Gather round for storytime...
"You're a very attractive young woman, and I imagine you take many men home." (insert awkwardest pause imaginable, as an 85 year old couple stare me down). I warily glace back, unsure whether to laugh, deny, or simply shrug off the accusation.
"And you should,"she says to me, giving me the kind of glance usually reserved for construction workers cat-calling women on the street. "There's no reason to be tied down now. I mean, I had children by your age, but things are different now - you've got your whole life for those," she muses, eyes starting to glaze over as she is transported to a golden age of remembrance (or perhaps some LSD related flashback, it wasn't entirely clear).
After recalling her glory days, apparently full of one night stands and salacious affairs, her husband timidly cut in with a new topic, to my immense relief.
The jury's still out on whether her advice about men is true, but their non-relationship advice was astounding.
The couple I'm referring to were potential landlords in my apartment search last week. Though they had incentive to paint a perfect picture of their building, they were refreshingly frank with me. This may seem overly simple, the advice that stuck with me the most is as follows:
Lesson #21 when moving to a big city: No matter how much you like an apartment the first time, you must see it a second time before deciding anything. Needless to say, with my first apartment in NYC I didn't see it at all, and the second one I saw just once...so clearly the third time's a charm (and if you know me well, you probably know how both of those went...leaving it at that.) It's practically impossible to really see any flaws the first time, to know which types of questions to ask, and to simply give yourself the chance to think through what it'd be like to live somewhere.
I ended up finding a place I really like, in a great location (check out a NYTimes writeup here), and didn't sign a lease before I saw it a few times. Funny enough, it wasn't the place they showed me. I took their advice to heart I and realized that I wasn't thrilled with the space and their tendency to pry made it even less desirable. Maybe I'm more old-fashioned than an 85 year old couple, but imagining them seeing me bring anyone home is too painful a thought, whether or not they approve (read: insist).
(Update: I'm moving to Boerum Hill, Brooklyn this weekend from the West Village! Wish me luck!)