Aaron and Josh are two guy friends who have a podcast in which they try to answer questions about dating, romance, relationships, sex, and the vagueries of human interaction. (“If you’re not a straight cismale, then we (may) have the answers you’re searching for.”) They’ve agreed to write a weekly post on The Date Report expanding on some of the topics covered in their weekly podcast. This week: Aaron advises on how to date when your apartment sucks.
On our most recent episode, it came to the fore that my room in my apartment is, well, awful. It’s directly under the stairs, has no heat or AC or closet, contains a loft bed that I don’t even use, in favor of a mattress on the floor… you get the idea. It is not a great place to be. My esteemed colleagues came to the conclusion that someone with a room like this should just resign themselves to living like a sexless, dateless piece of walking squalor. I’m not satisfied by this, and if you happen to find yourself living in a similar situation (“sunroom” blocked off by an uber-private hanging comforter, a bedroom that you’re pretty sure literally qualifies as an oven in August, or somesuch) you shouldn’t be either. Haters to the left– if we can’t make the horrible caves we call “bedrooms” work for us, certainly we can run some damage control.
1) Make the most of what you have
Let’s get the hard part out of the way: yes, your room does reflect on you, and yes, people have been known to end dates for more frivolous reasons than “low ceilings.” So before you open the doors of your panic room to anyone else, ask yourself: am I making the most of this shithole? You aren’t doing your 5’ x 4’ piece of heaven any favors by covering what little floor you have in dirty clothes and half-empty Ben and Jerry’s containers. Having a horrible bedroom and not keeping is clean is like seeing Mufasa hanging off the cliff and going the full Jeremy Irons — instead of helping it from the cliff with a quick spruce-up, your black heart would rather give it that final push into Total Shittiness. You’d be surprised what a bookshelf, a plant, and, yes, even a loft bed can do to make a bedroom look more spacious and inviting. A room is only as uninhabitable as it’s tenant is uncreative, so make sure you’re doing a lot with a little.
The tactic: do not reveal what your room is like until the very last possible second. Don’t bring it up in conversation on the date. If things move to your place or residence, keep the door closed and stick to the living room. Only when things naturally progress toward the bedroom does your your terrible secret come out. Is this manipulative? Well, no. As I mentioned in the episode, it’s all about putting your best foot forward. I don’t show up for a date in a pair of basketball shorts eating Twizzlers Pull n’ Peels because I want people to see me at my best, not my worst. Turns out, if someone gets to know you for the wonderful person you are, they can often forgive the fact that your room looks like something out of Saw III. However, show it to someone who’s still on the fence about you, and they may make up their mind before you have a chance to wow them with that glowing personality. This tactic does not, contrary to popular belief, make you into a bear trapper.
3) Stay flexible
It’s okay to live in an everdamp corner of a gross basement, and it’s okay to be the type of person that always wants people to come to their house and never wants to travel, but doing both of those at the same time is going to cause you some problems. You gotta go 50/50 at least. Get used to staying over at someone else’s place – if your room is really that bad, it’ll be like a little vacation! Constantly roll with anti-perspirant and an Oral-B. Have a gameplan for getting to work, if applicable. I’m not saying you have to bend over backwards and travel to your partner’s place constantly, even if they have one of those things that I’ve heard about called a “window.” But the more you insist on doing things your way, and inconveniencing your partner in the process, the harder it is to remember what about you makes squeezing onto a twin bed worth it.
Above all, the most important idea here is…
4) Own it
They’ve seen the room. They’re in the room. How can you improve the mood? What can we say here? My opinion – one quick comment, then you move on. Nothing ruins an amorous mood faster than a stream of hurried apologies. Let’s get real: shitty rooms exist, especially in big cities, and this is probably not the worst that your potential partner has seen. And even if it is, this dynamite individual that you’ve invited into your nightmare probably wants to hook up with you, not your hypothetical walk-in closet. Don’t depth-charge yourself going over a laundry list of reasons why your partner should reconsider their positive opinion of you and flee, or else they might, um, reconsider their positive opinion of you and flee.
Keep that confidence up. Repeat after me: I am not my paper-thin walls. I am not my exposed ceiling pipes. I am not my air mattress.
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