Life in London is fun, when you get over black snot, slow walkers, doing currency conversions (R35 FOR A COFFEE) and the often shit weather. Part of London life is living somewhere, of course.
The searches kept on turning up empty and I decided to try Speed Flatmating. When two of my friends (both from Birmingham, incidentally) pulled their noses up in a heap and asked with such exasperated judgement that I could hear them exhale while speaking, what exactly it was, perhaps I should have known it would be awkward. Really awkward. Mass social events really aren’t my thing. I network about as well in real life as South Africa’s mobile SPs.
Still. I read the reviews about this Speed Flatmating stuff and thought: I could do that. Reality? I couldn’t. It was as awkward as an octopus, possibly one high on acid, trying to unhook a bra. Upon arrival, everybody gets given a massive sticker: pink for those looking for a room and white for those who have a room. Just like the population of single women with ticking biological clocks far outweigh the number of single blokes willing to procreate, so the number of those in search of somewhere to live outweigh those with something to offer. This means that those with their luminescent pink stickers get to do a lot of standing around. And looking awkward and feeling awkward. With so much bad hand writing about, a lot of time is also spent trying not to look like you’re staring at somebody’s boob when you have to squint to see their price for rent.
When you eventually get to speak to somebody whose offering sticker corresponds with something you are looking for (budget and area) the person misunderstands you and tells you about the area instead of the house when you ask: “so tell me more about it, then?”
Of course all the pretty women and handsome men get approach easier, faster and more regularly.
Speed flatmating, for an average girl with a penchant for feeling agoraphobic, is basically like being back in primary school when that cute guy you really like pretends to ask you out and then everybody stands in a circle and laughs at you (that was normal, right?).
The only upside is that there were at least three other people who looked more awkward than me.