Start with your best friend from college: Laura. You guys lived in a tiny dorm room together for two years, so you’ll definitely be able to share a studio that was converted into a two-bedroom with shower curtains for doors. No problem!
This will inevitably lead to a blowup over who left coffee grounds in the sink, and who made who consistently late for a job that they hated anyway. Let Laura move out to live with a different college friend who looks like a poor man’s Adam Scott.
Replace with Candace, a co-worker you always thought would make an excellent roomie. She owns every lamp that Pottery Barn has ever made (along with every movie that Paul Walker ever made).
This lasts approximately six months, until you both realize that seeing someone for twenty-four hours a day is excruciating, you hate talking about work almost as much as you hate working, and “Joyride” actually has some legitimate thrills. Candace moves back to Montclair to live with her parents, taking every single lamp with her.
Swap her out for Ludwig, a rando you found on Craigslist, who arrived with a fifty-pound cat named Banksy, a couch that didn’t fit through the door and had to be abandoned in front of your building, and other people’s passwords to every streaming service.
Ludwig watches a lot of TV, usually while you’re at work. After he asks you for an extension on the lease, you arrive home one day to find his room cleared out, all your living-room furniture gone, and Banksy curled up in a corner chewing on an abandoned phone charger.
Upgrade to Kelsey, a business-school student who meets a guy on day two of orientation and essentially moves in with him. You’re pretty sure she’s never used her room, other than as a storage space for her clothes, and as a decoy for her religious parents.
Kelsey is the perfect roommate—she lives with you for two years, yet you’ve only seen her one time, when she signed the lease. Unfortunately, her business-school boyfriend eventually proposes, and she can now legitimately move in with him.
Add Tracey, your second cousin, who just got back from studying abroad in Switzerland and needs a place to crash until she finds an apartment. Her luggage hasn’t arrived yet, and she deals with this by washing out the same three outfits in your bathroom sink, dipping into your cosmetics, and borrowing your Burberry coat indefinitely for “work stuff.”
You count down the minutes until Tracey uproots herself from your couch, but then you miss her furiously when she moves in with your great-aunt in Riverdale.
Switch Tracey out for Luke, a guy you’ve been seeing for six months and are pretty sure is “the one.” Despite the fact that you’re still in the honeymoon phase of your relationship, Luke’s lease in Hoboken is almost up and he’s always wanted to live in the city. The fact that he’s more excited about his new address than his new relationship is definitely not a red flag at all.
You and Luke break up almost immediately after he moves in, because of course. Since he signed a twelve-month lease, he refuses to leave until it’s up, so you get to watch him play video games with his college buddies on the flat-screen that you bought with your work bonus. At the eleven-month mark, you meet a new guy at Sloppy Dave’s Bar, change the locks, and leave a box of Luke’s gaming headsets and boxers in the hallway.
Replace Luke with . . . Banksy. You’ve reached a point in your life when you don’t need to constantly have another person in your living space, and you can afford the rent for the studio on your own. You enjoy the liberation of answering to no one, and being able to spread out over what is essentially a space for two-fifths of a person. You’re pretty sure the building doesn’t allow cats, but no one’s ever asked, so . . .
Your landlord decides to sell the building, and the new owner doubles your rent for the next year. Is anyone looking for a roommate? ♦
This is adapted from “I Love(ish) New York City: Tales of City Life.”