(FULL DISCLOSURE: This post has nothing to do with butch fashion, culture, or identity. Why post it here, you ask? Well, dear readers, I like to keep you on your toes.)
Though I love where I live, I have the odd habit of looking at potential apartments on Craigslist at least once or twice a week. I'm not itching to move; I absolutely detest moving, but this is my version of window-shopping. And my DGF and I have been toying with the idea of moving in together, so I've been more diligent than usual in keeping abreast (HAHA SHE SAID "BREAST") of Craigslist's apartment happenings.
In any case, I'm occasionally interested enough in a place to inquire via email. I've learned that places which seem too good to be true are usually located directly beneath a freeway, have no heat, or are Nigerian scams. Last week, I emailed about an apartment, and received the following note:
I did get your response concerning the AD I posted on craigslist. My name is Justin James, The House is still available but presently I'm not around.. I did bid for a portion of petroleum land sometimes ago in West Africa and fortunately I won the bidding so I have to move quickly down to Africa to have my company set up. I came over here with my wife, we both bought the House when we got married. Later we decided to have the House rent out, we would have give an agent this job also but the truth of the matter is that the agent would want to handle it professionally and the occupant may not be able to reason along with him later. I know there is no way I can be sure that you are the right person to live in the House because we won't be able to see physical before sending you the keys and the documents to occupy the space. But I just had a feeling that anyone who knows what it takes to put the kind of structure down should know that maintaining a building is mandatory, so if you belief you can take good care of the House and handle it like yours then I will be more than happy to let you rent the House if you can promise me & my family that you will sure take very good care of the House for us as if it was your own.
Please if you are ready now to occupy the House kindly provide the information below for record purpose.
Generally, of course, I would just delete this email. But, whimsical girl that I am, I instead borrowed a page from the playbook of the creative and hilarious Deanne Smith. I filled out his application and sent it back:
It is so good to be getting letter from you kind sir. I will take excellent care of your resplendent house should you choose to encrust it to me. I can guarantee absolute caring of the property. I took the time today at 8:53 pm to malapropism by. Here is the form which you have regressed:
RENT APPLICATION FORM
Full Name: Butch Wonders
Date of Birth: 17
Current Address: 867 Wall Street, Apt 9
Reasons for Leaving Current Apartment: I AM SICK AND TIRED OF ALL THE KOI IN THE POND OUTSIDE MY HOUSE. THEY EAT AND THEY EAT AND IT IS WAY TOO LOUD. I AM LOOKING FOR A QUIET PLACE WHICH YOUR HOUSE SEEMS TO BE. AS I UNDERSTAND IT, YOU HAVE NO KOI. IS THIS CORRECT? I CANNOT ABIDE KOI.
Are you married: I am not allowed to get married. I am a LESBIAN GAY.
Do you have a pet: yes, several
Do you have a car: yes, several
I look forward to hearing from you!
Anyone sane (or, say, in possession of a dictionary), wouldn't respond to a robot. But JJ decided to give me the benefit of the doubt DESPITE my intolerance for koi and my flagrant misuse of the English language, writing:
Thanks and i hope everything is going on well with you and your Work,i can see that you are very interested in renting my house,i want you to that your profile as been accepted by me and my family especially my wife she really want me to rent out this house to you but before i can do that i will like you to assure me that you will take very good care of my properties and that very thing will be kept in perfect condition
I will like you to know that you will have to make a down payment today so secure the house if you make the deposit payment today the keys and the document will be ship out to you tonight and you will be receiving the keys and the document first thing tomorrow morning around 9:30am. so let me know if i can forward you the payment information of my church secretary here in africa which you will be using to make the payment via WESTERN UNION LOCAL AGENT STORE AROUND YOU.
Do to the trust me and my family have in you we are ready to rent out our house to you if you can assure us about proper maintainance. let me know me if i can forward you the information on how you will be making the deposit payment right away. Thanks and God Bless.
Cool guy, right? I sent back the following email to learn a little more about this JJ fellow. You never can be too careful, after all:
That sounds great!! I can't wait to give you the money! But first, can you please fill out my landlord form?
1. Name (incl. middle names):
2. Is it okay if I have pets in the house?
3. What is your favorite kind of animal?
4. What is your favorite sports team?
5. Will you accept a gift from me if that gift is a lizard? (I raise gila monsters, which is a kind of lizard, and I have given them to landlords in the past as a show of good faith and happy wellness.)
6. Is it okay if I keep my shark tank in the apartment?
7. What are your views on gay rights?
8. What appliances does the apartment come furnished with? Specifically, I am interested in whether there will be a toaster, a microwave, and a quad-core Apple computer.
9. Can I paint the walls of the apartment black? I find that this calms the sharks.
10. How much do you think the apartment is worth, approximately, in Euros? I want to make sure I am getting a fair price.
Thanks, and I look forward to hearing back from you soon so that we can swiftly complete our goodly transaction!
I was afraid that this might be pushing it, and I wasn't sure I'd hear back from him at all. But JJ proved resilient:
1. Name (incl. middle names):- James Michael Justin
2. Is it okay if I have pets in the house? :-Yes
3. What is your favorite kind of animal?:-Cat and Dog
4. What is your favorite sports team? :-I love Manchester Utd
5. Will you accept a gift from me if that gift is a lizard? :- (I raise gila monsters, which is a kind of lizard, and I have given them to landlords in the past as a show of good faith and happy wellness.):I will and i will take care of it..
6. Is it okay if I keep my shark tank in the apartment?:- Okay.
7. What are your views on gay rights?:-I'm very grateful that gay rights is becoming more recognized in our society.
8. What appliances does the apartment come furnished with? Specifically, I am interested in whether there will be a toaster, a microwave, and a quad-core Apple computer.:- Utilities are there already but there is no apple computer there u can get one for your self all i have there is a dekstop.
9. Can I paint the walls of the apartment black? I find that this calms the sharks.:- No
10. How much do you think the apartment is worth, approximately, in Euros? I want to make sure I am getting a fair price.:- 653.727 EUR
So let me know if i can forward you the information on how and where to deposit the payment so that we can procced further..
Regards Await your quick response.
Regards await my quick response!
I have to admit that by this point, I was getting a little attached to my new friend. I mean, not only was he going to give me a "dekstop" (which I can only imagine is some new computer model by IKEA), but he promised to take good care of my gila monster. No black paint on the walls, though. I guess even a good guy like JJ has to put his foot down sometimes. Of course, I responded immediately, but I wanted to get to know him a little better, so I pumped him for more information:
Thank you SO much for your patience! Things are psychedelic at work, and as you might imagine, this makes me hobnob with incandescent co-workers.
I have a couple of follow-up questions. How much would you like for the deposit? I could just take all the money in my bank account and wire it to you in one lump sum.
1. You say that your favorite kind of animal is both "cat" and "dog." How is this possible? Isn't that like serving two masters, or having two wives? I don't understand. Would you say you are more of a cat person or a dog person?
2. Do you own any cats or dogs? If so, what are their names? (Attach photo if possible.)
4. I am SO happy that you will accept the lizard and take good care of it! Do you have an address I can send it to?
5. Would you prefer a male or a female lizard, and why?
6. What will you name your lizard?
7. Where do you intend to keep your lizard?
8. I am disappointed that I won't be able to paint the walls black. Can I paint the walls some other color, such as silver (with metallic paint) or purple (with natural dye from a lavender plant)?
9. Thank you for your views on gay rights! I couldn't agree more! I hope you don't mind me asking, but are you personally gay? If not, why not?
10. A practical matter: is a gardener included with the apartment? If so, what is her name? It will need to be a female gardner. Ideally she will be in good shape and garden in nothing more than shorts and a sports bra. Can you arrange for this?
I kind of figured that at this point, our communication might peter out. But although it took JJ a day and a half to respond, he rose to the challenge:
Thanks for the quick response and am glad to read back from you and i want you to know that you can make two month deposit rent upfront and as soon as you move in you will be sending the remaining balance to me, And as for my pets they both stay away from their self and their names are....Dog is called Lucy and my cat is called bra-tie so below is my secretary payment information,if the payment was sent out to him right away you will be receiving the keys and the document of the House first thing tomorrow Morning around 9.30am,I will like you to promise us that you will take very good care of the house for us
Below is the information to send the payment through Western Union Money Transfer Nearest You..
Receiver's Name: Julan Davis
Address : 101 Harvey Road Cresent
City : Victoria Island
State : Lagos
Country : Nigeria
And then he attached the following pictures:
To me, bra-tie the cat looks suspiciously like an Internet image. But then again, who would make up a name like "bra-tie?" I was especially intrigued with the idea that these animals are both able to somehow stay away from themselves. How metaphysically delightful! Still, there was some outstanding business to which JJ had not attended. I wrote the following, somewhat curt message:
You didn't answer all my questions. :-(
Within the hour, JJ came through like the trustworthy guy he has already proven himself to be:
Thanks for getting back to me and i will like you to send me a female one so that she will gave birth to more of it and the address you will be sending them to is 101 Harvey Road Cresent,Victoria Island and i will keep the lizard in my room also it will be named kassy and as for the paint you can paint it with silver,Am not a gay all because God created me just different from that...A gardener is not included...
No eye-candy gardener, but still. He has serious plans for Kassy the pregnant gila monster. (Something tells me that he might not have read up all too closely on gila monsters, though, if he wants to keep it in his room.) At this point, I wondered how many more questions I could get him to answer. This was getting fun. I wrote back:
What is your favorite book you have ever read? How about your favorite movie?
In no time at all, JJ answered:
Thanks for the mail and am glad to hear this from you my favorite book is A Tale of two cities... And my favorite movie is Prison Break....Regards
Admittedly, I did not see this coming. Not only am I impressed with his favorite book, but I love the idea that my faux-landlord's tastes are simultaneously so highbrow and lowbrow. Let's eat baked brie and follow it with pixy stix! Let's go see a Harold Pinter play, then hire a stripper! As a fan of the highbrow/lowbrow mix myself, I could tell that JJ was my kind of guy. Excitedly, I responded:
Wow, I love a Tale of Two Cities, too!! When did you read it? I feel like not many people read it these days. I highly recommend Zadie Smith's White Teeth, if you're a fan of Dickensian characters and complex plots--and also if you don't mind omniscience, which I think was out of vogue for some time, but is becoming popular again.
What is your personal philosophy about life?
Have you ever been in a parade? Have you ever wanted to?
If you had three wishes, what would they be? (Assume that you can't wish for more wishes.)
Little did I that our burgeoning friendship would soon come to an abrupt end. The next day, I received a doubtful inquiry:
Hello, Are you really interested in renting my home or you are playing on my intelligent..
I wrote back immediately, assuring JJ that I was most certainly not playing on his intelligent. But I don't think he believed me, because he wrote back two more emails--one saying that he would answer "no more question" until he received my money, and another telling me that he was "not here for a joke." I guess I thought that a scam was sufficiently akin to a joke for us to be buddies, but no. I have received no further communication from JJ, and I think that even after all we've been through together, we are destined to part ways.