I’m back from Asia! The first order of business after return was securing a room. And so it was off to my favorite adventure play land: SF Bay Area Craigslist.

How NOT to Look for a Room on Craigslist

One mistake people commonly make searching for housing in San Francisco is that they think housing will come to them. They post sweetly earnest ads on Craigslist under the “Rooms Wanted”:


My name is Erin and I am looking for a room to rent […]I have a medium sized dog and an aquatic turtle. Charlie, the dog, is fully potty trained, and stays in his “house” when home alone. Rosie, the turtle, lives in a tank. Both are super amazing to live with as well.

Thanks for getting back to me, and I look forward to the opportunity of being potential roommates. 🙂

<;3 Erin”

Or you could follow this guy’s lead (SUBJECT: Click me! I’m Cool!), and post a picture:

Or you could really just lay it all out there and really get your San Francisco shine on:

“My work/volunteering/education took me to over 49 different countries and I speak Arabic, Hebrew, French, Albanian, can get by with semi-fluency in Russian, Swahili, and several Native languages. I’m Comanche and Mediterranean, an officially licensed skydiver, a snowboarder, and a *huge* fan of hockey (the Sharks aren’t my favorite ~ sorry if that offends you.) I’m trained in combat (Krav Maga,) a VERY EXPERIENCED ARCHER (I’m a Target Archer and I NEVER USE THE SPORT FOR HUNTING ~ I grew up learning the sport on the Reservation) while also a fan of strange-surreal-freaky-funky-unique art/film/homes/interiors/ideas and a constant traveler.”

Not the archer in question

Crafting a Strong Response to Craigslist Ads

Posting for landlords or roommates to come and find you is a little like spouse hunting at your local dive on a Tuesday afternoon. A better tactic is to respond individually to each housing post, altering some kind of template to suit the tone of the ad. Here was my spiel:

SUBJECT: Call me, maybe?

Let’s cut to the chase. I am:



-Recently returned from backpacking S.E. Asia, India, and Nepal

-A little Old World/ Old Manish in some personal habits (tea>;booze, radio>;rdio, etc.)

-Generally a very calm, personable presence

-Known at various points in high school as “Amish” and, less cleverly, “No TV Boy” on account of my family’s lack of cable. Basically not prone to vegetative TV watching-Cheeto-eating couch sitting.

The Obsessive Waiting Game

I’ve never had an addiction quite like the itch to check Craigslist listings while on the apartment hunt. Every five minutes was the norm, and 2-3 minute check-ins are also not unusual. I’d estimate that for every 10 ads I responded to, I got one reply.

Sometimes, that response would come a week or two after, such as the email I got from someone named “Rainbow Love” asking if I could stop by on a Friday evening to see her place. Rainbow—in spite of being a perfectly pleasant and normal email correspondent—was my reminder that Craigslist is still a wild internet frontier.

San Francisco Apartment Hunting Gets Weird

Take this ad:

“We are setting up a community of like-minded people to live together on a boat that was donated to us and will be docked mostly at the Piers and Treasure Island. You will be able to live on the boat and easily commute to SF, Oakland, Berkeley. The concept is to function as a commune where everyone respects each other to the utmost degree. The rent is kept low by everyone contributing to the general maintenance of the living quarters and of the boat.”

So far so good. A little odd, living on a boat, but it’s the kind of try-anything-once novelty I could, for $400 a month, get behind. But this isn’t any old boat Berkeley co-op. We’re not just sharing lentil soup and compost duty.

“We all live together in shared rooms (4 beds per room) and cook meals for everyone. Where this differs from a traditional roommate situation is that we also act as a kind of polyamorous household. Everyone is free to pursue relationships with their shipmates and we’d like anyone who joins us to be interested in that too.”

Just when you feel totally unappreciated by this city and it’s snooty residents, with their hypoallergenic turtles, legal names coined by Oakland astrologists and diets that make vegans look libertine, someone shines through to show that their is, in fact still love in San Francisco. It’s just on a boat.

Moving In

For the record, after two weeks of searching, I moved in to a cozy little hobbit cave in a prime section of town. Stop by and say hi to Rosie the Turtle, Charlie the Dog, and all my lov–um, shipmates