Knowingly or not, we all start with a wish-list.
In a safe neighborhood, close to work, southern light, hardwood floors, a full bath with tub, maybe a small study. A patio would be nice, but it’s gotta be under $1,700 a month.
He should be taller than me, make me laugh, have a positive outlook, enjoy good food and wine, want kids, love cats(or be open to learning to love them) doesn’t live with his parents, can support himself and maybe a family (so I have the option of staying home when we have kids).
I’ll know the right one when I see it.
We believe our expectations are realistic.
It’s a renters market. It’s not like I’m trying to live in SoHo or Meat Packing. No way am I paying security deposit, first month’s rent, last months rent and a 15% broker fee. It’s not like I’m looking for a water view and walk in closets!
I’m a catch! I work out, have a good job, am well-traveled and have a wicked sense of humor (I like to think). It’s not like I’m looking for a millionaire or require model good looks.
I only want what I deserve.
We diligently scour listings to find the right match.
Navigating them isn’t easy. Buzzwords abound. Quaint like a Parisian café along the Left Bank or quaint as in has lots of “character” (aka run-down).
Does “average” mean average. Or is it code for “I’ve had 12 too many beers every night since college and carry it around my belly like an inner tube”?
We’ve all come across that listing that seems too good to be true. Every requirement met.
The trick is not getting too excited. No imaging what your kids will look like or where the sofa will go. You’ll never truly know until you’re there in person. Photographs lie.
As years pass, friends and family tell us to be open-minded.
Brooklyn? Jersey City? What are you talking about I’m a Manhattan girl. I’ve got Sex In The City written all over me!
They may not say anything to you directly. But suddenly you’ll get set-up on a blind date and upon meeting said date immediately think “seriously? Is this what they think I’m worth? Don’t they think I deserve better than this?” (WARNING: When the only thing they can think to tell you about the guy is that he is really “nice” and “funny” run for the hills).
A friend of E___’s I met recently told me his theory about dating. “It’s about reaching your personal equilibrium,” M____ said. “We think we are about 20-30% better than we actually are. It’s about level setting.” Is he right? Can someone like me who often undersell herself have an inflated sense of my “equal.” Does this theory apply to house-hunting? Maybe we need to increase our budget by 20-30% to get an apartment even close to what we envisioned?
We persevere, unwilling to give up the dream of having it all.
We’ve all heard about the friend-of-a-friend living in some second cousin’s grandmother’s old apartment paying $900 a month for a two-bedroom with a terrace in the heart of the West Village.
We know of people who’ve found their soul mate in the most unexpected of ways. A girl from college met her husband-to-be (a very hot Italian) backpacking through Europe. She didn’t speak Italian and he didn’t speak English. I attended their wedding. They currently reside in Rome with two adorable bambinos.
When I mention these things to my friend N____ she quickly responds, “You don’t lead your life believing you’re going to win the lottery do you?” “Um…no…” She has a point.
I have a career, not just any old job.. I support myself. I don’t live foot-loose and fancy free convinced I’m sure to win the big one.
Eventually, horizons are broadened.
I don’t really need a patio. And Williamsburg is only 5 minutes away from Union Square on the L. I’ve timed it. Numerous times.
The age-range on my match.com profile is expanded and height requirements lowered. Maybe I should give Nerve a try. Maybe they aren’t all drummers living in their parent’s New Jersey basement.
I date sculptors living in studios decorated with found furniture; look at apartments in the hinterlands of Brooklyn. It makes me uneasy. It doesn’t feel right. I fear being molested after dark.
At the end of the day the list is a bunch of crap. I could find the “perfect” apartment, or man, that delivers against all my metric for success but still – nothing. No excitement, no butterflies. Zip.
That’s because one very important (some would argue necessary) ingredient to determining if we will love a place or a man cannot be quantified. Chemistry.
The floor in the bedroom slopes? He’s shorter than me? Really? Who knew! If chemistry is there, you can live without most of the things on that list. You won’t even notice they’re not there.
So there’s the rub. Chemistry is elusive. It’s not obvious. We may never find it if we stick to our lists too closely.
So what now?
I continue to believe the right guy is out there for me someplace. But like that lottery slogan goes “You‘ve gotta be in it to win it,” so I guess this means trying to find places single guys hang out (Sports bars? Ugh.).
Although, I do know a guy who met his wife in his living room. Seriously. His roommate’s girlfriend brought a friend over and the rest is history…
But since I don’t have a roommate (of the fur-less variety), I guess that means I’m gonna have to get out more!