Flat hunting is not something I’ve had to do in many years, and thank fuck for that because it is entirely, 100% shit. Turning up at a house I don’t know, to be interviewed in front of a room full of, let’s face it smug arseholes (not because they are actual arseholes, just because you know they are all thinking ‘at least it’s not me being judged tonight’) will never be my wheel house. The flat interview ordeal combines a veritable smorgasbord of my most calamitous anxiety triggers, all rolled into one awkward, sweaty ball; strangers, social situations, being judged, the fear of ending up homeless, other people’s houses, hoping people like you, not shitting my pants and not being drunk when having to undertake all of the above.
It’s a situation where my worst “Bruce” (read: anxiety) features come spewing out all at once, hitting anyone within yelling distance straight in the face in a massive manic ball of words and unkempt energy. To be more clear, I make a total twat of myself and manage to squander many viable housing options.
Many years ago I went for a flat viewing in Wood Green, North London. After viewing the house we retired as a group to the grassy backyard to have the casual “getting to know you” chat. I recall squealing like a sick frog when one lady said she was an archaeologist. I wasn’t even that impressed but I managed to jabber something about “OH my God that must be so fricken interesting , you’ll have to tell me allll about it once we live under the same roof”. I could see the exhaustion in their eyes at the prospect of having to share facilities with the deranged mess I projected.
In a more recent experience, I prattled in an over excited fashion about being taught how to ask for the toilet in Portuguese, my intent to bake for everyone and ‘fatten them up’ and my boy’s abilities to fixing things. Dear Lord, I believe I even did a fist pump, not ironically.
In this situation there is no way to explain that I’m not usually like this. That I may come across like some kind of non-medicated ADHD 13 year old who was brought up in a garden shed with only old copies of Carp Fishing monthly for amusement but that in reality I am a misanthropic, overly sarcastic cat lady who will likely spend most of her time locked away in her room writing shitty blog posts and re-watching the same episodes of the three or four shows that make her feel safe or brave at any given time (currently Agent Carter, iZombie and Sherlock). I’m clean, polite, reliable and fully house trained, on paper I should be a solid cohabitation option. I would be the least likely to rip you off, trash the livingroom or drink all the milk and put the empty container back in the fridge, but interviewing for a flat is very infrequently about what you wont do (I will never shart on your pillow or make you listen to my loud obnoxious sex sounds on a Sunday afternoon). It’s a popularity contest where the most chillaxed interviewee wins out most of the time.
If what you are looking for in a flatmate is someone who will contribute witty banter over the breakfast nook, will let you borrow her clothes/actually have clothes you might want to borrow and will listen empathetically, nod and pour the wine when a dude you liked breaks up with you because of your uncommonly puffy ankles, well that is me. Just not the me you are likely to meet in a flat interview.