Have you ever heard of a roommate matchmaker? A person whose job is to locate an ideal roommate based on specific personality traits, lifestyle choices, and complimentary work schedules? Working in a real estate office for the past year, the topic of landlord/tenant relationships often comes up. The search for an “ideal” tenant usually requires a credit check, valid references, and in some cases, a criminal background check. To generalize, just passing those three requirements gets you in the door for at least a consideration. Attempting to find the perfect fit can be a daunting task, as I’ve come to find that the search can be a job on its own for a realtor and its client. But what about finding a roommate?
In theory, a roommate matchmaker would find the ying to your yang, the peanut butter to your jelly, this person would understand that you like to go to bed early and take long showers without interruptions. Ideally, this matchmaker would find the person that could help you both become a power couple; a “Brangelina” of roommates if you will.
Ok, at least someone who respects your privacy, doesn’t eat all your food and keeps the noise down to a minimum.
I can say with confidence that I’ve never had a great roommate. And I’m sure I haven’t been the best roommate either, but it all comes with experience. I surely googled the term (or occupation) after a recent, most unfortunate experience I had in Providence. Yes, matchmakers do exist. But not in Rhode Island as I’ve come to learn!
To say the least, my trials and tribulations as a young New York City ex-pat, struggling to find her niche in Providence has been a source of amusement for my co-workers. And strangely enough, I don’t need to go to New York City to find me some crazy (yet I find that a bit comforting at the same time). I doubt I’ll stumble upon transvestites having “turf-wars” at 4am in 5 inch stilettos but I’ve experienced the same enthralling, slightly disturbing situations in Providence—finding someone to live with.
Most recently and I mean up until a week ago, I was living in the most gorgeous apartment that I could find within my modest “this economy is horrible” budget. My apartment was on the top floor, filled with so much sunlight, and had a double parlor with a great view of Wayland Square. I loved waking up in the mornings to see all the sunlight streaming through the windows, step out into the balcony with my coffee, and watch CVS shoppers come and go.
Getting into my usual routine, I would then navigate through countless broken chairs, step over a mountain of clothes in the middle of the living room, and somehow successfully stumble into my bedroom to get ready for work. My roommate, who shall remain nameless, had a great fear of commitment. By bringing in discarded furniture (read: garbage) she was avoiding the pressures of commitment. Instead of buying a couch, my roommate thought having a broken, used couch with questionable stains would suffice, as it could easily be thrown away as it was taken in.
Up until this point, I never thought that by creating a livable space between two roommates may be symbolic for “long term commitment.” Was this a marriage? Who knew that going to Ikea could be so scary?
My roommate also did not believe in keeping the furniture in one place. To her justification, it was an invigorating method of exercise. While living there, I’ve never seen the couch, table, and her pile of clothes in one spot throughout the day. Who rearranges the location of a pile of clothes? Is it more feng shui if it’s on this corner than that one?
On another occasion, my roommate made a note to herself to keep the lights on at all times to avoid bouts of melancholy. That’s not it, she wrote this note backwards… What?
Living the dream, I was finally experiencing a sense of independence, working towards paying my own rent for my own apartment. In reality, I was living in a nightmare. The final straw was when I walked home one day to find that my roommate allowed a stranger to sleep in my bed and “reorganize” my furniture.
Roommate matchmaker, where were you in my time of need? After researching a few surveys online, I found that most matchmakers ask only basic questions to match others, such as “What is your religion?” “Do you like to share your food?” “Are you a social person or an introvert?”
How about “Are you crazy?”
I’ve learned that there’s no real easy way of knowing whether someone is a good match for you or not. With anything in life, it’s better to wait for the right person or opportunity, than to just jump into something right away. My most recent roommate and I shared similar tastes in music, loved the same food, respected each other’s religious beliefs, and had “Keeping up with the Kardashians” as our guilty pleasures. But I’ve learned that if we can’t share the same values, then it’s all a pointless gamble.
So my question is: Can someone like a matchmaker find your ideal roommate? What pre-requisites determine a successful match? I’m sure Kim Kardashian is currently lost in thought over the same idea… I hope.
Nevertheless, the last few weeks have been an interesting experience, and I can say that I actually learned something about myself. I learned that I will no longer complain about what I don’t have because I’m pretty sure it could be a LOT worse.
*To my ex-roommate, if you’re reading this, yrros ti t’ndid krow tuo.
To see some hysterical roommate notes, click on this link.