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Couchosting - Transience Divine
April 11th, 2008
04:21 pm

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Couchosting
Sign up to host couchsurfers! The Couchsurfing Project isn't just a website; it's a movement. People around the world can offer up their couches, and search for couches in areas where they're traveling. You don't pay anything (for the site or the couch), hosts aren't expected to do anything but let you sleep on their couch (though, many will show you around if they have time), and you end up meeting a ton of cool people as host or surfer.

I feel a guilty pleasure that my first two requests for couchsurfing are from women from exotic places (well, other continents anyway). Here's some women, traveling alone to a far-away country. And she says to herself, "Here I am, a woman, with breasts and hips and everything-- I wonder where I should stay amongst all these couches available in the greater-Cambridge area? Oh, this person-- a guy-- looks nice!" Is it bad for me to be proud of that?

Of course she isn't sleeping at my house to sleep with me, and I would never make a move on a couchsurfing guest (unless, I suppose, I really thought she wanted me to). But I can't forget the sexual potential.

The problem is, there aren't any good sites for sexual tourism. So Couchsurfing has to make it extra clear that that's not what it's for. But I'm sure there are some women using the site who want it for that. And I think my last couchsurfer tried to hit on me.

My most recent couchsurfing request is from a guy in Florida who used ALL CAPS in his email to me. Who does that? Is it fair for me to not want him to sleep on my couch if he uses email that way?

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From:myselftheliar
Date:April 11th, 2008 08:34 pm (UTC)
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I find it entirely acceptable to shun those who cannot be bothered to use the same courtesy online as one would on the phone or in person.
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From:jrising
Date:April 11th, 2008 09:07 pm (UTC)
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Okay, so the follow-up question: Do I try to point out to him that he made a bad impression, and that's why I don't want him staying with me? Or do I just say, "Sorry, my couch is taken at that time."
[User Picture]
From:myselftheliar
Date:April 11th, 2008 11:46 pm (UTC)
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I would, politely, explain that online impressions are very important to me and say that his using all caps was very off-putting and kind of rude. If he's very interested in time at your place, he would send a much more well-written response, if he doesn't? Well, you probably wouldnt want him there anyway.
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From:richenza
Date:April 11th, 2008 08:42 pm (UTC)
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who does that?

My boss.

I had to ask his secretary if he was mad at me. She just rolled her eyes and said he was probably too distracted to turn off capslock.

I am amazed that in this day and age there are lots of people who appear to be unaware that all caps is the electronic version of shouting at someone. I know that the guy is over 70, but my grandma knows not to do that and she's well into her eighties...
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From:jrising
Date:April 11th, 2008 09:05 pm (UTC)
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I totally agree. There are plenty of subtle computer-related conventions that are tough to pick up on, especially since it's not always clear how it's going to look to other people... but this isn't one of them.
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From:girlygothic
Date:April 11th, 2008 11:17 pm (UTC)
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You know, everyone always seems to respond to stories of people using ALL CAPS with the comment about it being shouting, and from there the discussion usually leads to one of netiquette. Yeah, there is that reaction. But for me? My first reaction is that it's freakin' illiterate! I mean really, how hard is it to show us that you remember what you learned in grade school?

/end rant

As to your question, I'd say it's totally fair for you to not want him on your couch. It's subtle, but there's something in his message that tells you that he's not your kind of person. And who wants not-their-kind-of-person living on their couch for however many days? These days I really try to go with my gut on this kind of thing because more than once I've second-guessed my gut reaction, telling myself that it was irrational and I had no basis for thinking ill of the person, and then later learned I was right.

A thought... If you say your couch is taken when you refuse his request, you're lying. It's a tiny lie, and certainly there are situations in which lying is perfectly fine. But in this case, you don't *need* to lie, so why do it? Just say something along the lines of, "I'm sorry, I can't meet your request." Who knows? Maybe he'll develop a clue, pick up on the subtle between-the lines message, and learn from his mistake.
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