Dear Kitty Winn,
I am in a terrible fix. As the full time Resident Assistant of my college’s International Dorm I run into many odd but entertaining problems day and night. From Latin Boy Makeout Parties to language barriers, the work never ends and the laughs never cease.
I am having a bit of a problem with the Spanish speaking boys whom I refer to (in my head of course) as Team Don Juan. They seem to wish to dance the ‘merengue’ at the oddest times in the night, blasting their latin beats to a truly earshattering level. I have spoken to them in English, and am considering Spanish, as they nod and make hand motions symbolizing that they understand my displeasure but do not turn down the music.
The ‘Freedom Assistant’ lives below the fellow with the most merengue in his blood and suffers enormously from not only merengue but also the incessant repetition of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Start Me Up’. She claims to have not slept in 26 days and refuses to make croissants for us until this is solved.
As I detest being a nasty spoilsport, I don’t want to start handing out noise violations like tacos on Mexican Appreciation Day. Please advise me on how to turn down their mojo and music in a UN friendly manner.
-Madre de Dormatorio
Merenguistadors are a sensitive lot, eh? You are quite right to tread carefully with hot-blooded Latin types. You never know when you’ll find yourself in the middle of a circle, tied at the wrist, defending your life with naught but a switchblade. How are your knife-fighting skills? Start practicing with a letter opener, and work your way up. Kitty personally always keeps a diamond-tipped nail file for just such an occasion as a brush with a recalcitrant foreigner.
If only your young charges were Italian! Then you could solve your issues with the international language: love. Even the cruelest beast understands a batted eye, a flash of ankle. Try wearing more revealing clothing. A push-up bra is a girl’s best friend.
Other than that, the real secret to communication with other cultures is to speak as loudly as possible, in English. Try speaking as slowly as possible too. You don’t want them to miss a thing!
Failing that, hand out the bleeding notices! After all, you were hired for a position which includes being a disciplinarian, or is it one of those permissive hippie colleges that you go to? There’s nothing quite like good old fashioned American intimidation. Ask yourself “What would John Ashcroft do?” For instance, do they know they can’t be deported just for playing music too loud? Of course there are other stop gaps, such as introducing them to better music than Las Ketchup, or sabotaging their stereo equipment, but ultimately you must rule with an iron fist. Tell them they have 15 minutes to comply, or you’re going to form a coalition and go in and do it for them. Of course the French chickadee won’t be into that, but she’ll benefit in the end! Culture should not be a factor in your decision. This is a problem of authority. If you are uncomfortable enforcing yours, surely you have a supervisor who could assist? Doing one’s job never involves being a nasty spoilsport, unless one is a vivisectionist or a secret death squad member.
Now tell me, do the Latin boys make out with each other? Because that would be muy caliente.
Feel free to send photos,