The reasons why I have not been dating much lately are partly professional and partly because my private life was taken up by looking for a new flat. Dashing around London, visiting perfect strangers in their homes and going through their cupboards has been my major evening pastime in the past weeks, taking up most available dating time. However, I’ve come to realise that dating and flathunting aren’t that different altogether. You could probably see flathunting as a good practise for dating. You don’t see how? Let me elaborate.
1) You put up an ad or react to ads online.
The most proliferous and reliable source of flats/dates comes from the internet. Yes, in a perfect world we would just run into Mr. Right on the street and find the keys to a free, airy, hardwood-floored studio apartment around the next corner. However, when looking for a flat on a deadline or a date for Saturday night, tempting fate isn’t the most reliable option.
And so I find myself screening ad after ad for the “lovely spacious double room” or “tall & handsome with good sense of humour” of my dreams.
2) People speak gibberish in ads.
The amount of jargon in both the world of online dating, and real estate are astonishing, and terribly confusing for the layman. Because webspace isn’t paid for per word or line, the earlier usage of crazy abbreviation “2bdr, k/b and GSOH” is now subsiding, but euphemisms and embellishments still abound. Funnily enough, lots of the words used are the same for both personal ads and room offers – however, the underlying meanings are very different. This goes together with point 3).
3) People lie.
You’ll find enough offers that seem too fabulous to be true. All the advertised flats are “roomy and light” with “great flatmates, who like to chat over a glass of wine”. Similarly, every single guy with an ad online “doesn’t take himself too seriously and has a good sense of humour”.
However, once you see the flat or meet the guy you’ll discover what the code stands for, and it turns out the “roomy and light” flat has no radiators, while the guy who “doesn’t take himself too seriously”, also doesn’t take drug laws too seriously, and thinks dope should totally be legalised, man.
To spare other people the same mistakes, I’ve compiled a quick list based on my experiences:
|Term Used in Ad||What it Means in Real Estate||What it Means in Dating|
|charming||chipped paint job, mismatched furniture||lies to get you into bed|
|cosy||shoe box that smells of mould||overweight, and not willing to do anything about it|
|sociable and lively||noisy flatmates||gets drunk at least three times a week|
|lots of character||no straight walls, carpet smells funky||contradicts you a lot and wears obscure band t-shirts|
I hope this helps with deciphering the code and finding the right room or date.
In my case, after being quite disillusioned by my online finds, I returned to the more oldfashioned way of being newly introduced to someone I already knew. Turns out you don’t need to look online, when you might already have met the perfect opportunity.
I’m not talking about a date – but I’m moving in with a friend tomorrow.