So you have a great house on Lake Norman and you’re wondering: Should I rake in extra dough by renting it to high-rollin’ Democrats in September? I say, “Why not?” The national Democratic convention is an opportunity that will probably never come here again, so go for it. After all, not all the delegates will want to stay in Charlotte’s uptown hotels with their Special Exorbitant September rates. Some of them may simply prefer a “home away from home” in a nice, natural setting. Whatever the delegates’ rationales, there’s no reason you shouldn’t profit from what our local media tells us is the biggest, most sensational, image-polishing (as well as traffic tie-uppingest and locals-inconveniencing-est) major, super-World-Class event in Charlotte-area history! There are already some websites devoted to matching homeowners with would-be Democratic renters, including dncdig.com and dncrental.com. They do a good job, but if you’d rather keep the agency’s percentage for yourself, remember that it’s important to know whom you’re renting to and what to expect. There’s a wide variety of Democratic delegate types for you to consider, so here is a handy guide to the various Democratic sub-groupings to help you along.
State and County Officials What to expect: These people are often automatically picked for national political conventions, so don’t be surprised if they exude a sense of entitlement that’s strong enough to knock you down. They may ask for all kinds of “extras,” including hot tubs, in-house masseurs, and the key to your liquor cabinet. What to avoid: Look for the reddish facial tint known as “liquor burn,” cigarette burns on their clothes, or excessive gold jewelry. What to look forward to when they leave: A clean house overall, with possible “barroom smell” (or conversely, a “bleached” odor), and a need for a major investment in new booze.
Feminist Activists What to expect: Contrary to popular stereotypes, feminist activists can throw down a serious party. But on the whole, the byword is “serious,” as in serious about women’s rights and just about everything else, so they are likely to be respectful of your property. What to avoid: Younger women with anarchy symbol tattoos. What to look forward to when they leave: A clean home (Lord knows women love housework, right?) [THIS IS SATIRE! PLEASE DON’T HIT ME!] Also, expect some possible residual patchouli scent.
African-American Politicos with Money What to expect: Hard working, but sporting amazingly stylish clothes, AAPWMs will give your house a cachet of hipness while keeping it intact. What to avoid: Cigar smokers or men who wear too much Polo Double Black cologne. Seriously, ask. What to look forward to when they leave: Whatever you’d expect after renting to white politicos with money -- you think I’m racist or something? OK, plan to open the windows to reduce any leftover Polo Double Black fumes, but other than that, you’re good.
Union Officials What to expect: Big, burly but friendly guys with their big, burly but friendly wives. The guys use old-school hair oil rather than gel, and they may request a commitment from you to hire a unionized maid service for the duration of their stay. What to avoid: Anyone wearing an “I Buried Hoffa In Five Different Places” button. What to look forward to when they leave: A spotless home (if you remembered the unionized maid service), or else a horse head in the master bedroom.
Old Hippies What to expect: Remember that for many of these Democrats, it’s still the late 1960s, so they may ask if it’s OK to sleep out on your dock because “we love the stars, man.” They’re mostly a peaceful, pleasant bunch, however, as long as they don’t mix your alcohol supply with, um, whatever they bring. What to avoid: Anyone with an “X” carved into his or her forehead. What to look forward to when they leave: Soggy sleeping bags on your dock, small pages of blotter paper with parts torn off, and remnants of an apparent granola explosion in the kitchen.
Corporate Honchos/Wall Streeters What to expect: Arrogant dweebs with phony smiles and hatchet eyes. They will ask for – sorry, they will demand the earth and sky. When you refuse to provide it for them, they’ll mention certain “foreclosure experts” in their employ. What to avoid: Corporate honchos and Wall Streeters. What to look forward to when they leave: They now own your house, and plan to burn it for the insurance money.
John Grooms is an award-winning writer and editor, and author of “Deliver Us From Weasels,” a collection of essays and musings.