6 Ways Apartment Hunting Is Like Dating

I’m on my third month of living in a new apartment on New York City’s Upper East Side. No, it isn’t the Gossip Girl Upper East Side (I would have tracked down a Nate Archibald look-alike if that were the case), but it still makes me have all these disgustingly sappy “I love New York” feelings. I’m going to refrain from sharing any examples because I prefer to keep my dignity intact. Actually, you can have this one: on my last nighttime flight into LaGuardia, I purposely played “Empire State of Mind” as we flew over the city’s twinkling skyline. I’m that girl now.

I found my new place via Craigslist. While conducting my search, I realized apartment hunting in NYC is pretty comparable to dating in that they can both be insanely exciting but also soul-crushing enough to turn you into a nihilist. Here are a few of the most striking similarities:

  1. Your best behavior fades away into depravity. You show up to a viewing and are imbued with a sense of promise. “I would always hang up my clothes the second I took them off, if I lived here! There’s a gym nearby! I can become super fit!” A few months later, you’ll find yourself committed to the same underwhelming habits you had before moving in. Much like being on your best behavior when you want to impress someone, that shiny facade will eventually crack and show your true colors. Wherever you go, there you are. Don’t fight it.
  2. There’s always a better offer right after you become exclusive. The day after I agreed to live in my current place, a woman responded to one of the many Craigslist feelers I had thrown out. Her place was also on the UES for around the same price, but the bedroom was huge, the roommates seemed very into women’s issues, and they had a cat (all the cuddles, none of the responsibility). I’m happy with where I live now, but I’ll always wonder what could have been. Whether in living situations or love, everyone has the one that got away.
  3. You’re optimistic in the beginning. “Looking on the bright side” is a euphemism for “being in intense denial.” I currently live in a 6th floor walkup. I am going to have the best ass ever, I thought when trying to convince myself that beyond not being a big deal, all those stairs could even be a good thing. Actually, that 6th floor walkup just means I really have to push myself to venture outside for tacos. They obviously offset any positive ass benefits I would reap from the physical act of going to get them. This is like when you ignore that a guy looks and acts like he’s the missing link, all because he’s your best option at the time.
  4. Your emotions are all over the place. I would get so excited to wake up every morning and peruse Craigslist, thinking maybe my perfect find would be posted that day. Then I’d send out a new batch of emails, hopefully wait to hear something, refresh my email like mad, finally get pouty, receive a rush of replies and get excited…rinse, wash, repeat. From what I’ve heard, this sounds suspiciously like online dating.
  5. You love the hard-to-get ones the most. I still remember one ad I read that convinced me I had found not only roommates, but my best friends for life. “We would be PERFECT together!” I remember mentally shrieking, jabbing away at my keyboard and composing a blasé response. I tried to tamp down my enthusiasm but it must have oozed through the screen somehow, because I never heard back. It’s like meeting an unattainable guy you can immediately see yourself dying holding hands with when you’re 90. He knows what you’re thinking. You scared him.
  6.  The wait is agonizing. Whether it’s after a first date or an apartment showing where you thought you really clicked, you will start glaring at your suddenly silent phone while waiting to hear from the object of your affection. It will taunt you. You might even text your best friend, “hey, did you get this?” “Ya, why?” she’ll respond. Now you can’t even delude yourself into thinking you have a defective phone. More silence. Then, PING! You snatch it up and realize, complete with a dejected sigh and slump of the shoulders, it’s your mom. Been there (love you, mom, but sometimes the timing was just off), so I can say with authority that they either will get back to you or they won’t. Piercing your phone with a serial killer gaze won’t change that, so put it away and stop freaking out. Before that, though, text your mom back, apologize for being a brat, and tell her how much you love her.

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