My breast roommate

Communal vegans offer free room to a woman willing to nourish them with breast milk.

Published February 22, 2007 6:14PM (EST)

Ew ... the breast milk lobby just got a little bigger and a whole lot weirder. Yesterday Boing Boing noticed a posting on LawGeek that reprinted a classic in the Craigslist oeuvre of freakature: a listing for a free room in Berkeley, Calif., for a woman willing to provide breasts milk to a household of seven little dwarves -- no, sorry, seven communal vegans who have "recently read A.O. Wilson's study of the benefits of human breast milk to all human beings of any age."

Let's separate the curd from the whey for a moment: A.O. Wilson seems to be a restaurant supplier whose foray into human dairy products is as yet unknown. There's also a scientist named A.O. Wilson who writes about Zimbabwean nutrition, which, if I'm not mistaken, involves more cornmeal porridge than adult nursing. Evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson voiced his views about almost everything on this climate-changing earth, including the fact that the breast milk of the Inuits living in the Arctic has become toxic, so maybe he's the one promoting the frothy new libation?

The post goes on to reassure the potential Snow White Booby that "this is not sexual. Neither appearance nor sexual preference are of any concern to us." Nor do the virtuous vegans want to steal milk from a baby -- who, they add beneficently, would be "accepted" into the home as well. "We also don't need gallons of breast milk but whatever you can muster; it is a nutritional supplement for members of the house who want to partake."

Muster!!! For anyone who has ever pressed pump to nipple, this is a particularly unsavory word choice, with its images of little soldiers of good nutrients marching forth with every vigorous excretion. One can only imagine the "partakers" hovering around the fridge like vultures waiting for the next nutritional supplement. "Only two ounces today? Wow, your baby sure is hungry ... can't you muster a little more?"

The concept of adults drinking breast milk was a new one to me, but after a little research I see I'm woefully behind the lactating times. Seriously, there are studies -- including one much cited from Lund University in Sweden -- suggesting that something in breast milk kills cancer cells and could be the basis for many new cancer drugs. And at least one man from San Jose, Calif., made the news in 2005 when he claimed to have beaten prostate cancer from dutifully drinking tall glasses of mama milk bought from a local milk bank. There's also a fairly prodigious feeding fetish sometimes called "adult nursing" -- practiced by both couples and other enthusiasts.

Wet nursing goes back to the Code of Hammurabi from 2250 B.C., but the average communal vegans living in Berkeley? What do they need a bottle of breast milk for? Besides, isn't it against their vegan ethics to consume the bodily substances of other indentured creatures?

In related news: Two weeks ago a fascinating British study came out suggesting that breast-fed babies are more successful at moving up the social ladder (as defined by the 1996 International Standard Classification of Occupations) than their formula-fed peers (and siblings).

Who'd a thunk it? The latte's on me.

By Carol Lloyd

Carol Lloyd is currently at work on a book about the gentrification wars in San Francisco's Mission District.

MORE FROM Carol Lloyd

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Broadsheet Love And Sex