Big Hairy Deal


Dear Dharma,

I am currently living in a house-share whereby I have to share a bathroom with one roommate. This in itself isn’t a problem, however every day when I come to have a shower her hair is all over the bath.

I currently use the shower hose to rinse the bath before I get in, but it grosses me out, therefore I would like some advice on how to ask her to clean up after herself without offending her. Please. Thank you.

Hairy Mess

Dear Hairy Mess,

I’m shuddering right along with you… and the thing that freaks me out completely?  Hair on soap.  You can’t even rinse that nastiness away; it’s stuck right in there.  Bleeeeech.

Sorry.  Your problems, not mine.  Got it.

The thing is, you might not be able to get both of the things you want here, which is both a clean bath tub and an un-offended roommate.

Dharma sees this a lot – the desire to deliver sensitive information with zero risk of backlash.  It’s the famous ‘cake and eat it too’ scenario, right?

“How do I tell my boss he smells without offending him?”  “I want to leave my husband for his brother.  How do I do this without hurting him?”  “Can I tell my girlfriend the extra 20 lbs she’s carrying is a turn off without getting beaten to death?”

Any time you make people aware of their perceived short comings, you run the risk of offending them.  It’s just human nature and we could spend countless hours (and often do) trying to wish that simple fact away.

So the very most guaranteed way of not offending her is to not bring it up and keep rinsing the creepy hairs away yourself.

In the perfect world, no, you shouldn’t have to do this… yet by doing so, you will have accomplished getting what you want – an un-offended roommate and a hairless bathtub. The cost, however, is continuing to be completely grossed out on a regular basis.


If this continued course of action is unsatisfactory to you, no worries, Dharma always likes to have options.

First of all, understand that no matter what you say or how you say it, you can’t control if she gets offended.  However, we can certainly try to minimize the damage.

The key thing in approaching her is not to make it about her.  Make it about you even if it’s not entirely true.

“Harriet, can we talk for a second?  I’m so reluctant to bring this up because I just know you’re going to think I’m a nut bar, but I’m wondering if there’s any way I can get you to rinse the tub when you’re done in the shower.  I have this problem, I completely freak out around loose hair… I know, right?  Even when it’s my own hair, can you believe it?  I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Maybe I have chaetophobia. I’m so sorry to be such a pain.”

Obviously practice saying chaetophobia before using it, right?

I’m guessing if you can deliver this message with 100% angst-iness of how this is your problem and 0% judgement of her and her creepy hair, you might just come out the other side of this relatively unscathed.

Will you let me know how it goes?



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