I recently had the chance to host a beautiful young lady as she was passing through Austin for the first time. As is often the case between Couchsurfer and Couchhost, we exchanged travel tales, and horror stories of Couchsurfing. Since she was a lovely woman, I asked her if she had ever had a problem with male CSing host trying be to anything less than a gentleman during her stay. Of course, she had… with a few.
The main question I want to pose to readers today is: why do men try to pick up women they’re hosting or surfing with? Let’s overlook the most compelling reason, which is some people are just immature and sleazy. Why Couchsurfers in particular? Some women feel it necessary to state on their profiles that “This is Couchsurfing, not Coochsurfing”, but is it really what it’s all about? Men hoping to find lonely women to share nothing but sex, albeit between travelers?
Maybe I’m just naive about just how shallow members of my sex can be, but among Couchsurfers, such a unique shared interest group, I think they’re honestly hoping to find someone special.
Let me tell you a little story about my Couchsurfing friend Michelle. She was going to school in San Antonio, Texas. She had a roommate also on Couchsurfing, and together they hosted their usual share of cool people and weirdos. Michelle told me that before I arrived, they had both hosted a Turkish man for nearly six months before he finally returned home. Six months. At the end of which, he and Michelle became a couple. It just happened. And it turns out, he’s a prince of sorts with his own island. They just got married yesterday, in Istanbul.
I’ll admit, Couchsurfing should not be about random hookups, as it dirties the principle of the site. Nor should single men only surf with women or host them expecting something to happen. But things do happen, and not just one night stands. As you spend time with someone new and exciting, you find you have a lot in common (your love of travel, for one), and you might be tempted to try something… but, no… it’s Couchsurfing, and it’s not about that. Imagine how awkward it would be for a woman to be given an advance by a man she had come to trust as a host: now she’s trapped, possibly in the middle of the night, with a creep?
I think the main reason a lot of these unfavorable encounters go unreported on the site is simply because they’re impermanent. Everyone is just passing through, and you know exactly when they’ll leave; many just suck it up and move on. Some do write negative references and try to get the person banned.
But what if it’s a mutual feeling? What if you’re like Michelle and her surfer, trapped by the principles of CSing yet wanting to act on your feelings?
Well, I don’t have too much experience in this area. All I can say is: leave it for another time. Couchsurf and be done with it. Afterwards, when you’re finished with your official hosting or surfing duties and want to contact this special someone, be clear in your intentions, and try to explain why you’re contacting him now, as opposed to doing something while he was staying in your home.
Back in 2010, when I was on the road a lot, I stumbled across a single female Couchsurfer who liked Stephen Colbert, was into theoretical science, and seemed to be a runner (turned out to be mistaken). It was too late for us to meet, but I sent her a message letting her know I’d be passing through in another few months, and would she be available to host? She would, and we ended up exchanging CSing messages a few times a week until we finally met later that year.
She only had a single apartment and a blowup mattress, but we ended up exploring the ins and outs of Pennsylvania and I had an amazing time: Amish country, frozen custard, the Hershey Park… when it was finally time for me to catch a bus back to Philadelphia, I kissed her. She responded. We didn’t say anything, but ended up exchanging more messages that week and arranging another meeting, sans-Couchsurfing. Things didn’t work out, but it was a fun and memorable experience. All because I searched for nearby hosts in the middle of the night in the backwoods of Pennsylvania.
Does this happen all the time? Of course not. I’ve hosted attractive single women and haven’t been the least bit interested in some of them. I only search for female hosts when I’m in the mood for a cleaner place to sleep (sorry guys, but you know you’re messy). But am I secretly hoping that one day someone special will put in a request to stay on my couch, and I have the chance to get to know her, and she me, so that we both might find ourselves feeling the same? Maybe…