Dodding. So, what the hell is it anyway? For those unfamiliar with the term, the definition of the verb doss is “to sleep in a convenient place”. Translated for the Aussie in London, this means that when you crash in your mate’s spare bed or on the couch of the brother of that girl you hooked up with in Greece, you are ‘dossing’.
Not that dossing is something to be condemned. As mentioned earlier, everyone does it. Some people have even made an art form out of dossing! These “doss-perts” are capable of navigating their way through over six months of couch/spare bed hopping in London.
But for those virgin dossers, I present my four simple rules to doss by…
Dossing rule #1: Never arrive empty handed
Whether you like it or not, your presence on someone else’s couch will be an inconvenience. The moment they open the door to see you standing there bags in tow, they will instantly regret that they offered you somewhere to crash. It is your responsibility you relieve this regret by presenting them with a token of appreciation. Acceptable dossing gifts include: duty free alcohol, Tim Tams, Twisties, duty free alcohol, souvenirs from previously visited destinations, duty free alcohol.
Unacceptable dossing gifts: anything you’ve purchased at the off licence around the corner because you forgot.
Dossing rule #2: Pitching in is cheaper than a hostel
You are enjoying all the benefits of living in a house for free; the least you can do is contribute to the everyday cleaning of the place. If you’re sleeping on a couch or on a mattress in a communal area, once you wake up pack up your bed. This might seem like a pain in the neck especially if you’re staying for a week or two but it’s nothing compared to the pain of being politely asked to leave because your mate wants his living room back. Clean up after yourself whether it’s in the kitchen, bathroom or backyard. A good dosser is like a good umpire, you know they’ve performed well when you don’t notice them.
Dossing rule #3: “Do you want to come back to my mates place?”
Bringing “new friends” home while you’re dossing is a grey area. Firstly, “do you want to come back to my mate’s place where I’m sleeping on a futon?” isn’t the most attractive proposition in the world. More importantly the last thing your mate wants to consider when he sits down on his couch to relax in front of the TV is whether or not he needs to have it steam cleaned. There is no general rule, best to broach this subject early on in your dossing stay or not at all.
Dossing rule #4: There is a time limit
The simple mathematical equation below should be used as a rule of thumb for how long it’s acceptable to doss for:
L / P = DT
L = length of time, in months, you have known the person you are dossing with
P = number of people who live in the house you will be dossing at (i.e. the number of people you are going to inconvenience by staying there)
DT = the total number of consecutive days it is acceptable for you to doss for
This equation is thrown out the window if you are related to the person you are dossing with. If they’re a direct relative, you can stay for as long as you like or threaten to bring up how “they kicked you onto the street” every year at Christmas.