pixabay 

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