Dear Ethel and Hyde,
We are yet another bunch of unfortunate second years faced with the issue of a flatmate's unsavoury boyfriend. He has ruined our relationship with our flatmate, who gave him a key without our (or the landlord’s) permission. We’ve asked for his key back twice, to no avail. He creates mess tension, and entire washing loads have been done just for his clothing. He has an incredible sense of entitlement in our space and has been outwardly disrespectful towards myself and my flatmates. We feel uncomfortable in our own home, but fear his girlfriend would feel uncomfortable here without him.
What are your views on the ethics around removing him from our space?
Yours with a dash of salt,
Ethically speaking, setting up and sticking to boundaries (e.g. no more than two nights a week at the house, only paying flatmates can do laundry, mess left in the communal areas for more than a day will be unceremoniously dumped in the person’s room, or outside if they don’t have their own room) around what is okay or not in your own house is the responsibility of all who are on the lease and paying for the flat. You can’t just eliminate an annoying boyfriend, but you can assert what is not okay if the person is still to be welcome in the house. With regards to the person having a key, they need to give it back. If they’re a student, you could ask for help from Campus Watch to encourage them along. The little you have said about your flatmate’s relationship raises questions around a power imbalance, and the team at the Student Support Centre are available to talk through things of this nature too.
Hairy Fartbum will relinquish his POWER, and you will regain SOVEREINTY.
Option 1. Behaviour adjustment through HATEFUL SOUNDS. Record a fork scraping against a plate (wear ear plugs) and make it your message tone. As Hairy Fartbum arrives, affix earplugs and begin messaging each other so he can hear the sound, stop for a bit, he puts down a cup or plate, message again, when he comes out of the bathroom, message sound, when he sits down, message sound, message sound, soon enough he will BE GONE.
Option 2. Organise a flat meeting at the local pub, leaving Hairy Fartbum at your home alone for an hour. One of you urgently leaves the meeting, called away, must go, back soon… Adorn classic DISGUISE of black bin bag suit, add pillows to your front, motor cycle helmet on head, slip the activated new sim into your phone. Stand at lounge window on box placed there earlier and call Fartbum using a voice change app from the unrecognizable number. Speak scarefully “We know who you are, we’re watching you, we need more like you for our experiments, brain and balls experiments, we will come for you tomorrow here, where you live, don’t try and hide…”
Ethel and Hyde is brought to you by the Student Support Centre. They advise you to take Ethel’s advice. Send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org