On Friday, a colleague passed along this Craigslist post titled “To the Georgetown student with the snarky remark on the Metro (you got off on Gallery Place/Chinatown).”
In the post, which has now been removed from Craigslist, a supposedly older man calls out a younger woman for turning him down after he asked her out on the Metro. “It might not be a good idea to flip back with ‘You couldn’t afford my tastes,'” he writes. “I will make more money in September than you’ll make in your first 3 years out of school, sweetie.”
He continues by telling her she should run back to her dorm to eat Ramen noodles; meanwhile, he’ll be long in his “$800K home with my chef making me lunch.”
I tweeted a screenshot of the post on Friday afternoon; by this morning, it had been retweeted over 700 times and received over 900 replies. It even sparked its own Reddit thread.
So, uhhh…anyone know this dude? ? pic.twitter.com/2vR1r5ng62
— Mimi Montgomery (@mimi_montgom) September 13, 2019
To preface, I am not cool enough on Twitter (or in general, really) to typically elicit this kind of engagement, so clearly this post struck a nerve with the online world.
While there were plenty of discussions about the general creepiness of the post and its reeking of toxic masculinity, what really surprised me were how many people used it as a launch pad to talk about the staggering price of DC real estate.
lollllll who thinks "800k home" is a flex in dc? ☠️
— Jason Shevrin (@jasonshevrin) September 13, 2019
$800,000 won't even get you a townhouse in DC are we really supposed to be impressed?
— Laynie (@penstone) September 13, 2019
I think we can all agree it’s expensive to live in and purchase a home in Washington (for reference, the median listing price for a house in DC is $598,870, according to Zillow). My parents recently listed my five-bedroom childhood home in a small North Carolina town for roughly the same amount as a two-bedroom condo in Northeast, a source of endless fascination for them whenever I call home. And sometimes, on slow Sunday afternoons on the couch, I wistfully click through the floorpans of apartments in smaller cities, a kind of absentminded torture akin to picking at a scab.
All this to say—I understand the fixation with the cost of urban living, with the lack of affordable housing. And I understand the ridiculousness of comparing an $800,000 home in DC with the likes of a mansion (not to say that an $800,000 home in DC isn’t nice—I’d love to live in one! It’s just not, you know, going to be MTV Cribs nice).
But don’t you think there’s something else we should be putting at the forefront of our discussions about this Craigslist tirade? Sure, it may be fictitious (as some folks online pointed out), but it does present a scenario that’s all-too familiar: an older, seemingly more powerful man using his privilege as a means of asserting authority over a woman.
That to me seems like the pressing issue to examine when talking about this post. With additional allegations surfacing against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the fallout from Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide still echoing, it’s important to ensure that we make addressing and dissecting instances of toxic masculinity a priority. Otherwise, we run the risk of even more creepy douchebags approaching young women on the Metro and posting ego-maniacal tirades on Craigslist (or, you know, being elected to government positions. Either, or.).
To be fair, earlier this year Metro launched a campaign to help stop harassment, emphasizing the importance of reporting incidents when they happen. This step is crucial, as last year a survey uncovered that only half of Metro riders report harassment when they experience it, according to a Washington Post article.
These are steps in the right direction, but we can always do more. Speaking as an aforementioned young woman, I want to spend my free time on the Metro hate-stalking Zillow posts and reading stupid articles about K-Beauty products, not keeping my guard up for angry men with a chip on their shoulder. So, let’s make sure we’re holding them accountable, okay? We’ve all got bigger things to focus on.