July 29th, 2009

Since I’m headed back to Europe, and to Edinburgh at the height of the Fringe festival no less, I thought I’d try out Couch Surfing. The gist: you sleep on strangers’ (new friends?) sofas for free, in exchange for conversation and good karma. I know people who’ve done it before. Some have great stories; some have horrific ones. Still, being game for an adventure, I signed up on CouchSurfing.com, where I was asked my name, my travel history, my interests… and whether or not I fully understood that the site was in way, shape, or form a dating service. Huh?

I’ve written lots of articles on lots of different online matchmakers, but it never occurred to me the potential sexiness — or trauma — that could unfold from treating “couch surfing” as a euphemism, instead of an amusing visual of a man attempting to ride out a wave on a sofa. It would be like Adult Friend Finder, but more subtle, and more international. “I’m coming to your city for the night and would like somewhere to ‘sleep.’ A/s/l?” Something along those lines.

Of course, you can only imagine the instances that must have forced CouchSurfing.com to institute that “not a dating site” clause. I’ve tried to track down the official backstory, but keep missing my contact. Personally, I envision young, helpless girls (like yours truly?) showing up on the doorsteps of foreign unknowns, expecting a squishy futon and getting a big uncomfortable helping of sexual entitlement. Then I envision trying to find a different bed in the middle of the night after waking up to your host making tea in the nude.

I’ll keep you posted on the CouchSurfing.com story. In the meantime, I’ll be staying with friends, on a farm, and in hostels… where at least the sexual uncomfortableness is mitigated by the sheer number of people snoring within a ten foot radius of your bed.

Tags: online dating, travel

One Response to “Couchsurfing.com as dating site”

  1. FilipinaBride Says:

    Great. Thanks for this intersting story you have. Waiting for the continuation.

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