Jenny is a YouTube celebrity with thousands of followers. She’s also my roommate and spends most of her days in a ratty bathrobe, reading blogs and watching Fox News. She’s legit the best roommate I’ve ever had. She’s quiet, keeps the bathroom clean and pays her bills. Renting to her was the best decision I’ve made since my pixie-cut.
But Jenny hates me.
She’s thin and symmetrical and when not in her robe, wears flirty skirts and high-heeled sandals. I am definitely not thin and have a closet full of androgynous clothes that I wear to the gay bars. I spend my days as a social worker, helping people navigate the community and get back on their feet. I attend rallies and watch CNN, donate to the ACLU and consider myself a feminist. Jenny thinks feminism is destroying modern relationships.
When I interviewed her about renting the room, I didn’t think to ask her political affiliation, and I just assumed she’d be open-minded because of her job. Jenny is an actress. When she first moved in, she was an actress of the adult kind and told me right off the bat she would be making porn in her bedroom. My biggest concern upon hearing that was hoards of sleazy, manscaped men would be hanging around the apartment. She insisted she only did solo shows and paid me first, last and security. I thought she might come to the clubs with me and listen to my work-problems. I was wrong. She wanted nothing to do with The Rainbow Room and thought my “lazy clients were working the system.”
As for the porn, we never talked about it. Well, there was one time she offered to give me a makeover so I could film my own videos for the BBW crowd. I turned her down, after asking, exactly how much I would make. It wasn’t enough.
She would’ve kept going with the nudie shows, but one of her elite-level subscribers offered her a better gig. There was no conversation about her new job; I found her dildo in the trash and then she asked if I had any left-over poster board. I suspected she wasn’t preparing for a protest march, which was later confirmed when I saw the poster with “Snowflakes are Stupid” talking points in the recycling bin.
Jenny became a YouTube vlogger, spewing political messages and working her fans up about the stupidity of left-wing views. I worried she might not be able to pay the rent, but she assured me her new position was lucrative and steady, and no, it wasn’t a Russian but an American guy, old and white, that paid her.
Even harder to believe then the weekly direct deposit was that she actually thought men were being treated unfairly and immigrants were out to destroy America. Pretty much everything I believed was disputed in all-caps (with smiley faces for emphasis!) on those recycled boards. I formed articulate responses that I thought for sure would convince her to get a real job, or at the very least go back to the sex toys, but then she came home with a pineapple pizza to share, and we spent the night watching The Bachelor while drinking a bottle of Chianti.
I never saw her “adult” videos, except when she filmed herself in the kitchen boiling a lobster wearing a latex dress (her, not the lobster). Apparently, they paid for that shit. But curiosity got the best of me with the poster boards. It wasn’t hard to find her YouTube channel given I knew all the keywords, even though she posted under “Felicia.”
In her videos she’s made up like a pornstar with bouncy hair, angry words spouting from her glossy-lipped mouth. I was fascinated with her articulation and energy, her animated arguments. And I was fascinated with the people, mostly men, leaving comments of support. Not one or two, but hundreds of comments!
Thank God for women like her. Hurray for Felicia — she gets it! Why couldn’t there be more women like Felicia?
“BECAUSE SHE’S NOT REAL! She used to masturbate for cash–” I want to type. But I don’t, because she’d know it was me and I don’t to end up with a roommate who blasts heavy metal at 3 am.
There’s also an Instagram, which is mostly photos from a gun-toting fashion shoot. When I asked her if she owned a gun, she calmed my fears and told me she had an LTC, but the pictures were from a shooting range and was I cyber-stalking her? While I struggled to respond, she told me it was cool and that she was glad I was watching the videos and she was happy to share her views. That’s not at all what’s happening — is what I should’ve said. But what came out was, “It was just one time.”
I continued to watch her channel, and when I finally got up the courage to confront her about the Terrorists Among Us, she simply said, “I disagree,” and then offered to make pancakes for dinner and hell yes, I wanted pancakes! She didn’t even criticize how many pancakes I ate, despite having recently made an anti-fat-acceptance video. I like to think it was because she knew better than to mess with me and my kickboxing skills (every morning, 6 am), but maybe the Fatties Need a Fat Tax video was just an act.
Not all the discussion below her videos was positive. She got her share of comments about being a dumb blonde, selling out, having mosquito bites on her chest. She might be right-wing, but she’s still a woman. The worst part is she can’t delete the comments, the old white guy does. Sometimes it takes him days.
Her videos are very persuasive. She’d make a great lawyer or politician, which I don’t tell her. The world doesn’t need another straight, white politician or rapist-defending lawyer. If she believes her worth lies in her attractiveness, is it my place to tell her differently? Fuck, I know. It is. But I’m not going to.
Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite. I may not tell her about my hopes and dreams, and she hasn’t met my parents, but we are sharing a life. My friends with unshaved legs and Pride shirts wouldn’t understand, so they haven’t met her. They wouldn’t get that she scrubs the shower and replaces light bulbs, that she observes my boundaries. Like the time she asked if she could borrow my Pussy Hat and I said no. She could’ve just taken it, and I never would’ve known. Instead, she asked where I bought it, went on Etsy to buy her own and made Ugly Women in Ugly Pink Hats. She respects me.
I’ve considered starting my own channel, not topless BBW, but videos reiterating Jenny’s talking points to lure the fans in. Then like an evil villain I’d subtly suggest misogyny is bad for the country or sneak in my liberal agenda and get them all mixed up, ha ha ha! The world might not be ready for me in a push-up bra, though. And I’d have to pluck my eyebrows and wear lipstick, so I probably won’t do that.
I’ve even thought about sabotaging her: disconnecting the Internet or photoshopping images of her at a women’s rally. But old white guy would just find another pretty girl, and I’d have to kick Jenny out, resulting in a roommate that eats my Alphabits and leaves crumbs on the counter. At least Jenny cleans up after herself.
So she hates me. And I kind of hate her. But she kicks ass at living room Karaoke and made a duplicate house key when I lost mine. I might ask her to go halfsies on a futon.