At brunch recently, my friend relayed the tale of her roommate who met a guy off Tinder and then proceeded to move him into their apartment. The honeymoon lovers met on a Sunday afternoon, had a wonderful date (apparently), and the next evening the roommate invited him over. He only brought the clothes on his back and an 18-pack of beer. He didn’t leave for the next four days.
I guess we should have been suspicious when he brought so much beer.
My friend met her new roommate when he put the beer in their fridge. He then settled down on the couch with her other roommate, and the lovebirds debated what to watch on Netflix. Because obviously what’s on the screen for the next two hours matters.
My friend assumed the guy left after the movie ended, but then she heard the telltale thump-thump-thump of a bed frame against a wall. And then the toilet seat was up when she awoke.
The next night he was back. And the night after that. He added a bottle of wine and Mexican takeout to the fridge.
“How long had she known him?” my friend opined. “36 hours? I’m not judging, but I am. We don’t know him, but here he was living in our apartment. And there’s no lock on my bedroom door. What if he robbed us when he got up to pee in the middle of the night?”
The guy moved out on the fourth day never to be seen again. A month later, her roommate brought home a new tenant who stayed for a slightly shorter duration (two nights). The MO was always the same: she found her paramour on Tinder, they went to dinner one time, and then she suggested movies on the couch.
If you follow millennial trends, this isn’t an isolated incident. “Netflix and chill” is what they call it. Intentions are to do anything, but watch “House of Cards” and sit on opposite ends of the couch. This is hookup culture, after all.
Sometimes Netflix isn’t even mentioned. You meet at a club. Alcohol does all the talking (and dancing). On Sunday morning, you ask, “Who is beside me?”
I think you can tell from my condescending tone (me, judging?) that I’m no actor in this scene. But it never bothered me particularly until I was out of town a few weekends ago staying with friends. One of the friends invited someone over off of a dating, cough, hookup app. Like, at 2 AM.
Me: “How long have you known them? Why didn’t you invite them out earlier with us?”
Friend: “I’ve never met them. We started messaging at midnight.”
Oh. Cinderella’s making a pit stop on her way home from the ball then?
Me: “Are you not worried about opening your door to a total stranger? What if it’s the Big Bad Wolf and not Cinderella?”
If I hadn’t had one, or maybe three, too many vodka drinks that evening, I would have peeled myself off my air mattress and hid my wallet, class ring, and watch in the pocket of my pajamas. Because who knows who my friend had invited over? Had my friend never read about the fall of Troy? But I passed out – and awoke at 5 AM to the Big Bad Cinderella in the room with me.
Thankfully, the Big Bad Cinderella did not put a knife to my throat. He was putting on his shoes preparing to leave.
But we can’t trust that every time it’s going to be Little Bo Peep and not the Troll Beneath the Bridge - or a dragon. This isn’t about slut shaming. This is about stranger danger. These people you’re meeting online or in the dark of a bar could be serial killers. Your head could end up in the fridge beside that 18-pack they brought with them. Why do people not consider this? Your teenage hormones are gonna be nothing compared to the adrenaline of running away from an ax murderer. But seriously. Rape is a real thing. So is robbery.
I know, I sound dramatic. How often do these things happen? Probability is on the side of housing strangers that won’t behead you. Then again, you’ve probably already lost your head if you’re gambling on making your bed into a bed-and-breakfast with Guess Who.
As a different friend pointed out, you never truly know a person. For all you know, I, Cazey Williams, am a killer. When they interview people who knew famous serial killers, the typical quote is, “I never knew.” But I’d still feel a lot safer cohabiting with the best friend than the person in checkout with me at 7-Eleven. Wouldn’t you?
I’m just saying, please meet three times in public and maybe meet a friend of theirs before you ask John or Jane Doe to come inside. (And it could be Jane you should be worried about. Have you seen Fatal Attraction?) I'd rather be a prude than be dead or mugged.