Flatmate finding's hidden codes
Who's saying what
I’m in the process of moving into a new place this week and am currently in the dying days of trying to find a flatmate before I end up paying double the amount of rent I intended to when signing the lease. It seems that Facebook, which you’d imagine would be ideal for finding like-minded people in need of shared accommodation has yielded only a few decent matches, all of whom have pulled out for one reason or another, so now I’m back onto the old-school method; classifieds.
Advertising oneself to an imagined audience of essentially anonymous roommates is a tricky business, particularly for hyper-dense sites like Flatmate Finder, which (probably correctly) ask for some six pages of information before allowing a profile to be created. It’s in filling this in multiple times – first on Facebook, then again on classifieds sites, that I’ve realised that a number of attributes which I typically associated with my character have an entirely different meaning to what I thought they did. Here’s a list of some of the most frequently reoccurring gems gleaned from the sixty or so profiles I’ve been sorting through in the last 12 days, and what they really mean after you read the accompanying descriptions a bit more closely:
‘Easygoing’ = I like to relax after a long day by cooking for eight of my closest friends and smoking bongs with the windows closed. Because I’m easygoing, I’ll let you wash up the dishes. And also, you can cook, because I’m a pretty chilled dude and I don’t want to get in your way in the kitchen or anything.
‘Not looking for a party house’ = My boyfriend lives in Sweden and I will be spending five hours a night Skyping him from my room. There will be no noise allowed in this time, including doors opening, showers showering or discernible breathing.
‘I work as professional in the city’ = I have deliberately left out what type of professional I am as I am a loan shark and/or cocaine dealer and/or undercover policeman and/or sandwich delivery boy. No, I’m not allowed to bring the sandwiches home.
‘Likes to have a few wines after work’ = I am a British backpacker and I have conveniently not told anyone that my Visa is yet to be approved. My work starts and finishes when I wake up, so by the time you get home, I will be completely plastered but hold it together because I am a professional alcoholic/sandwich maker.
‘Respects privacy’ = I won’t listen to you having sex with your significant other through the common wall, but I will tweet about it every two seconds for most of the eight minutes you’re at it with a hashtag so specific that it leaves little doubt as to who I’m talking about.
‘I like to keep fit and active’ – Don’t worry about sleeping through your alarm. You’ll be hearing me at 5am every day of the week doing my advanced yoga in the living room which includes audible groaning, followed by an Olivia Newtown John workout tape and some light boxing practice against the door of your bedroom. Then I’ll make a protein shake using that blender we bought that will sound like one thousand jackhammers from hell and be gone for work before you have time to tell me off.
Given that I have any number of weird requirements (‘Will not wear pants before 11am on a weekend’, ‘Needs at least four kinds of sliced meat with every meal’) myself, I’m not sure this is going to be getting any easier until I meet these probably lovely people in the flesh. It may be that just the right mixture of my neuroses and someone else’s craziness will make for a wonderful living situation. That, or I’ll just have to take up the offer of the two French lesbians who are very quiet “and speak good Enligshes.” Really, worse things have happened.