According to a recent survey by Rent.com of 1,000 people across America, 67% of people say that a nice apartment would make them more interested in a romantic partner, while 37% say a rude roommate is a deal breaker. Except for, maybe, in New York City, where a killer apartment can substitute for lack of chemistry and an intolerable living situation can almost be romantic when it's the abode of a scruffily bearded Brooklyn hipster. I know from experience. Here, my collection of bizarre, unfortunate anecdotes of what happens when love (or, let's be honest, lust) meets the weird world of New York City real estate:
Taking the Heat
I met a guy at a friend's birthday, and we really hit it off. We had the same sense of humor, were both training for triathlons, and, most importantly, were both single. I was so excited when he asked me out … and then he dropped the location bomb: He lived in Long Island. I have enough trouble dating guys who live in Brooklyn, so the hour-plus commute seemed like a dealbreaker. But then he said he had a pool. I was sold. I said yes to the first date, and spent most weekends that summer hanging out in his suburban paradise while my Manhattan friends complained about the heat. When the first cold snap of fall hit, I dumped him. Without the need for a pool, it was just too far away.
Let's Get Loud
I was dating an amazing guy. The only issue? He had chickens in his Brooklyn backyard that woke me up every single morning. I asked him to stay at my place, but he had a dog who needed to be walked, so it didn't make sense for him. Besides, he explained that after awhile I'd get used to the sounds of the chickens. He barely heard them. I don't know what he was talking about, because even with earplugs, all I could hear was pre-dawn squawking, which by the way is far more annoying than any truck backing up or people screaming on the sidewalk. I tried to make it work, but after my fifth day nearly falling asleep at my desk at work, I had to break it off.
Love Thy Neighbor
I once lived in an awesome Brooklyn apartment with a really weird landlady. When I started dating John, I was surprised he lived right around the corner from my old place. My former landlady used to read my mail, clean my apartment without my permission, and now that I'd moved out, had started drunk texting me about her life. Once I started spending nights at John's place, I was so afraid to run into her that I'd make us walk two blocks out of our way to avoid her. He thought I was paranoid. Luckily, I never ran into her while we dated, and when we broke up, I was almost sad that I no longer had that "will I see her drama" in my life.
Love in the Living Room
I had been out on a few dates with this guy when he invited me back to his place. We were out at a bar with his roommates, so we all hopped in a cab to go back to their apartment in Astoria. When we got upstairs I immediately noticed that there was a twin bed in the living room. His roommates headed into the two legitimate bedrooms leaving us alone in his living room/bedroom/closet. Shockingly, he didn't find this embarrassing at all and even offered to put the twin mattress on the floor so we could hook up. No thanks, dude. I obviously didn't want to seem shallow, so I stayed for a little before sneaking out in the morning. I never answered his texts again.
Making Love Last
My sublet was running out and I had two weeks before I could move into my real apartment. I felt guilty, but I absolutely tried to force a relationship with the guy I was dating, even though I wasn't all that into him. What I was into was his gorgeous Williamsburg loft. By the time the month was over, I had invited myself to live in his place for the two weeks between apartments. And once I'd moved to my new Upper West Side pad? I blamed the annoyingly long commute as the reason it would never work out.
I met a cute Brooklyn musician and, after a few dates, headed back to his place to hook up. When I got there, I realized he lived in a loft with six other musicians. There were no rooms, but every guy had their own area divided up with five-foot high office dividers. The guys could easily see over the "walls," but that didn't stop me from hooking up with him and spending the night. A few times during the evening, I knew some of his roommates were curiously peering over to see what was going on, but at that point, it was too late and too far for me to travel across Brooklyn and fall asleep in my own bed, so I dealt with it.
I dated a dude who lived with his female cousin. I didn't think that was weird, since it was a big apartment that was owned by one of their relatives. But one day early in the relationship, when I was sitting in the kitchen, my therapist walked into the apartment. Turns out, in one of those absurd plot twists that would work in a romantic comedy but is just tragic in real life: My therapist was his cousin. They had different last names and it had never come up, because why would it? I ended up breaking up with both of them.
Three's a Crowd
My boyfriend had an awesome apartment that was owned by him and his ex-girlfriend. She still lived there, and they had a good enough friendship that they'd decided to live together while they figured out the next steps. Most of the time, he came to my place, but one night, we were way closer to his apartment. His ex was watching a movie when we arrived, and she invited us to sit down on the couch and watch with her. And my boyfriend said yes! Maybe I was being paranoid, but I broke up with him the next day. I couldn't imagine how they could stay platonic in such a small space, especially when they had the same taste in movies and a very small couch.
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