More adventures in Roommate Wanted ad replies

I mention in my Roommate Wanted as that I consider myself to be a nerd.

I mention this because nerds are my peeps. They are the people with whom I am most likely to socialize and also have fun doing it.

So I get a reply yesterday that says this:

do nerds like their cock sucked

Setting aside the lack of capitalization and punctuation, this reply brings up the same point I’ve made again and again since I started this process:

What kind of loser uses Roommate Wanted ads to troll for sexual partners? Have I been transported back to a time when online dating sites and apps did not exist?

Crazy how often this happens.

Influencers who status seek with an insulated water bottle

More evidence of how deeply effed-up some corners of our society are: status-seeking with a large plastic insulated drinking bottle:

Stanley, a century-old brand that you might associate with Grandpa’s camping gear, reports the waiting list for its 40-ounce drinking vessel peaked at 150,000 customers earlier this year after millennial women with large social-media followings helped repopularize it. Sales this year are up 275%, compared with last year, the company says, a figure that doesn’t count resales on websites like Poshmark.

Rhonda Jarrar, Google’s head of talent-outreach partnerships in North America, says Instagram led her to covet a sold-out Quencher. But she couldn’t bring herself to spend the $100-plus commanded by people trying to flip theirs for a profit. She waited for a restock, pounced on one at face value and now relishes the admiring banter that ensues when she takes a sip on video calls.

“I’m fully remote, so sadly I don’t get the chance to status-signal to co-workers” in person, she says.

The notion of a status water bottle, laughable just a few years ago, is a product of the new work order.

Many traditional markers of style and success—think designer handbags and Swiss watches—are either off-camera during Zoom meetings or seem overly dressy in offices that are more laid-back than before the pandemic.

What’s the point of buying Italian-wool trousers if denim is the new uniform, or an $800 pair of heels if you aren’t going to strut onto the company elevator and savor envious glances?

I’ve had a lot of fashion-conscious people in my orbit over the years, and they break mostly into two camps:

  1. People who are genuinely fashionable and generally wow you with aesthetics which show how much they cherish well-made designer clothes (and other purchases) that bring them joy to wear and own.
  2. People who are hangers-on (we now call them influencers) who buy things because they think it gives them status. They are often terrible dressers and have minimal design sense themselves. They purchase things because the Kardashian told them to.

It’s not reassuring that Google’s head of talent-outreach partnerships in North America is such a poseur she falls into the first category.

As far as the Stanley water bottle goes, every one of them shown in the WSJ article quoted above has what I consider the death knell for an insulated drink container: a plastic straw. Or, rather, what ends up being a pathogen-encrusted mess unless you buy a special brush to clean it regularly.

For my money, if you want a super sturdy stylish insulated drink container that is also efficient at keeping things hot and cold, buy Takeya sports bottles at this link. They require a little loving care in terms of upkeep on the removeable/washable rubber O-rings in the lid (you can buy replacements), but it’s minimal. This thing does not spill or break no matter if you drop it or carry it all day laying on its side in a backpack or briefcase. You will still have ice at the end of the day.

I discovered Takeya this summer for my iced coffee, and I will never, ever use anything else.

Takeya insulated bottles are better than Stanley in every way.

More adventures in roommate searching on Craigslist

I had a guy last night contact me via the Craigslist ad. He helpfully gave me a full name and a phone number, which was enough to run a simple background check on him.

His criminal record — each line represents a separate offense — includes:

  • Harassment 1st Degree/Probation Violation
  • Petty Theft ($100 or less)
  • Disorderly Conduct/Battery
  • Criminal Mischief/Domestic Abuse/Assault
  • Harrassment 1st Degree
  • Harassment 1st Degree
  • Prostitution
  • Assault on a Peace Officer
  • Stalking (2nd Offense)
  • Theft (5th Degree)
  • Theft (5th Degree)
  • Interference w/Official Acts
  • Harassment (3rd Degree)
  • Simple Assault
  • Theft (5th Degree)
  • Domestic Abuse Assault
  • Criminal Mischief 5th Degree
  • Assault
  • Theft (5th Degree)
  • Theft (5th Degree)
  • Assault
  • Theft (4th Degree)
  • Stalking
  • Assault
  • Harassment (2nd Degree)
  • Robbery (2nd Degree)
  • Violation of Parole
  • Disseminate Obscene Material to A Minor
  • Assault
  • Theft 5th Degree
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Domestic Abuse Assault
  • Stalking

He’s big on theft, sometimes getting charged twice within as many months. He’s also a repeat Stalking offender.

Perfect roommate material!

How is this guy out walking around? He’s obviously not a candidate for rehabilitation.

I will never, ever do anything off Craigslist again without having a way to look up the person with whom I am dealing.

No wonder so many people gets scammed/attacked/robbed/etc off Craigslist!

You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Or perhaps that was the Cantina in Mos Eisley spaceport.

Whatever, it still applies.

Members of the Craigslist Roommate Ad Responders Club getting ready for their monthly meeting where they recount stories of moving in with unsuspecting roommates they scam and then kill.

More adventures in adult roommate searching

When people reply to Roommate Wanted ads, it’s both amusing and disconcerting how little information they provide in their replies.

Usually these come in the form of the single-word question:


Of course it’s available. Why would the ad still be posted if it’s not available? I block these people because if they are this clueless when responding to a roommate ad, they are most likely clueless and annoying in everyday life.

Then there are the people who do some other single word. This is from another person last weekend:


What does that mean? Do I have pets? The ad states I have a dog, so let’s cut this person some slack and assume they are asking if I take other pets.

What kind? How many? How big is the pet? Is it potty-trained?

Again, another person too clueless to consider.

Then, on another issue, I received the fifth one of these:

Couples welcome?

Dude. It’s a 1,000 sq. ft. house. Look at the pictures. Does it look as if I’d have three people unless I was forced to do so because they are family?

Also, I just think it’s weird that, between two grown adults — a couple, no less — one of you can’t manage to be approved for your own lease. What is it about the two of you that neither of you can get approved for an apartment of your own?

Last weekend as I was lying in bed thinking about this roommate search — which is what I think about when I wake up and when I go to bed — I wondered, “Am I being too picky? Too paranoid? Are there too many things I consider red flags that make me reject someone outright?”

Then, yesterday, I took the plunge. I did some research on online background check services. I decided to sign-up for one for a monthly fee which you can cancel any time.

Then I ran a check on some of the people I’ve rejected whose answer (or answers) to a question set off my creep/deadbeat/crazy radar.

Man, oh man, have I dodged some bullets. There are some real con artists in my city looking for unsuspecting marks.

More on that later. I have to walk the dog and get ready for work.

Roommate search hell for today

Craigslist is at least consistent in the entirely inappropriate replies you get from potential roommates.

This email came under the subject line, “I’ve got a quick question?” Thereby proving that this person is clueless about punctuation. I don’t need a Rhodes scholar as a roommate. Nor am in interested in living with someone who likely doesn’t know the difference between “their,” “there” and “they’re.”

Anyway, this guy writes in his email:

Are you gay?  I am about your age and really looking for a gay buddy.  

If not I hope I didn’t offend you.

First off, of course it offends me. Why would I use a Craigslist roommate ad as a hook-up tool?

More important: Why are you using Craigslist as a hook-up site? Why not Tinder? Why not Grindr? Why not an app with pictures and a bit about what you are looking for in a sexual partner?

I’ll hazard a guess this person fits one of two scenarios: First, he’s gay but hates himself for it and is not out to anyone. Which makes him dangerous.

When I was a newspaper editor in Boston, we had to (sadly) report upon countless incidents over the years where gay men hooked up with guys who were fucked up about being gay and the guy ended up being stalker-y — or worse.

The other scenario is that they guy is not gay at all but is merely looking for a gay man to attack when he shows up to look at the rental.

No, thank you.

Today’s adventure in roommate-wanted-ad hell

Regarding my roommate-wanted ad, this reply came in today:

Hi I’m male name/female name. I guess I would describe myself as a mature sissy tipe [sic]. Strong femme side. Most comfortable at home in my own personal space hanging out in my t-shirt and panties. . I’m very clean . I appreciate a safe clean comfortable home. I’m a mature sissy I pick up after myself and I have common sense. I’m not a big drinker however I do appreciate a good bottle of wine with good company. Maybe a movie night 🍿. I try and stay in shape. Walk alot. Its a beautiful pink bedroom and the bed looks sooo comfy 😋 I do like to stay busy. I have a fixed income. Not a partyer but I am 420 friendly. Very LGBTQ friendly. I hope to one day meet my life partner and become his full-time trans. O. Yes I want to transform myself into a full-time transexual [sic]. As for now I do go through life as a boy.  I am a little older than you. I enjoyed My first man in the early 80s.  I do have a fixed income. Soo there’s a little about me. I would be happy to send you a couple of pictures if you like if the place is still available. And please send me a picture of you. Think [sic] you 

I’m not going to consider this person based just on the typos and terrible grammar.

If he/she is that careless in an ad response when he/she is trying to put his/her best face forward, how is this person on a day-to-day basis?

Setting that aside, however, this is a sex ad more than a response to a roommate ad.

Take it to Grindr or Tinder, asshole.

I don’t know what I expected from Craigslist. A certain amount of weirdness, I guess. But Craigslist is a cesspool of damaged/antisocial people and scam artists whom I would never consider as roommate material.

I mean, I spent my life in Boston and Chicago. I can take care of myself.

But I would never trust nearly all of these people (thus far) alone with my dog.

This morning’s roommate search strangeness

I ask everyone to fill out a Google Forms questionnaire before I will even talk to them about my room for rent.

It weeds out many, many people. Saves everyone time, but some people don’t see it that way.

In this part of the country there are lots of “sovereign citizen” types who don’t like being asked to fill anything out. Of course, we used to say these people simply suffer from some form of oppositional defiance disorder. This makes them see any request that they follow procedures or rules as a trampling of their rights.

My family has been full of these people. Angry loners who see expressing defiance and unfiltered anger as the ultimate expressions of individuality. They all work dead-end jobs because they’ve never learned how to get along in a world that requires compromises for society and the workplace to function properly.

Anyway, the refusal of people like this to fill out the questionnaire is its own way to weed someone out. So that saves me having to waste any time at all on them. The last thing I want is to live with some version of my angry right-wing mother. (RIP.)

I have a guy responding to the roommate ad currently who was completely resistant to the questionnaire. When he finally did complete it, no shock that he answered the vaccine question as shown below.

The mountain of evidence we now have that vaccines save lives and this person has still had not a single shot.

Crazy. There’s a lot of that here in red state America.

Today’s roommate search strangeness

Woke up to find this response to my ad was sent overnight.

My place is cozy but it’s not modern or huge. So why would you be willing to pay 220% of the monthly rent?

And why do you need it in 4 days? What’s the hurry?

The “bed and TV” thing by itself wouldn’t be odd, but coupled with these other things, I smell a person who, at best, has got a life filled right now with major drama. At worst? He could be someone who cheated his drug supplier and needs someplace to hide out fast at double the list price.

I’ve watched Breaking Bad. I know how these things could work.

Besides that, I’ve watched two Jeffrey Dahmer shows on Netflix in the last two weeks. Even a hint of sketchiness reeks of impending cannibalism after that.

When you find yourself looking for a roommate when you’re long past the age of having roommates

I have to get a roommate.

My landlord is raising my rent to a level that makes having a roommate to split expenses more of an imperative than it has been since I moved into my 3-bedroom, 1,000 sq. ft. bungalow in April of 2017.

Now that I am completely clean and sober, I feel as if I am more ready than I’ve ever been to navigate the minefield of having a complete stranger move in with me. It takes maturity and wisdom to be able to navigate another person’s moods and quirks effectively and empathetically, and I’ve gained more of those two things in six years of sobriety than I did in all the previous years of adulthood put together. I’m not looking forward to this, but I feel as if I’ve never been better equipped for it.

But first I have to find a roommate. That meant deciding which services online to use for my search.

My first stop was

I like the fact that it has several different layers of identity authentication, including verification via email, phone number, and two different social media accounts (Facebook and Apple). Plus, for an additional small fee, you can verify your own identity using a government ID.

I verified myself using all five levels of verification, thinking that this would make me more attractive to potential roommates.

It turns out most people don’t bother to verify themselves at all. Because verification means you have to have a paid account (cheapest $19.95 a month) and a lot of people on don’t want to pay for the service.

BTW, not paying for the service also means that those people with free memberships cannot use the anonymized on-website messaging service. This means they can send you an initial message about their interest – “Hey, is your place still available?” — but they cannot see any of your replies.

Which means you get a lot of people writing back to you saying, “Hey, here’s my phone number. I can’t see your messages to me because I have a free account.” Which means turning your phone number over to strangers — possibly weird, possibly criminal, strangers. You run into a lot of weird people looking for a roommate.

Which brings me to Craigslist. I avoided Craigslist at first because I’ve heard so many horror stories about it from friends who’ve used it to sell something online, only to end up having to dodge scammers and others of ill intent.

But the sad truth is that doesn’t have the numbers of subscribers necessary to get a decent number of quality replies to my ad.

So I placed an ad on Craigslist.

Oh, boy. Jeez. Wow.

More on that later.

More people willing to wear used workout gear, swimsuits and shoes

This is an interesting change:

A selection of Lululemon Athletica Inc.’s coveted leggings is available at a big discount, but there is a catch. Someone has sweated in them.

Workout gear, swimsuits, bras and other items once taboo for the secondhand racks now are widely available, as shoppers get more comfortable with wearing what someone else once did.

Not everyone’s tolerance is the same. One person’s great find is another’s grossout.

“We call it the “ick factor,” as in how much “ick” does a particular item have?” said Sarah Davis, founder and president of Fashionphile LLC, a marketplace for previously owned luxury shoes, handbags, jewelry and accessories.

Shoes have a high ick factor, leading to elevated returns by buyers who initially thought they were OK with walking in someone else’s footwear, Ms. Davis said.

Fashionphile stopped offering used shoes for a while but has sidestepped the problem. It carries only the most gently worn ones—no toe marks or scuffs—and hand-cleans them with shampoo, baby wipes and antibacterial spray.

“We get rid of all the things that remind you the shoe was worn by someone else,” Ms. Davis said.

That isn’t enough to tempt Ryan Bullock. “Your feet sit inside them all day,” said the 26-year-old real-estate investor in Philadelphia.

Yet he has no issue with secondhand workout gear, a concept he got comfortable with in high school when he played football and donned the team’s repeatedly reused jerseys.

“Most of the clothes I buy for the gym are secondhand. I feel no reason to spend big bucks on clothes I will be sweating in,” Mr. Bullock said.

I don’t see the problem with any of this.

You can read the rest of the Wall Street Journal article by Suzanne Kapner at this link.