Tuesday, September 29

Will Harris gets angry at flat-share websites

- May 24, 2011

When Helen and I learn that the 50ft Woman has been found, not just dead, but dead and mummified in her Beverley Hills mansion, it’s fair to say we react in quite different ways. Helen, who has the B-Movie poster for Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman in pride of place on her living room wall, decides to light a candle and have a stiff gin. I, on the other hand, decide to move house.

“They think she was there for a year,” I say. “A year. All alone and sat by a radiator, so that every last drop of moisture was leached from her body. Like Terry Waite crossed with a sultana.”

“You’re sick,” says Helen, and then: “I don’t like to think what her gas bill looks like.”

“These profiles are the online equivalent of someone sitting on your face”

“Well, I’m not letting that happen to me. I like living on my own, but I’m not willing to die for it.”
In truth, that’s not the real issue. Desiccated starlets aside, I just found out my landlord is looking to increase my monthly rent by 25 per cent, so maintaining my tenancy would mean giving up some of life’s little luxuries, like eating, and wearing shoes. So I’m moving.

I’m not going to lie. The idea of sharing again, after a year on my own, is a little daunting. In my experience, when flat-shares work, they work; but when they don’t, the negative energy they create can feel like it’s spreading to every area of your life. Home, as they say, is where the heart is. It is our castle and our sanctuary, and sharing with a stranger can be a tricky business.

“None of these men are wearing tops,” I say. It is a few days later, and I am at home, trawling through a flat-share website noted for being especially gay-friendly. Actually, friendly hardly does justice to the tactics these gentlemen are using. Friendly is a handshake. These profiles are the online equivalent of someone sitting on your face.

“No. No,” I say, as I scroll. “No. No. No. I don’t want to know what you look like in Speedos; I just want to know you’ll do the washing up.”

I’m no prude, but the self-imposed sexualisation of the gay community does get on my nerves sometimes. What? It’s not enough we have to whip off our tops and flex in every other area of our lives; now we’ve set up a meat market in the property market too?

“Just look at this!” I rage. “Where it says ‘Building Type’, this one’s only gone and put ‘30” waist, 40” chest’’’. What is wrong with these people?”

I look round for a response, and am hit by twin realisations. The first is that I’m alone in the flat. The second is that I’ve been living by myself for too long.

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