Craigslist Lies People Tell: Barely Legal and City Vus

Roomstitutes

One of the first things you learn on the Craigslist roommate listings is that no one wants a dude roommate. When a gender is specified, it’s almost always female. One imagines several types of people making these posts: There are the girls who are a little skived out by the prospect of living with a boy, and the boys who really don’t care who they live with because they just need some extra rent dollars.

Then there are the boys who think “roommate” means “prostitute.”

Consider this post seeking a female roommate for a 2.5-bedroom Upper West Side apartment: “Doorman, high floor, city and sunset views, sunny.”

Tell me more!

“Washer, dryer and dishwasher in the apartment… Good air conditioning, high speed internet, and a spare computer for roommate’s use.”

Practical, and generous.

“It’s an elevator building.”

Yes, yes, very good!

“I’m looking for a female roommate who will occasionally not wear clothes when I ask in exchange for free rent.”

What? You balk?

There’s “no sex whatsoever required”!

If things were looking a little tight, could you opt for a naked month? Would you?

Well, don’t worry, you still have an out: “Otherwise the rent is $780/month, everything included.”

“Everything,” presumably, refers to awkward run-ins in the kitchen with a guy who craves you nude, and to an array of persistent hypothetical questions—like, if things were looking a little tight, could you opt for a naked month? Would you?

They are more common than you’d think, these roomstitute posts. They nestle lines like “I would prefer a submissive exhibitionist” and “Email your pictures” in between the discussion of public transit and utilities. And they are lies, all lies, because there’s not a way in the world these guys are looking for “roommates.”

View Gotta Be Kidding Me!

“Panoramic” is an adjective that Craig’s Listers use almost automatically, a knee-jerk descriptor. “Panoramic” is to “view” as “gourmet” is to “kitchen.” It means “nice.”

The views of the Helena, on the Upper West Side, are described as “unprecedented,” which seems dubious: they appear to contain the Hudson river, the highway, and some non-scenic buildings. As far as one can tell from the ad, they may be panoramic, but they are not particularly pretty .

More poignant, though, are posts advertising “city views,” which not infrequently represent apartments located in New Jersey. So close, and yet so far.

 

mfischer@observer.com