Good apartments, like men, are hard to find

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Originally published in the July issue of gayzette.

I knew this day was coming. It is the day I’ve dreaded all year. Really, I should have been prepared for it. It’s practically an annual event for most of us 20-nothings. And from what I can gather, I’m not alone when I say this event is no walk – or trick – in the park. It’s neither a holiday nor a family function. It’s neither a trip to the dentist nor the STD clinic. No, this party for one is far more traumatic, with much longer lasting repercussions.

It’s the day I must begin apartment hunting. And it is the beginning of the end – for an entire calendar year – for any and all options of where I’ll be inviting my tricks too.

For the record: I’m very excited to be moving. For the first time in two years I’ll be living alone. I’ve had amazing and life changing experiences with all of my roommates. However, as I enter a new stage of life – a.k.a. adulthood – I have come to the decision to live solo. But, the entire process of finding and moving from Point-A to Point-B can be mind numbing, tedious, scary, disappointing and all together exhausting.

Sort of like dating isn’t it?

We’re all searching for Mr. Right. And we’re all on the hunt for the perfect apartment. And finding just one of the aforementioned is more than difficult. But to be looking for both at the same time is overtime in the job called life. Sure the reward for the effort is worth it but effort is redefined by these two regular practices of single boys.

Several people have told me the best way to find an apartment is to first list your needs and wants and then narrow your list of prospects from there. Let’s review.

I need to find an apartment that won’t be more than $600 a month factoring in utilities. I need to have a parking spot. I need to have a Denver address. I need room for most if not all of my furniture. I need to feel comfortable and safe (not that there are too many neighborhoods in the Mile High City I find scary, but there are a few). I need easy access to downtown, Cherry Creek, 17th Avenue and Walnut Street. Oh, and how could I forget: closet space.

As far as what I want in an apartment: I’d like my new pad to be somewhere west of Colorado but no more east than Federal. I’d prefer it to be north of Evans and south of 38th Avenue. I’d prefer a one bedroom as opposed to a studio and hardwood floors would be nice. A secured building would be a treat and free  – working – wireless Internet service would be divine.

Perhaps while looking for Mr. Right, the same practice would be beneficial?

I need someone mature but who has a good sense of humor. He should be around my age both numerically and emotionally. I need someone with the same area code. Someone who can go out and keep up with me, but understand there is a time to just kick back at home. I need someone who understands my goals and dreams and has some of his own. And I need someone who can make me a better person. Oh, and how could I forget: a smile.

As far as what I want from Mr. Right: A nice bank account, wit and a tight hole are all pluses. OK, a tight hole is more of a need, but if I have to choose between a tight hole and a smile, the smile wins, hands down. Style is important. And so is their ability to adapt to various circumstances and places. And just as much as I need someone who can make me a better person, I want someone who I can help, equally.

Oddly enough – when you boil it down to the basics – I like my men how I like my apartments: urban, with character.

So with that out of the way, let us address how we go seeking both. Similar practices include but are not limited too, friends of friends, the Westword, CraigsList and the Internet in general. Saddly, you can spend equally amounts of time looking for an apartment and a man and come up with nothing. I’m sure there are just as many dating/sex service websites as there are places to find apartments.

One Thursday, not too long before I wrote this piece, I read each and every classified in the Westword. I circled the ones that matched my needs and wants and gave each one a ring. There were probably a good dozen that I dialed on my lunch break. I made contact with only one person and received only two callbacks. It reminded me too much of an average week night spent on CraigList looking for Mr. Right(Now).

Beyond the hook up factor – hey, it’s the gayzette, I had to get a little smutty — let’s pretend one of us actually gets a date with a really cool guy who looks good on paper. Isn’t it just the pits when you find out it’s a basement apartment with no closet space? Even worse is when you just saw the most perfect apartment. It’s in a nice part of town, you have a great walk in closet and the view is to die for, the only problem is, he’s too expensive of a date for your budget.

Don’t you just love false advertisement?

Say we go as far as pretending that we finally nailed down an apartment suitable for calling home for a year and a boy suitable for calling a man-thing indefinitely. I have to beg the question, what happens when things don’t wind up perfect after all?

My father once told me – after his second divorce – that he would forever change his policy with women. From that point forward he said he would only be “for lease.” Oddly enough, in these days of prorate options and iron clad leasing agreements it seems that it’s easier to get out of a relationship than an apartment gone bad. That is of course only if you haven’t moved in with Mr. Wrong. Regardless of termination clauses in either lease a renter must take every effort to make sure such a thing won’t be needed.

In the end we can all guess finding the apartment worthy of your heart is a lot easier than the boy who, hopefully, will one day wake up next to you in it. After all, the only way an apartment can reject you is if you have a felony or poor credit. However, neither road is an easy one to travel. That’s why if you’re lucky enough – as I am – you have eager friends who knows all the rules of dating and apartment hunting to share in your highs and lows and will never tell any one of the hell holes and ass holes you came across in the search for the perfect home and homo.

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