I just read an article about what it cost eight female writers to live in NYC, and it reminded me of my half-fledged attempt at doing the same:
I lived in the Big Apple for six months and worked at a reputable PR firm that represented one celebrity, who they treated like the Emperor without clothes. By that I mean, when this celebrity’s artsy movie was released, every employee crooned that it changed their life. The movie sucked. It tanked, and rightfully so. Today it’s only sold at tag sales and in dollar DVD bins at Duane Reade.
Bless my friend Michelle’s heart, she let me sleep beside her, in her bed, for four of those months. This is not to say I didn’t look for apartments. I did. But I made $500 a week. Rooms in Manhattan were $2,000 a month, and I just wasn’t sure I could survive on nothing.
However, I found a few sublet listings in my price range:
“I am a female in my mid 60’s looking for a roommate. I am willing to rent out my large bathroom in my one-bedroom Harlem home. You can easily put a twin air mattress in there. I only ask that when I need to use the bathroom, you and your air mattress aren’t in it. When you are in the apartment, you must confine yourself to the bathroom. I do not feel comfortable having a stranger walking around my living room. You may have guests over as long as they are confined to the bathroom as well. This might seem a bit odd but, please remember, the rent is $400 and the bathroom is large. Cats are okay.”
Four hundred a month for a bedroom your landlord needs to pee in at two in the morning. And yet, I considered it. Then I read this:
“$106 a month for a bedroom near St. Mark’s Place. Room is quite large with a private bathroom. Certain stipulations apply. Roommate must be 18 to 25-year-old female in good shape. For such low rent, I will require female to occasionally walk around in her underwear. No sexual contact necessary. Just wash a few dishes wearing only your bra and panties once in a while. I’m not a creep. I’m just a businessman so consumed with work, I don’t get out much. I’d like to bring some excitement into my apartment. Interview necessary.”
This person wasn’t right in the head. I mean, even with the underwear thing, he could definitely still triple or quadruple his rent price. He was supposedly a “businessman.” Well, that price was just bad business. There were women in Manhattan, hot women, who would accept that stipulation without batting an eye, and still pay over $500 a month for a room and private bath in St. Mark’s Place. Hell, you couldn’t even get a bathroom in Harlem for less than $400 a month. So I didn’t trust him.
But I did have some questions. What would happen when the renter turned twenty six? Would she be evicted? Or what if she gained a little weight? Would plumping restrictions be in the lease agreement? Another disturbing detail was the arbitrary rent number. Why not a nice round one hundred bucks? He must be weird. Plus, only creeps find the need to say, “I’m not a creep.”
When I told my mother I was going to let this listing pass, she said, “For $106 a month, you might as well meet him.”
I thought about it, but my weight fluctuates like an accordion and, having to give up ice cream for fear of being evicted? I think I’d rather live in a bathroom with a cat.