Spammers have become part of our culture these day – beginning with the Russian mail-order bride type scenarios, then moving to offers from the Bank of Kenya, claims that you have millions of dollars you’ve never known about...now they’ve even moved onto the share house market.
Not only targeting the desperate and dateless, nor the less financially savvy anymore, my flatmates and I are currently searching for a new housemate while the couple we live with are abroad for six months. Enter Stacey – we received an email from her detailing her trip to Brisbane from South Africa to research for her cosmetics company employer. She enjoys swimming, getting to know new people and generally being perfect. And she attached two professional-quality photos of her leggy, blonde self.
My male house mate was stoked – thought she looked perfect. But then we started getting emails asking for personal and banking details, so she could transfer the ‘security deposit’ before we even agreed to have her move in. A few name searches – no facebook, twitter, photos, anything. We smell spam.
Finding the perfect housemate is already tough enough. I’ve had over 22 housemates in my 6 years living out of home. I’ll always remember my first share house fondly. First year uni student, no Centrelink, minimal savings – so I opted to share a room with a friend for cheaper rent. There was six of us in the house in total. One was a painfully shy international student who would only venture out of his room when we were all hidden or in bed. He’d literally scuttle away if any of us came into the room. Another student was from Japan and extremely politically correct – often giving us lectures on the evils of illegal online downloading. Then there was Al - it was his first time out of the Middle East and he spent some time discovering the new variety of substances on offer in Australia – many times at 2am we would hear him running around upstairs, flicking the lights on and off, then moving onto the next room and doing the same. Ah, memories. It was actually a great introduction to the real world, getting to know different personalities and cultures after being somewhat sheltered on the Sunshine Coast.
A few years forward and I have more share house stories than I care to admit – living with an obsessive compulsive, a kleptomanic who would often come home with bar mats and house numbers, a chef that hated to cook, a stranded Russian girl we let sleep on the couch, best friends, boyfriends, ultra cool art students, bunking with a friends wonderful family (thank you so much Smiths) and now – living with some of the coolest people I’ve met.
Share houses become your home away from home, like a small, temporary and often partially insane family. Whoever we get to move in is going to have big shoes to fill.
**Originally published by the Courier Mail 21 Sept 2010