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This is absolutely insane, isn't it? I mean, the whole prospect of splitting space and sharing homes with people we barely know.

I've mentioned that I'm looking for an apartment because my roommate was moving out of the country. I think I found a place, but... the whole prospect of the way you find space in NYC is just crazy. There aren't really efficiencies/one-person places in most areas which makes sense if you want anything more than a bedroom. Shared 2 BR only require one each of anything else. And I found a place that's --objectively-- exactly what I want. Decent sized bedroom, wonderful kitchen, just one roommate, within walking distance of the train, my general area, slightly cheaper than I'm currently paying but same basic range, generally what seems like a nice quiet building. The guy (and it is a male other roommate) didn't seem to want much in the moving in costs, just my half of the rent. He wants to do month to month (but is interested in it being longterm) until we work out if we get along rather than signing a lease that weds us together for a year.

Which is in a lot of ways exactly what I'm asking for and not much below what I can reasonably afford? He seemed very laid back and amenable and the place seemed somewhere I can be comfortable.

Which leaves me with the basic problem. What I want is apparently absolutely insane. I want to take a man I've exchanged a few texts with, met for a total of twenty minutes, and who didn't turn up in a basic Google search or sex predator search engine and turn his home into my home. I want to trust the man I hardly know at all not only won't be a bother to live with but that will actually be safe with. Because both he and the place seem nice. They do, but as a basic approach to living my life in a way that makes both me and my person safe, this seems absolutely insane.

But it's what we do, in cities. I'd actually rather life with a stranger than a friend because it would make it easier to avoid drama and respect each other's space, and I don't really know anyone looking for a roommate in my circle, certainly no one I'd want to inflict myself on. I don't know that many people well in town, and those few that I do all seem to have gotten married. I'm fairly sure I can't hope for better, and the place itself is quite nice - not perfect, but much better than where I live now.

I'm just having a bit of a wobble over the sheer absurdity of finding apartments this way. I mean, I went into a complete stranger's house today and let him shut the door behind him and absolutely nothing happened untoward, but this was a usual part of renting an apartment. And even that's probably a no-no on the "how not to get raped" lessons I'm pretty sure all single women internalize.

Fellow city-dwellers, am I off-base here? I mean, the guy didn't seem shady and the process didn't seem abnormal except for him not wanting a set commitment, and the idea of not committing to living together for a set term until we know we actually get on well makes sense. I think it's just an absurdly trusting process, the same way getting into some stranger's car and expecting to be delivered safely to your own house (even giving a stranger the address!) strikes me that way - yet it's normal city life. I think he's fine, and I certainly like the place.

** Part of the problem, probably: his name is also a girl's name, and so I was expecting a girl. Common male name too among Caribbean islanders, but I've never roomed with a man. He also is in fashion design, which I knew going in, and that contributed to the impression. Not categorically opposed to rooming with a man but it did catch me a bit off-guard, and it's probably sexist that I wouldn't think twice about rooming with a woman I'd never met, but here we are...

** Also, the Tumblrite in me is insisting I apologize for the ableist, or at least anti-mental illness, language. Don't mean to stigmatize, etc. I know better than most how the slang isn't actually a good description.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 8th, 2014 01:50 am (UTC)
Hello again from Brooklyn!

My work often brings me to the homes of complete strangers, including male strangers, and including male strangers with a known history of mental illness. I don't expend much anxiety on it, though I do take the basic precaution of always leaving address and contact info on the wall calendar in our kitchen (no matter what sort of person [sex, gender, history] I'm visiting). Partly, I trust my gut; partly, I have the security that most of these strangers are referred to me by someone known to me; partly, I'm mindful that the serial rapist / killer of strangers is rare, whereas the acquaintance/date/intimate partner rapist/abuser/killer is more typical. I would say that, if you've Googled the guy and not turned up anything alarming, and if interacting with him and seeing the way he keeps the space doesn't set off your Spidey sense, then the risk you're taking is a perfectly reasonable one. Not nonexistent, but then risk is never nonexistent.

Do you know Gavin de Becker's book "The Gift of Fear"? You can get it out of the library or, oh, I see Amazon has it as cheap as 1 cent plus shipping. A lot of women in my line of work have found it very helpful in deciding how to assess risk and realistically recognize danger signals, precisely so as to avoid unnecessary fear.

To join you in stereotyping: he's in fashion design? Um... the odds of his being straight are fairly low?
Dec. 8th, 2014 02:18 am (UTC)
Definitely no spidey senses going off here And you're absolutely right about the danger of stranger-assaults versus acquaintance/friend-assaults. I liked him, I liked the place and the way he kept it; he clearly hadn't had time to clean it more than he would normally (to be fair, we'd only finalized the time an hour before I showed up), and it seemed both livable and comfortable, and definitely nothing that alarmed me. He seemed nice and laid back to me, someone I would enjoy sharing space with.

Plus the kitchen. Actual counters. Sufficient cupboards, even a proper table where you can sit down at. That should not have me as excited as it does. But you know the city as well as I do.

I think I'm going to keep scouring CraigsList and if I find someone better in the next week or so I'll back out politely. I haven't actually signed anything and said I'd come by next week to manage that.But if I don't find anything better, the more I think about it the more satisfied I am with this place. There's a lot to recommend it.

As for that book, no I hadn't heard of it but just checked it out on Amazon. It seems really useful.

I definitely got a vibe in the sexuality area. He was wearing a wedding ring but told me it was so people didn't hassle him about dating. I said I didn't really date but of course didn't mind if he did (my politely noncommital way of saying I'm asexual and don't have any interest in that area of life; he said he just didn't want to date right now. He was also wearing a cross so he may be religious and closeted. Or he may be completely straight and I'm engaging in stereotypes. No way to know, really.
Dec. 8th, 2014 01:30 pm (UTC)
I lived with a bunch of male strangers in a boarding house for quite some time with no problems, other than the quickly-discovered need to keep toilet paper in by bedroom & take it with me if I wanted to be sure of having some when I went.

I had a few minor problems when living with a guy I did know, but nothing a firm "no" didn't take care of. (Male/female problems that is. Leaving filthy greasy gloves soaking in the bathroom sink for 24 hours and not doing dishes is a non-gendered issue.)

I lived with 4 guys of varying disability levels and 1 girl for an internship, and while there was an issue with piss on the toilet seat, it was the part-time nurse of one of the profoundly disabled guys who couldn't be bothered when emptying his bag.

The only actual bad experience I've had was with a guy who started out as a boyfriend, who said I could move in to save money and I'd have my own room & everything. The relationship, and my living there, ended about a month later.

So the tl;dr version is: if your instincts say it's fine, it's probably fine. Mixed-gender rooming isn't always trouble.
Dec. 9th, 2014 04:34 am (UTC)
He will hopefully be OK. I would want a female roomate so I would have to fret about being seen in my nightgown or something!
Dec. 15th, 2014 02:32 am (UTC)
I moved in with two complete strangers, one of which was a guy. Ken and I ended up becoming the best of friends. Worked splendidly for me!
Dec. 24th, 2014 07:45 pm (UTC)
Totally late to the party here, but my best roomate situation of all time was with a Random Guy. He worked weird hours (he did something with sattelite remote trucks for NY1), we hardly saw each other, we totally respected each others' space, and when we did cross paths, we actually enjoyed each other. One year, we were both at home on New Year's Eve, so we sat around on the couch eating junk food, and not even really interacting with each other, and out of the blue he said, "Dude, this is the best New Year's I've had in ages. I'm not drunk, No one around me is drunk, there's no drama, and my bed is 10 feet away." I had to agree with him; for a long time, that was my favorite New Year's Eve!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )



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