Get Paid to Share Your Stuff With Strangers

If you need to make a little extra cash this year, and can keep your hands to yourself, you should try this new money-making scheme called "hot bedding." 

Hot bedding is not that thing where you break wind on your partner's half of the bed while they're in the bathroom. It's where you rent out half of your bed to someone with the complete understanding and pinky-swear promise that there will be no physical contact, kissing, heavy petting, or intimacy of any kind. You're not even allowed to snuggle up for warmth and companionship.

This was bound to happen. It took Airbnb and VRBO to make renting out your house or a room to strangers acceptable, and now people buy homes strictly for the purpose of renting them out to vacationers.

Except Airbnb now charges all kinds of crazy fees, including a few hundred bucks for cleaning, but you're still expected to clean the place before you leave. This is why people are falling in love with hotels all over again.

Before that, there was the practice of paying someone to sleep on their couch. On the website,, travelers — mostly backpackers and young tourists — could search for a host with a couch available for them to crash on for a very low price. It made travel affordable for people who needed a place to stay after a concert, while driving across the United States, or anyone who was backpacking around Europe as a way to "find themselves."

You just went online, searched for a couch in the city you were traveling to, and then both of you went to sleep and hoped that neither one of you was a serial killer. Or that if you did kill your guest, you didn't ruin your couch.

A few years later, someone else had the idea to make a person's car available for short-term rental. If you only needed it for a few hours, you could rent a stranger's car as long as you didn't mind the smell of wet dog and farts. It was also ideal for anyone who had to transport a dead backpacker.

Around that same time, Uber and Lyft became popular. These are ride-sharing companies where you can hire a private citizen to give you a ride across town or home from a bar or a concert.

Of course, this is a less attractive option for transporting the dead backpacker, since you now have to deal with witnesses.

People liked sharing so much, they started sharing workspaces, and coworking spaces sprang up around the world. Entrepreneurs and remote workers can rent a desk for a month, work there as little or as much as they like, and you can cancel whenever you want.

You're no longer bound by a years-long lease, you don't pay for utilities, and most spaces have free coffee and snacks. You could just graze on snacks all day long, and get your steps in walking from your desk to the snack station. Of course, despite all that walking, you'll put on ten pounds in the first month.

Coworking is also where the term "hot desking" was born — a term I absolutely hate for its needless verbing of nouns into mindless business jargon. Why not "desk hopping," "desk surfing," or "take any open seat?"

Rather than getting assigned a regular desk to call your own, you grab whatever desk is free when you arrive. It's like working in a coffee shop every day, only the staff is less surly and has fewer tattoos. And did I mention the free snacks?

We're not just sharing cars and desks now, we can now even share people. If you know where to look, you can find someone who will share themselves with you. I'm not talking about the world's oldest profession. Instead, it's the job of a professional cuddler. This is a person you can hire to hug, snuggle, and cuddle you for an hour.

It's completely platonic, and both parties have to agree that there will be absolutely no sexual or intimate contact. Instead, you can experience the physical embrace of another human being for $80 to $150 for an hour.

The cuddlers are usually women, and the clients tend to be middle-aged men who feel they don't get enough physical touch in their lives. They go to their cuddler, spend an hour on the couch or on the bed, and will just talk and be held.

Which brings us back to "hot bedding." Take hot desking, couch surfing, and a little Uber and Airbnb, and you've got the ability to rent the other half of someone's bed. No cuddling, no touching, and definitely none of "that." You can sleep in someone's bed for around $150 – $200 per week, which is definitely a lot cheaper than a hotel or even renting a room from someone. And they won't make you clean the house before you leave.

And who knows? Maybe this is someone you can become friends with and get their help with some of your personal problems.

Because you still have that dead backpacker in your rental car.

Photo credit: (Creative Commons 0)

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available from 4 Horsemen Publications. You can get the ebook and print versions here.