Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In which I compare apartment hunting to online dating

The hunt continues.  "Having a relaxing evening at home" and "eating dinner before 9pm" have been replaced by "finding a place to live" and "eating dinner at 10pm"*, and we're seeing an average of one place per night. Sometimes two. It's a frustrating experience, as anyone who has ever had to look for an apartment will attest, filled with ups and downs and a bit of bipolarity, what with the high hopes and low expectations.

I imagine apartment hunting must be similar to online dating**. You wish there was a little more information in the listing, and maybe a picture that wasn't angled and slightly out of focus. You have to act quickly, to show interest without seeming desperate. Sometimes it's already taken by the time you send the first email. Sometimes it's ugly. Sometimes it's too small.

When you try to determine whether you want to take the next step, you recognize that it doesn't quite have everything you wanted, but decide you can probably make some compromises. Nothing is perfect, after all. You worry that if you choose something, you'll miss out on something better that comes along a few days later***.  If you're picky like me, you don't take the next step very often, because you are also stubborn and don't want to sacrifice things like hardwood floors or square footage.

You probably also get your hopes up, despite your best efforts to keep expectations low. You start picturing how your furniture will look in the space before you even see it, before you realize that "huge" and "spacious" are apparently synonymous with "under 700 square feet". Oops.

Eventually, you find something with enough of what you're looking for that it makes the compromises not seem like a big deal. These same things might turn out to be dealbreakers next time around, but for now, you pack your things and move forward.

*though to be fair, this isn't always because of looking for apartments. Sometimes I get home late because of pilates/ballet. And we do a pretty good job of trying to relax afterwards, even if it means eating late or watching one less DVR'd episode of Jon Stewart.
**disclaimer: my experience in online dating is entirely based on stories from friends. Blame any inaccuracies on them.
***It's easier to stop dating someone than it is to get out of a 12 month lease though, or so I've heard.

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  1. If only dating were like apartment hunting, then
    "carpet stains," "lack of closet space," "no lights in the upstairs,
    nothing going on downstairs," and "ex-girlfriend still lives here" would
    be readily apparent during a 10-minute walk through. And if only you
    got a few hundred dollar deposit back after a break up, instead of your
    old toothbrush, that book you lent him that he never read, and a shirt
    you forgot about.

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  3. Yes.  I can relate.  Looking at houses for rent is sort of the same thing.  Scary and slightly disappointing.  Not time right now, but I am always aware.

  4. Yep. Glad I'm not online dating while apartment hunting at least!

  5. This sounds oddly like my job-hunt (that has been ongoing for the past six months): the job descriptions are always vague, the pay is never listed (or is given as a range such as £18-25k per annum depending on experience) and the expectations are ridiculous (MUST HAVE at least an MA in sculpture or figure painting, 10 years of touring experience on large-scale musicals, full and clean driver's license (own car preferable), experience managing a large company or theatre company. Job: props assistant. Pay: £10k pro-rata for daily 4-hour commitments, touring expenses not covered). And when you say "fuggit" and apply anyway because there's nothing else, six weeks later you might get a form letter back apologising that, "We received over 500 applications for this post so sorry, but we cannot explain why yours was unsuccessful at this time, but thank you for your interest."  And you just want to scream. (£20k is a basic living wage in London.  Anything less and you'll probably lose money over time and there won't be enough for pension or student loan payments.)

    Erm, the way it is like my job hunt, by the way, is that you'll go through and there's not many gigs available, and the ones that are aren't exactly what you had in mind and the pay is terrible, but you worry that if on the off chance someone does hire you, five days after you start someone else with an amazing perfect well-paid job will call.

  6. That sounds eerily similar to my job hunt in 2009. I believe I applied for
    120 positions that summer and had interviews with 3 companies? 4 maybe?
    Sucks. Job/apartment/relationship hunting sucks. At least I've got 2/3 right
    now though! Silver lining! :)

  7. lol, wish you to find the most successful option that suits your expectations in nearly everything:) Id the right house is next to celeb's, go for it:)

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