Okay Unemployed Twenty Somethings of America (or UTSA's as I like to call them). I've recently entered one of the hardest markets for young Americans across the country. Harder than the MCAT, GRE, and LSAT combined (I think... Lord knows I'm not really heading in that direction. I'll never be a doctor. But maybe I'll play one on TV. Sorry Mom.) And that is the market of apartment hunting. And because I've just recently been approved for a beautiful cardboard box, I mean 3 bedroom flat, I don't think I'm jinxing myself by bringing this process to light.
Uh ok. So point blank: it's really hard. In my mind, I envisioned being brought to the penthouse apartment of a 5th Avenue building and being told by Mr. Big "I got this one baby." And then go to lunch with my friends to tell them I'm entering the world of luxury living. Well, that wasn't the case, partly because I don't have a Mr. Big. Nor am I moving to New York. But Chris Noth does live in my hometown neighborhood in LA! Hit me up whenever Biggie Noth! (Sorry everyone. Inside joke between us. You wouldn't understand.)
Ok. Back to reality. I arrived in Chicago as a wide-eyed idiot 2 weeks ago, thinking the world of Chicago realty would immediately hit me up on OKCupid for meet-ups, casual drinks, and the guarantee of a serious future. What I found initially were a number of one night stands that left me feeling empty, cheated, and, most of all, homeless. Here's a summary of how most apartment showings would go
Me: "Wow. This apartment looks great! I'd love to put in an application for it! I'm sure my roommates and I would love it!"
Broker/Leaser/Questionable Part-time Drug Dealer: "Ok sure. Here's an application. (Hands Alex an application. #stagedirections) So tell me about yourself!"
Me: "Well, my roommate and I just graduated from college, and we're both moving out to Chicago for the first time!"
Broker: "That's great. And congratulations on finishing your degree! So you both got jobs out here?"
Me: "Oh. Not exactly."
Broker: "What do you mean?"
Me: "Well, we're coming out here to be actors."
Broker: "...I see." (Pause.)
And as if that pause wasn't enough to make me feel inadequate, insufficient, incompetent, and other in-synonyms, the next question is, without failure:
Broker: "So you're... unemployed?"
Ugh. They always say it as such a heathen term. Like you've already had a major life screw up. I, on the other hand, like to think that being unemployed means I'm still completely open to all of life's options! Including full time nannying, waving a sign, and addiction to crack cocaine. But sure enough, whenever I confirmed that I was currently not making a steady income, I was suddenly Drew Barrymore at the of Never Been Kissed when everyone finds out she's a 25 year old news reporter, and not a 17 year old high school senior. Seriously, how did she pull that off for a whole semester?? But the leaser or broker always made some BS excuse for why I wasn't getting it. Such as: "It's just business kid. Nothing personal." Seriously? Shut up. And then, they dropped the most a-hole bomb by saying that they were giving it to:
A F$*#@ing Young Professional.
If you aren't sure what that term means, just walk down a major city street after 5pm, Monday-Friday. It'll be a group of dudes, under 35, wearing suits, who look like they suck at everything besides making money. No offense. It's just a generalization. There's gotta be a gem somewhere out there. But maybe not. But yea, 99% of the time, we were losing out to the 1%. And let me tell you, the 1% is a lot bigger than you think. It was truly exhausting. And with the September 1st deadline looming closer and closer, we kept at it because, well, you just kinda have to.
So, after a rigorous week of traversing the humid city on my trusty and rusty bike, getting rejected by two or a million apartments, and crying to my mom (Yup, that's real), God entered my life in the name of Kyle Something Something* (*changed for protection purposes. Actually, I just don't remember his last name). But oh man, you guys. Every time I thought of him, I got just the smallest hint of stimulation. You know how people get off from having sex or whatever? Well, I was getting off from the near possibility of getting to call somewhere a place where I could put all my shit and then quickly forget about it. It's intoxicating. The thought of not being homeless had never been so sexy.
Kyle, a young leaser who knows what's up, understood our situation and trusted that we had money saved up to at least guarantee rent for the first few months. And with our adamant search for work in the city, he took a leap of faith with us and asked for our signatures. Who, me??? Oh stop!! Just kidding. Yes please! And with that, I knew the hardest part of moving was past me. I had finally found somewhere to call my shithole. Actually, the place is beautiful and a steal, and I can't wait to move in!
So I don't know if there's a moral here. But what I can say is that you will find a place! Someone will take you on and pray to God that you have nice parents to help you out in times of poverty. And hopefully, that time is not forever. And don't think you have to put your creative dreams aside to please a broker. Those dreams are the whole reason you moved anyways.
Also, "young professional" is the loosest term on the planet.