Looking for a flatmate. The very words that make Londoner cringe and feel a sense of dread.
In London, second to finding a place to live, finding someone to live in it with you is one of the most tedious things you can do. People are insane.
Right now, the flatmates I have are leaving, primarily to go off to university, and I’m left trying to fill two bedrooms. I’m not short of response, but having lived in London for almost four years, I know how painful it is going through the rigamarole of finding someone new.
Viewings are the worst. You set aside one evening where your flat is on its best behaviour and everything looks cleaner than it has in months. You cram a bunch of strangers into your flat, either all at once (not recommended – disaster) or staggering them at fifteen minute intervals. Invariably, people get lost and show up late, cutting down your fifteen minutes to ten. You then have ten minutes in which to decide if you want this person to see you hungover, just out of the shower, see your underwear hanging out to dry, to be the person to hear about how much you hate your boss/the tube/the guy next door who spits really loudly, every day, for the foreseeable future.
You also have to decide, in this same ten minutes, if this person seems sane, if you can rely on them to do things like wash their dishes and not wee in cups. I speak from experience.
And in these ten minutes, neither one of you is going to say “I actually like showering at midnight” or “I intend on having my boyfriend to stay every single night” or “I like to eat really smelly fish”, you find that out down the line, and woe betide you if you make the wrong choice.
But.. at the same time, it can be exciting too. Ever reply that lands in your SpareRoom inbox is a potential new friend. There are some crazy people out there, and plenty of them, but there are some who will become your best friends, the people who you’re going to end up falling out of Mother Bar at 3am with, the people who agree with you that yes, the guy upstairs is bloody dreadful at guitar and the guy in the adjacent flat needs to stop rapping.
So now I’m left in this awkward position of having to find not one, but two people.
Wish me luck.