My coworker Jill is apartment hunting, and she asked how I liked my complex. It’s fine, I told her, plus there weren’t any other serious contenders. The first place I checked out seemed nice enough until I asked about internet service, and the girl giving me the tour hesitated a moment before telling me: “Yeah, you can only get dialup here.” I stared at her as if she had suggested I keep in touch with friends and family via smoke signals and then, gave my mother a look that said, “I think we’re done here.” Driving out to another complex, we passed the following: liquor store, liquor store, trailer park, cemetery, liquor store. This time my mother was the one giving the look, but I didn’t disagree. I picked the place I’m at now because I could get high speed internet, a decent gym and reasonable rent. Done. Sold. And yet, the ladies in the office tried to seal the deal by promoting the fact that they have tanning beds and lots of single men.
First of all, I’m what you might call faux-Irish. I like potatoes and Guinness and I can say “post office” in Gaelic, and that’s about as far as it goes. Still, if you were to judge based on my pale, freckled skin, I’m quite the colleen. Giving me free access to a tanning bed is like offering me the chance to sunburn and peel as often as I want all year round. My dermatologist wouldn’t approve, and even if I could tan, I think it might look a little weird on me. As for the men…I asked Jill if the ladies in the office promised her plenty of available guys, too.
“Oh, yeah,” she told me. “First they asked if I was single, and then they told me that they’d get me married.”
It feels a little like having Heidi Fleiss for a landlord, and, frankly, I’m not wild about it. When I signed my lease, I happened to mention that my brother had a friend in the complex that might help me move some furniture. The manager asked me who, and when I told her, she made a face. “Oh…I think he’s already taken,” she said apologetically. I wondered how that translated into an inability to carry a couch for me, but maybe that kind of practical thinking is the reason I’ve never been married. I’m not opposed to dating, and I’d like to do more of it. But the way these ladies discussed it with a kind of single-minded focus usually reserved for, like, Olympic athletes and chess prodigies was more than a little off putting. It wasn’t until I was laughing about it with Jill that I realized their promotional gimmick isn’t true.
I haven’t seen hard numbers or anything, but as far as I can tell, it’s not exactly raining men around here. Most of the people who live near me are families, and I’ve seen quite a few women walking around. The pool is full of nothing but kids and couples. I’ve seen a few guys at the gym, but many of them seem to be working out with their girlfriends. This creates a bit of a dilemma. On the one hand, I didn’t sign the lease because I was promised a boyfriend, and, in fact, I found that part creepy. On the other hand, I feel like I’ve been lied to, which is annoying. I want to go into the office and ask: “Where are all my men?”
Perhaps I could place a request. “What have you got in a scruffy artist type? Maybe a hot nerd? Sensitive men with or without tattoos or oh! OH! How about someone with an accent? Or, conversely, maybe an all-American type with a dry sense of humor? What have you got for me?” I’m not sure it works that way because it has not escaped my notice that they never said they had men who were my type. Just men. If I’m going to be picky, I’m probably on my own, which is actually fine with me.