The internet has revolutionized the way that we travel – the phenomenon of “couch-surfing” has connected travellers with hosts all over the world, and given them an inexpensive form of accomodation. Now a new player has entered the market, but there’s a difference – you can’t join unless you’re a “hottie”.
Loveroom.com has been described as “Airbnb for attractive people”, and builds on the established Airbnb model of allowing hosts to post the spaces they have available for people to share, and guests to post what they’re looking for. But, all the hosts and guests have to post pictures of themselves to prove they’re attractive and there’s a section on the blog about “How to Avoid Creeps”, suggesting tips like using skype to interview potential partners, and not giving out your real number to anyone until you’re sure about them.
Anyone seeing the downside to this yet? In my opinion, there are several. The first being that just because someone is attractive doesn’t make them not a creep. And I’d feel slightly suspicious of anyone who was only interested in offering their room to a hot female. Doesn’t that have “luring” overtones? The founder maintains that it is not all about sex, saying “the intention of LoveRoom is bigger than sex, it’s about connecting in a new way.” Bigger than sex? That means that sex is probably implied somewhere along the line, doesn’t it? But what if one party has different expectations than the other party? It’s fine for founder Joshua Bocanegra to say that it “depends on who uses it” but that leaves a whole lot of room for interpretation and ambiguity. If someone attractive is coming to stay and there’s the possibility of sex, then it’s probable that at least one person in the deal is going to try and initiate it. If the other person was just looking for somewhere to stay, or to rent a room out, then they might not be up for it. That sounds alarm bells for me. How long before LoveRoom finds itself named in a rape case?
And then there’s the discrimination aspect of it. So, are ugly or even average-looking people not supposed to travel? Or are they just not supposed to connect with the hotties of this world? How long before someone capitalizes on this and starts an “Airbnb for unattractive people” so that the non-hotties can mingle with their own kind? It’s pretty offensive to click on the site and find yourself described as a “creep” and a “loser” just because you’re not as buff as Matias from Argentina?
But, that’s not too much of a worry, because most people who think at all will steer well clear of this site. Blurring the lines between dating and providing accomodation is dangerous and this could end badly. We have some final words of reassurance from Bocanegra: “Paying for sex equals prostitution. Paying for a place to stay with someone you find attractive equals LoveRoom”. Glad we cleared that up!
Until next time,
Peace, love and vitamin C!