What Mother Goose Would Say If She Were Here . . . And Mean
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Michelle Presents: "Stop Being a Craigslist Douchebag"

When Michelle stopped blogging, I issued her an open invitation to come guest blog whenever she wanted to.  Guess what?  She has!  (If only PT Cruisers and senators would start taking my advice too, this world would be a much better place.)  And what did it take to temporarily bring her out of retirement? 

Craigslist Douchebags.  Enjoy!

Memo: Stop Being a Craigslist Douchebag
By Michelle

I am trying to find a place to live, and it is killing me slowly. It is a death not unlike the tobacco horn worm caterpillar experiences when wasp larvae eats the caterpillar from the inside out. Why do I feel like I'm being eaten alive? Because craigslist is giving me the dirty sanchez treatment. Please forgive my use of colorful language but it is the only way I can really let you know how truly and deeply craigslist sucks. In my quest I have emailed probably about 100 people, and actually met about 30 people from almost 15 houses, and, with exceedingly few exceptions, almost all of them sucked.

I can look beyond the inadequate descriptions that use the word awesome in just about every other sentence as if that really let someone know what a house looked like. I can also look past the inability of 90% of posters to correctly provide a link that accurately indicates the location of their house. Once I clicked on a link that had apparently used the address "silver spring washington dc usa" to let people know where the house was.  I can even look past the blatantly discriminatory postings that indicate they will not consider a person based on their gender or age (some people won't overlook that though because apparently it's like illegal or something...) And after I get past the initial sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, I don't really mind coming across the creepy sex-for-housing ads from northern virginia. But there are some craigslist transgressions I cannot abide. Someone needs to tell the craigslist users of washington dc how not to be a douche bag, and I feel that the following suggestions are a good start:

a) Email people back
It literally takes 5 seconds to type and send an email to a person that says 'It was nice meeting you, but I/we decided to room with someone else. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck to you on your search.' It takes even less time (two seconds max) if you don't want to be polite and say thanks and good luck. So why the hell can no one even email me back and tell me this?? I'm not a moron, and when I go to a house I can generally tell when it won't work out, so I don't expect to hear back from them. Like that time I met the woman who was "so happy" to be single that she talked about how sweet it was to be single for like 25 minutes and about how much she doesn't need or want a man and how much she likes going to bars and not meeting people. There wasn't much to the conversation because I couldn't focus what with the heavy scent of denial and desperation in the air, and I was afraid that if I did open my mouth all I would say would be 'Yeah whatev, psycho hosebeast you want a man bad.' Needless to say she never emailed me back, and I'm fine with that.
However, when a person says something like,'I think you'd be a good fit here,' or 'Let me talk it over with my roommate and get back to you -- probably with good news!' or even 'I'd like to live with you,' then for the love of all that is decent in this world email a person back. Don't leave me hanging like some one night stand tramp you thought was cute when you were drunk and then promised to call as you ran out of the room the next morning. Rejection isn't fun, but being led on is a bigger bitch. Particularly in a platonic situation that could leave me with either a room in an apartment or a box on the street depending on how long you wait to tell me your decision. So man up, Craigslisters, and let people know what you think. Stop being wussies and just ignoring the people you don't like.

b) Don't treat people who respond to your ad like monkies that will dance for you at your whim
I get the desire to ensure that someone can "fit" in with the roommates in  a house. I understand wanting to avoid living  with a crazy person. However, making applicants answer bizarrre questions that don't pertain to anything or making judgements on things that don't matter is just a douche bag move. Having your name on a lease doesn't make you prince of DC just because you live in an "awesome" or "amazing" group house in Columbia Heights/Bethesda/Adams Morgan/Ustreet/where ever else rich dumb 20 somethings are willing to pay $900 a month to live.  Someone with a Tenleytown group house listed questions they wanted all people to answer by email before inviting them to their open house. These questions ran the gamut from 'Where did you go to college?' (subtext, dummies need not apply) to 'If we were playing monopoly what game piece would you be and why?'  and 'Would you rather be 350 lbs overweight or have legs for arms?' What the hell would the answers to these questions reveal about a person's suitability as a roommate? My guess is that the inhabitants of the house were all 350 lb overweight losers who snuck that question in just to weed out people who would answer 'I'd rather be dead than fat.' Group house inhabitants of the DC metro area, don't act like an email or 30 minutes hanging out with a person will really clue you in to whether or not that person can pay their bills on time, or keep the kitchen clean, or steal your stuff. All that it does is let you know if the person is tolerable for 30 minutes and capable of using email. Don't try and wield your 'power' (if it could even be called that) like the ass in the Sunday Source article about group houses. Do not be that guy.

c) Understand and accept where you live
Listen bitches, if you live in Wheaton you live in Wheaton. Don't put up a post that says you live in Silver Spring when you live a block away from Wheaton metro. And if you live in Rockville, admit that you live in Rockville. Don't put up fake posts about how you live in Bethesda. I understand it can be confusing, especially in Montgomery county where there are really no towns and suburbs sprawl on for miles. I mean really, Silver Spring is anything from the District line to the Howard county border along colesville road/route 29. But that doesn't mean you should advertise that you live in "Silver Spring" when you really live in White Oak or any other place that you have to take a Z bus to get to. And especially don't say you live within walking distance to a metro station if you live a mile and a half to the metro. For a normal person, particularly a female who refuses to wear athletic shoes with business attire, three miles a day is ludicrous and so is the idea that you would call that walking distance. Technically anything is "walking distance" in that most people can walk and, eventually, arrive at a destination. But in practice, walking distance means no more than a 15-20 minute walk. And on a hot summer day in DC in heels, that distance is a lot less than a mile and a half.
d) Shut up about yourself, because you are a weirdo
This goes out to all my fellow open-house-trolling craigslisters and it's important. Open house situations are uncomfortable because the sense that you are being judged is all the more palpable, but don't think that talking about yourself is going to help you make a good impression. Every time the housemate says something they like, you can't just jump in and agree (Oh you like genocide?  That's totally my favorite thing to do on the weekend!) or try and connect yourself to the person (You like photography? My friend once owned a camera!) without seeming like a fake and desperate poser. And bragging about yourself ('I drive a sick Audi so I need to have a parking space near the house') or divulging what should be an embarrassing story ('I used to work for my uncle but he fired me') DOES NOT make you seem cool to the housemate, or anyone else for that matter. All you are doing is begging to be mocked. You make it incredibly difficult for the rest of us to try and continue to seem likable while simultaneously resisting the urge to tell you that you are a huge loser. Obviously you're being judged by the housemates at an open house, but you're supposed to be judging them too. And you can't do that properly if you don't ask any questions and only talk about how sweet you are. Of course, I can't really ask open-house idiots to keep their fool mouths shut, because their dumb stories make everyone else who is normal look like much better roommate options.

I'm certain that all this grief is just karma coming back to bite me in the ass because I was a craigslist jerk back when my house had openings. My housemates and I were not the best about emailing people we met to tell them we weren't interested and we also weren't as timely as we should have been. We also based our decisions on our open houses and one of my roommates even asked the applicants, 'If you were a meat, what kind of meat would you be and why?' And eventhough our ads were honest about our address and proximity to metro, in high school I used to pretend that i lived in Silver Spring when really I lived in Colesville (reppin' the 2oh9oh4!!). But I swear, now I know the error of my ways. If I am ever given the chance to live in this area again (and so far it's not promising) I will not mislead another person on craigslist again. I will not leave them hanging, nor will I lead them on. I will ask meaningful questions at an open house like, what time do you get ready in the morning, or at least not ask them about what kind of meat they are. I will never lie about where I live. Please patron saint of craigslist lost souls, save me and deliver me a place to live. I will never sin again. And in the mean time, smite the people who are sinning against me with cystic acne or legs for arms.


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Karl Marx

At first I thought the headline read "Stop Being a Capitalist Douchebag"

Matt Price

Bring back McNamerica!


Michelle, I mean this in the nicest way possible... sometimes your diatribes scare me more than a bit.

Good luck with finding housing.


This post is rich -- nice job.


Of course I read this post the day before I move out of my high rise dream home with a spectacular view of the white oak shopping center...Posted on Craigs list as silver spring, but right in the thick of the Z8 bus route.


Boy am I glad I own my house and don't need roommates, or vice-versa. Yikes!


Hmm. I think I understand the problem.....

ellocin one

Is it really that bad??? (Having moved here with a living-in boyfriend and now thinking about seperating and thus may soon be thrust into this housing meat-market.) This sounds bad enough to keep us together! Is that a terrible perspective???


Hmm. All this rage. Could this perhaps be the reason you didn't hear back from the housemates? Or was it because you said you would be the shoe in monopoly?

carlos flores

hola michelle ojala y seas la que vino a mexico a estudiar en la fac de antropologia saludos escribe

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