Competition Between Women Hides Stressful Gender Role Expectations

Watching my Housemate Impersonate Herself in Real Time

Rivka Wolf
Fourth Wave


About a month ago, my housemate came home with plastic nails the length of her pinky finger. I thought that was awfully strange. My housemate is a Master’s student in an Art program. On her off hours, she works for a construction company. Why would she want to interfere with her ability to literally do her job?

Then the boy arrived.

He seems perfectly fine, as boys go. He held open the door for me without my asking or my wishing him to do that. He seems to live with his parents, so he is over at this house, our house, basically every chance he can get. This arrangement is far more thrilling for my housemate than it is for me.

Mostly, though, I am baffled. I am watching my previously responsible housemate do things I would never have expected her to do. She cooks before he gets here, then serves his food to him in bed. She arranges their dates while he slouches and tries to look suave. She seems to accept his ‘sleepovers with no shower’ modus operandi.

Somehow, I am jealous. Am I jealous of her? Am I jealous of him? Both.

I want the incomplete yet still more extensive attention I used to get from my housemate. I want…