Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Think He Nose

(What follows is a craigslist blurb I posted advertising a room to rent in NYC, and some of the 50+ responses...)


$650 Affordable, beautiful room in Chelsea for tolerant soul


First, thanks for reading my post. I know you have a lot of places to choose from, and I’m pleased that you’re considering ours. My name is Rebecca, and I’m writing with a pretty wonderful offer on a beautiful home in Chelsea.

I live with my husband, Vincent, in our lovely two-bedroom walk-up on west 22nd street. We’re looking to rent the other room, which is approximately 17 x 20 and fully furnished. Vincent and I are committed to making this apartment a “home,” and therefore we would be looking for someone who could be friendly and engaging around the apartment. In this scenario, the right person is everything, which is why we’re only looking for $650 in rent, utilities included.

Your room has a built-in air conditioner, an ample closet, and an oriental rug Vincent and I like to keep clean. You can feel free to bring any pets you want, although we currently have none. We only ask that you don’t smoke in the house.

When I said before that the right person is everything, what I mean is that you must be tolerant. You see, my husband Vincent, the love of my life, has a congenital physical defect (although I consider it an 'attribute') that can repulse people with closed minds. What I mean to say is this: Vincent has a second nose. It sits directly above his “normal” nose, between his eyes, with the one nostril spanning the area between his eyebrows. Yes, you read that correctly: the second nose has only one nostril. It is vaguely in the shape of a “half” nose. To get an idea, use a piece of cardboard or other material to cover one half of your nose, vertically, and look in the mirror. Then pretend the half-nose you see is located near your brow.

It would be easy, and cruel, for you to make fun of this structural anomaly, but the truth is that it’s given Vincent a heightened sense of smell. He’s become one of the top wine tasters in all of Chelsea, and it’s likely this wouldn’t have been possible without the second nose, as smell is crucial in wine tasting.

Anyway, the roommate would have to be able to deal with this defect (which I admit can be visually ‘surprising’) like a true gentleman or gentlewoman. There can be no jokes made at his expense, or even signs of discomfort. We are looking for someone who can embrace the difference, as the French say. In your reply, please indicate experiences in your life which would prepare you to deal with Vincent’s second nose.

As a last bit, please be aware that you must avoid any strong odors within the house. Even the slightest smell of incense in your room, or a wet newspaper, will set Vincent off. Again, his sense of smell is incredibly strong. A group of scientists once measured the actual distance of his odor-detecting mechanisms, and it turned out he could smell cooking bacon up to three miles away. And that’s with no wind. There may even be a documentary in the works, but we’re still in the discussion stages.

Okay, thank you for reading! Please e-mail me back if you’re interested in the room. Let me know what kind of music you like. A love for mountain biking is a huge plus! Thanks,



Gloria says...

hi, i'm looking for a ny apartment and yours sounds great!

what i would like, please, is a pic of vincent's face. i need to know if i can handle it or not. thank you so much, have a great night!

Dominic says...

Rebecca, the place sounds great. I love unique bodies. I'd love to check out the place sometime soon.

Zosia says...

I am interested in your room in your house and I would love to see some pictures of the space if you have them. About your husband, I love wine and if he knows the best wine I can't wait to meet you both. I am also interested in teaching special needs students and while I understand that your husband is fully functional many times in my life I have had experiences with people that have extreme congenital physical defects, and for me there is never anything wrong just different.

Jared says...

Hello! Your letter was so...intriguing. First off, I want to commend you for your honesty and your obvious devotion to your partner; it is quite refreshing. I would love to live around people who obviously have a highly developed sense of empathy and tolerance. I am used to judgements being made and having to feel as if I am not "normal", so I can definitely understand the need for looking beyond the surface.

Matt says...

I'll start of by saying, I for one deeply appreciate a quality glass of wine,
but know little about discerning the subtle hints of flavor that distinguish different bottles and kinds of wine. It would be a delight to call such a renowned expert my roommate.

But let's be upfront here. As humans we are trained before we can speak to suddenly find fasnition in that which we've never seen before. And hopefully, with consciousness, we learn to embrace that and not dwell or reject that. That is to say, I've seen stranger things, especially in the behavior of other people.

It's all about communication and respect. I for one in all honesty don't mind the smell of a skunk. One man's aroma is another's fine perfume. So as long as Vincent is ok expressing his discomfort with a smell, I'm more than fine with minding how much garlic I put in my soup (not that I'm all that big on garlic) if you know what I mean.

To conclude. If you want to talk briefly about my experience with other's with 'abnormalities' I seriously dated a girl that had a sister with down syndrome. I've had midget friends. Heck, I myself have an abnormal fear of
uncooked chicken.

Kelly says...

You are offering a great deal on rooms, and although I am fairly intolerant, I do love mountain biking!

Ok that was a joke.

Anyway I am moving to New York fairly soon, around June 15th, and would love to meet you and Vincent and check out both properties, if they exist and are still available.

Wish I had Vincent's noses, so that I could smell whether this was fake or not. Hope for the best!

Marco says...

As for Vincent, truly I find it rather remarkable. Growing up gay, I learned to cherish tolerance, and appreciate open people. I am very accepting of everything, and pride myself in my ability to adapt to, and appreciate different people and situations. Also, my mom is becoming a sommelier, and is quite the wine conoisseur. I myself enjoy wine very much (even though the drinking age in the USA is 21). For him to have such a big talent with wine tasting is very interesting. It reminds me of the movie Perfume, I'm sure you've seen it.

David says...

I debated writing you for some time because my own experiences both academically and professionally have been drawn together by questions of varying physical, medical, and societal difference, inequality, but also parity. As an anthropologist I have investigated religious practices in certain subarctic tribes in which hermaphroditic individuals are allotted a vital position as shamans and facilitators of religious expression. Working in a community health center, the level of ridicule reserved for those with childhood obesity struck me as comparable to the ridicule endured by those with physical disabilities. I actually began thinking about this while watching a friend’s production of “The Miracle Worker” (it’s about the life of Helen Keller if you’re not familiar with it). I recently began studying ancient Greek and again it seemed remarkable that while certain states in ancient Greece were notoriously intolerant of difference (the Spartans exposed children thought to be too deformed to have a place in their world) one of the most celebrated Greek deities (Hephaestus) is recognized by his disability as much as by his blacksmithing. All this by means to say that much of my relationship to difference is also a process of individual discovery: if I were unable to extend my mind around physical and societal difference I’m not so sure there would be any hope for my own redemption. I mean this not in a religious sense, but more in the sense of a reckoning.

Brian says...

I love to ride my bike around the city and on trails. I also enjoy hiking as well. I am fond of a wide variety of live music, in particular I like jazz, funk, and rock. Last week I went to see the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

In no way do I see Vincent as having a problem, rather an advantage. Everyone has something valuable to offer; it sounds like Vincent is blessed with an exceptional gift.

Kate says...

I cannot imagine having any difficulities with you and your husband. Its sounds like you two have a beautiful marriage and I am not the type of person to engage in any kind of disrespect. As you said, "celebrate the difference". Bottom line, from me, you will never have a problem. As I said before, I work as a bar manager and have been learning about French and Californian wines, so I would be interested to learn anything your husband has to share about wine tasting.

Steven says...

I'm very interesting about your annoncement.
I send you a picture of me during the work of chefs de france ( Epcot Florida .)
I'm very clean guy , serious , professionel
For the smell , i won't cook a lot in the appartement that is to say i gonna eat in the restaurant where i gonna work.
By the way i will bring him a good french wine.

Willie says...

I have simply 5 rules of buddism to make my life and others easy.

1.No kill or harm to anyone.
2.No steel.
3.No cheating on couple.
4.No lie,no gossip,
5.No drink or drugs (but now I have to taste wine for my job)

Julie says...

I'm definitely a tolerant soul. I appreciate our differences and the unique perspective our life experiences allow us to offer one another - it one of the things that makes life rich and textured.

Lauren says...

I do wear perfume. None of those yucky cheap sents. I wear a chanel perfume, a juicy couture one, and sometimes a calvin cline as well. On occasion, I burn very light, clean sented candles....like clean cotton from yankee candle...nothing heavy sented at all.

Linda says...

Do you have any photos?

Joe says...

As for Vincent and his attribute, more power to him. I have the defect of having only one nose, so if that is alright with him and he doesn't make fun of my inept sense of smell, I would love to live with the both of you.

Michelle says...

First of all, are you serious or is this post a joke?
If it’s not a joke, I am interested in seeing the place. I don’t care about body parts for a sweet deal in the west village, if this is really for real, but I’m sorry, your post just sounds like a hipster making a documentary.

David says...

I'd first like to say that I'm so sorry to hear about Vincent's condition and you sound like a strong and goodhearted woman. I think I would make the perfect candidate for your new roommate. I am very clean, I don't smoke at all, and I've been told before that I don't even have an odor! (My friends might have just been trying to be nice) I am not judgmental at all. In fact, my mother and younger brother are both retarded and look, as you might say, shocking. When we're are all the dinner table trying to eat and they have their tongues hanging out from the side of their mouths like bad shaved poodles with bells palsy I just keep chewing, shut my eyes, and then I try my best to swallow without throwing up all over them. All over my family. So, I hope that we can make this work!

Tyler says...

How does Vincent feel about D&G light blue? It’s my favorite perfume. Other than that I think things would be okay.

Don’t be fooled by the name, I guess my parents wanted a boy.

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