I suffer from severe, excruciating menstrual cramps. During this period, I depend on ibuprofen to get through the day and I take hot showers of approximately 20-30 minutes to ease them at night. Girls who have this issue will know I am talking about.
Knowing that I would have this problem during my stay in Miami, I specifically booked a private room with a private bathroom so that I would be able to take these long hot showers without inconveniencing other guests. One night, my host and his mother came knocking on my room door while I was in the shower. They confronted me for taking an excessively long shower, telling me that as a result of my shower there was no more hot water in the rest of the house.
I was shocked and confused, because nowhere in the house rules or policy did he state any restriction on shower time. Of course, if he had stipulated such a rule in his listing, it would have been perfectly reasonable for him to stop me for exceeding the time limit. I probably would not have booked his place in the first place anyway. I had never encountered any other host, or anyone for that matter, whose house ran out of hot water as a result of someone taking a 20-30 minute hot shower. Furthermore, I was staying alone in a room that was meant for two guests, and I definitely wasn’t using more water or power than what two guests combined would have used.
Even after I explained my problem with cramps to him, he was not understanding or empathetic at all, insisting that I was inconsiderate and using up his water and power supplies excessively. One particular rule that this host had was that guests must not do laundry in his bathroom. Fair enough. I refrained from washing my jeans, pants, jackets, blouses, singlets, bras, and T-shirts. But this was Miami, where you go to the beach. When you go to the beach, your swimsuit gets soaked in seawater.
When I got back to my room after an evening of paddle boarding, I rinsed my swimsuit and shorts in the bathroom sink to get rid of the seawater. I also washed my panties every day for hygiene purposes. I hung these up to dry in the bathroom. The host and his mother inspected the room the moment I left for breakfast. He then came down and confronted me for doing laundry in his bathroom. I’m not sure what he expected… for me to leave my period panties and seawater-soaked swimsuit and shorts hanging in the room unwashed? Maybe that’s normal to him – but to me that’s just gross and unhygienic.
The worst thing was he later told me that he had taken photos of my “daily laundry” as evidence that I broke his no-laundry rule, i.e. he had taken photos of my panties and my bikini. How disturbing can that be? Finally, he accused me of being impolite and unfriendly to his elderly mother. His English is bad, but his mother’s English is worse. In fact, she cannot speak English at all – she cannot even understand something as basic as “how are you?”. All I could do was to smile and say “hi” when I saw her. There was no way I could have managed a conversation with her due to the language barrier.
My stay in Miami could have been perfect, but this host’s bizarre and unreasonable expectations and behaviour left me extremely distressed and uncomfortable.