Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Go local, get laid

“Meet the locals, get laid,” announces a Sydney Morning Herald travel blog about Couchsurfing.

"Mate, it's sensational," Brian, an Aussie enthusiast, told the blogger. "It's a shag-fest. I stayed with this French girl in Paris, and she barely let me put down my pack before she jumped me. I'm doing it every time I travel now. You should get on there."

Is Brian really that irresistible? Probably not, but that’s why Couchsurfing dating appeals. Suddenly - much to his own surprise - average old Brian has morphed into a exotic foreigner with a sexy accent and no strings attached. Let’s face it with all these random encounters (646,877 at last count) – sex is going to happen.

“Couchsurfing is not a dating agency,” the site insists. However, what annoyed devotees most about the SMH blog (and caused them to complain in droves) was not that they implied sex happens, but the implication that this should be the predominant reason for joining.

As an India-based member of the Couchsurfing forum explains: “We were pissed off by … the insinuation that CS has no other dimensions than young people hooking up for sex... The piece says clearly that no one but single people who do this... which in itself was quite a strong and untrue judgement.”

Indeed, families and couples are just as likely to be Couchsurfing these days.

The question is: can all these different groups coexist on one site?