Friday, October 26, 2012

Pocket Change/Faith Restored

I don't normally work Thursdays, but I was covering for a buddy that had worked a few Saturdays for me during the summer while I was binge-drinking at the Jersey shore. Thursday's always suck for the doorman because it's not a big "out" day, so I avoid working them. As usual, I was hovering around the $50 mark for the evening at 7pm, where things completely die and I embark on the Lonely Road to Midnight

At 7:01pm, a middle-aged woman pulls up in a older-model Honda CRV. She's frantic, but polite, and asks for valet parking. I give her the valet parking rundown, which is $35 per 24 hours, no ins and outs, and if it goes over 24 hours, they tack on another day. 

"I'm late for a show at Carnegie Hall that started at 7, how long will it take to valet the car?" she asked, in that "I'm trying not to be a pain in the ass" tone. "I don't really have time to check in and unload." 

Always the opportunist, I would usually pull the stunt where I pretend that it would be a huge stretch of the rules to leave the car in the loading zone, while letting someone know the value of a parking spot in mid-town Manhattan. It usually makes for a $10-$20 tip. 

Seeing that she was talking to me like a human being, I had one of those "what if this were my mother?" moments. I wasn't going to make any money that night anyway, so I abandoned all of my doorman hustling: 

"Go, I'll watch the car and we'll valet it when you get back." I said, as genuine as I've ever been in this job. 

"Are you sure? It's no trouble?" she inquired, as if waiting for the "catch". 

"Yeah, absolutely. Go, you'll miss curtain." 

"Thank you so much! What's your name?"


"Thank you, Doorman. You're wonderful!" 

She rushed to Carnegie Hall. Her compliments were nice, but people tend to say nice things when they get something they want, so I took it with a grain of salt.

I moved her car to the end of the loading zone and went on with my evening. About two hours later, after my dinner break, a family of douche bag Europeans file out the door and coldly demand a taxi. I didn't recognize them at first, because I was too busy singing the shit out of the Remix to Ignition by R Kelly. When the family patriarch finally came out, I remembered that they were these pieces of shit: 

Wednesday night, I was working inside as a bellman. The bell rang, and I had to take these people up to the penthouse suite. When the bell rings and the front desk agent hands you keys to the penthouse, it's time to get excited, because there's a good chance that a juicy tip is coming your way. 

I lead these assholes to the elevator, where I give them the "where are you from? Oh! That's so interesting" schtick. On the way up, the patriarch pulls out a bunch of pennies and nickels from his pocket and begins to thumb through them. He shows them to his family, and giggles like a teenage girl. 

"Eeehhhhh you can use this?" he managed to get out, in between bouts of stifled laughing. 

Fucking jerk-off, I thought. I knew where this was going.  

"You can use it, yes. But it isn't worth much at all." I replied, as I clutched the handle of his suitcase, fending off the urge to rip it off and whack his scrotum. 

"Ah, okay!" 

He continued to giggle and show the change to his family. For the rest of the ride up, he held the change in his fist, shaking and jingling. My blood began to boil. 

We get to the room, the nicest and most expensive fucking room in the hotel, and I unload the luggage cart. He stood by, watching me do all the work. Most people at least pretend to try and help. The rest stand by and watch, like their fucking royalty. They're the ones who are least likely to give you anything. 

As I'm unloading the luggage, all I hear is him shaking the change in his hand. 

When I unload the last bag, I slowly turn, awaiting his presentation of 23 cents in pennies. He smugly smiles, and extends his hand to dump his pocket change into mine. 

Fuck this. 

"No. You keep that. See how far it gets you." as I looked him dead in the eye, right in front of his wife and kids. 

"Okay" he said, with no remorse. "Sorry." I could tell that he wanted to laugh, but was scared that I was going to punch him in the face. I walked out before it happened. 

Back to present time, where I'm holding the door for his awful family. 

"Taxi to Times Square" he said, without looking up from his phone. 

"Right away, sir" I grumbled, though clenched teeth. 

I get them the cab, and they pile in like the building is about to blow up behind them. The last one in was the son, who stepped on my foot without saying sorry. It took everything I had in me to not slam the door while he was getting in, breaking his ankle in half. I knew a tip was out of the question, but not a single one even so much as looked up at me. 

I hastily slam the door and scream "YOU'RE WELCOME!" 

Nothing. The taxi pulls away. 

I do the walk of shame back to the door, where the Carnegie Hall Lady is waiting patiently. 


"Oh, hey! How was the show?" I asked, trying to regain my composure. 

"It was amazing! Got there just in time. Wouldn't have made it if it weren't for you" she replied, holding a playbill that was autographed by someone on the front. "Can we valet the car now?"

"Yeah. Yeah, of course. Hang on, let me get you a ticket." 

I filled out the valet card and gave her the claim ticket, then helped her with her suitcase to reception. To be perfectly honest, I didn't expect anything, nor did I care what happened either way. I just felt good about doing something nice for someone, and that person being appreciative. As I said before- what if it were my mother? 

After I put her last bag down, she puts her hand in mine, with a single bill in it. I never look down at the tip in front of the guest, so I maintained eye-contact with her. 

"Thank you for restoring my faith in people, Doorman." 

I didn't know what she meant, and I didn't ask. But I knew she meant it. 

"Likewise" I replied. 

As I turned to walk away, I put the bill in my pocket without looking. When I got back to the door, I took a healthy swig of my water, then called the garage to come pick up her car. 

After checking the score of the Thursday Night Football game on my phone, I pulled the bill out of my pocket. 

There he was, Ulysses S. Grant, staring me in the face. 

HOLY SHIT!!!!!! 

The most I had ever gotten in one tip was a twenty, mostly for helping people throughout the week or for taking massive amounts of heavy suitcases up to rooms. Getting fifty bucks for a genuine act of kindness trumps any nice moment I've ever had working this job. 

About an hour later, she came back downstairs. I held the shit out of the door for her. 

"Thanks again for before, Doorman." 

"No, no, no!!! Thank YOU! If you need anything, anything at all, you ask ME! Don't be shy! Anything you need!" 

She laughed and went on her way. No more than sixty seconds later, douchefuck European family pulled up in a pedicab. 

I fucking hate pedicab drivers. Not a week goes by without a savage altercation with one of these motherfuckers. 

I was never so happy to see one. 

The driver charged them $180 from Times Square, a mere seven blocks from the hotel. If this were any other case, I'd come running over like George Brett . Not this time. As the European patriarch looked in my direction for help, I giggled, turned around, and showed the bellman the scene of an idiot tourist being ripped off by a pedisavage

They filed back in after a good ten minutes of arguing about the price. Pedisavage won the $180, then asked for a tip. Bless his little heart. European patriarch declined, as expected. None of them thanked me for holding the door. 

There really isn't an ending to this story. What I CAN tell you is that having your faith restored in people, however brief, is a beautiful sauce. And you should tip your doorman and bellman, obviously. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Brokeback Doorman

Writing the Craigslist Roommate series has had me reflecting on more stories in my past that involve meeting strangers on the Internet:

It was back in Oscar season of 2005. I was in college, and in one of the worst bouts of depression in my life as a result of Accutane, an acne medication that needs to be taken over a six month span. It works for many people, but it turned me into an irrational, suicidal lunatic. 

One of the side effects of Accutane is "suicidal tendencies". Meaning that to achieve a non-pizza face, I would have to fend off urges to slit my wrists in the bathtub. My inner voice used to say things like: "Hey, Doorman, wouldn't it be funny if you grabbed that kitchen knife and ran around the neighborhood till the police gunned you down?" Fuck pimples, right? 

Back then, I spent a many of nights doing what most college kids did instead of studying- fucking around on MySpace. Remember MySpace? You know, that thing that was Facebook before Facebook became Facebook?

Unlike Facebook, which is geared more towards keeping in touch with people you know, MySpace was all about how many people you were able to friend. I was one of those whores who had over a thousand friends and wrote really shitty blogs about stupid college bullshit. I had a "top 20", with my closest friends and favorite celebrities. Wasn't that fun? Ranking how important your friends are in order for all the inter-weebs to see?

In my miserable state, I was impossible to be around, and none of my friends wanted to hang out with me, so I spent that winter hibernating in my parent's basement. I didn't have a lady in my life at that point, and I was too young for online dating, so I spent lots of time scouring MySpace for single females... with zero success.

You mean, no one wants to hook up with a pimply-faced, unstable, theatre major? Impossible!!!

One day, after spending weeks getting ignored by every girl on Staten Island (and a good chunk of New Jersey), I had a girl MESSAGE ME!

MySpace Girl: "Hey."

This is progress. "Maybe things were turning around" I thought, as I rocked indian-style, while facing the wall in a corner and picking a dried-up pimple on my face. 

She was okay-looking and her profile didn't impress me at all. If I were feeling a little more confident, I probably would have blown her off, but I barely had any human interacting outside of class for weeks, so I responded and asked her out on a date. 

I have a thing where I need to see every Best Picture nominee before the Oscars. Up for the top award that year was Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain, a phenomenal film that was beat out by 120 minutes of people being biggots in Los Angeles. It was last on my list, because like any immature, 20-year-old straight male, I was intimidated by going to see a gay cowboy movie. 

Since I didn't know this girl from a hole in he wall, and I wasn't planning on taking this date seriously, I suggested we see the gay cowboy movie: 

MySpace Girl: "Wow, really? That's really cool that you would wanna see a movie like that!" 

Whatever. Let's go see the movie so I could put moves on you in my parent's new car when it's over. 

I picked her up in the Old Man's brand-new Honda Accord. At twenty, you do whatever possible to avoid having to go to the door when picking up your date. I pulled the classic "I'm calling you because I think I'm a little lost but... OH! I found it! I'm outside" move. She came outside, and her entire family, Grandma and all, followed. They all waved at me. I waved accordingly. 

She gets in my car and was exactly like her pictures- nothing special to look at, not very well-kept, and had a really crazy eepy smile. As I pulled off with her family waving behind us like the Beverly Hillbillies, we got to chatting. She wa nice enough, but again, didn't really bring anything exciting to the table. She went on and on about her friend's boyfriends and hanging out at Country Donuts. By the time we got to the theatre, I was bored. Not that I was contributing to the conversation or anything. I just stared at the road, miserable, giving her one-word answers. It was painfully awkward. She was at least trying to make this a pleasant date. 

We get to the theatre, and I pay using free movie passes from Costco that I got for Christmas with no shame. I buy a fucking popcorn and soda and Goobers, because she liked Goobers. I told her that I needed to use the bathroom and to go ahead without me, then went outside to smoke a cigarette. As I puffed on my Parliament Light, I considered just hopping in my car and driving it through the Home Depot across the street, for no reason at all. 

I plop down next to her, where she's munching away on Goobers. She babbled on about work and going to school at night and blah blah blah I didn't care. All I wanted to do was get lost in a film, so I didn't have to think about how worthless my life was and how I wasn't going anywhere and how I didn't deserve to live. I just kept grunting and giving her one-word answers. 

The lights went down, and I was finally at peace. For the time being. 

Before The Dark Knight came out, I had always said that Heath Ledger was going to be the best actor of our generation. When he was cast as the Joker, I was one of the very few people who were able to say "perfect, that's absolutely perfect". Those sentiments started that evening. His performance in Brokeback Mountain is absolutely flawless. As someone who was just realizing his passion for performing, that was all the inspiration I would need. 

In my unstable state, I got completely lost in the character and his inner-anguish. During all of the melodramatic, intense scenes ("I wish I knew how to quit you"), I was able to hold it together. Then came the moment that would break me: 

It's the scene towards the end of the film where Linda Cardellini's character, distraught, approaches Ledger in a diner, asking why she blew him off. He's his usual, bottled-up self, with a stifled pain in his eyes, just eating a slice of pie, by his lonesome. 

Just eating a slice of pie, by himself. 

A man in his late 30's, divorced with two children, broken and alone, just eating a slice of pie in a restaurant, by himself. 

He's pushed away everyone who's ever loved him because he can't be with the one person who makes him happy. Now he's in a diner, eating a slice of pie, by himself.  

My eyes welled up with tears. 

Am I going to turn out that way?!? No one wants to be around me now because I'm miserable. Am I going to be that guy, eating a slice of pie, by myself, because I've pushed everyone away?!?

Tears begin streaming down my face. 

Am I on my way to becoming the 40-year-old, eating a slice of pie by myself in the diner, because of my actions?!?

My mouth opens wide, my eyes shut, and I let out a long, silent cry. Like one of those little kid cries that looks like a cat yawning. I start fucking BAWLING. Inconsolable, heartbreaking, sobbing. 

MySpace girl kept it together the whole time. I tried to hide that I was having a complete mental breakdown. When she glanced over and saw my howling, she did a double-take. I tried to hide my face, but my cheeks looked like I sprayed them with a garden hose. She immediately went into her purse, grabbed a tissue, and handed it to me. Then took my hand, pulled it towards her, and assured me that everything will be okay. 

So here I was, sobbing uncontrollably during a gay cowboy movie, with my date consoling me and feeding me tissues. 

By the end of the film, I had calmed down, with one little hiccup when Ledger decides to blow off work to go to his daughter's wedding. (His daughter in the film is played by Kate Mara, who is a descendant of the Mara family, who are the owners of my beloved New York Football Giants. Just an fun little trivia.) 

Cut to the car ride home, which is mostly silent. My eyes are puffy and red, and I keep breaking the silence by sniffing tear snots, loudly. I'm too embarrassed to look in her direction. 

We pull up in front of her house, and I put the car in park, which is something I didn't bother to do when I picked her up. 

MySpace Girl: "I had fun! Thank you so much!" 

Doorman: "Yeah, me too!" 

I lean in for a kiss, and she's reluctant and backs up. I pause and look at her. 

Doorman: "What's wrong?" 

MySpace Girl- "I think It's time to call it a night." 

Doorman: "Are you sure?" 

MySpace Girl- "Yes, I'm sure. I had a great time, though!" 

Doorman: "Okay. Can I call you sometime?"

MySpace Girl: "Yeah, we'll see. i have a lot of stuff going on, so... we'll see what happens." 

She got out and disappeared into her split-level home. 

I sent her a message on MySpace a couple of days later, asking if she wanted to get dinner and hang out. She never responded. Our paths crossed again, years later, through a mutual friend. She's married with a kid now. Good, I'm happy for her. 

I stopped taking accutane about a week after and returned to my normal self. My skin eventually cleared up, and I became a handsome young man. To this day, I get choked up whenever I watch that scene with Heath Ledger eating the pie in the diner. I still consider him to be one of the greatest actors of our generation. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Oh, You Wrote a TripAdvisor Review? You Must Be Really Smart

I was killing time and thumbing through TripAdvisor reviews on my iPhone, when I came across a particular one that made me laugh like a bastard.

This person complained that the doorman would frequently slam the door in their face in favor of speaking to attractive women on the street. It made me laugh, because I do that all the time. What, the doorman can't do a little harmless flirting? Are you that important that you can't open your own door while I chat up a nice young lady?

The funny thing about the review was that this person thought I was being discriminatory. I can guarantee you that wasn't the case at all. Without knowing exactly who this person was, I can tell you why I blew them off:

I greeted them at their shuttle or taxi, carried their heavy fucking bags to the door, opened the door, carried their heavy fucking bags up the steps, lead the way to reception, placed the heavy fucking bags next to them, and said "enjoy your stay" with a smile.

They walked right to reception without a tip or a thank you.

I'm reasonably okay with not getting that tip. Unless I'm carrying in 20 bags, I can usually deal with someone not tipping me on the way in. The doorman usually gets taken care of on the way out. It's the lack of manners that kills me. I understand that I'm a doorman, and, to most people, not worthy of your time. But I just performed a half-dozen duties that deserved a little acknowledgment.

When you perpetually perform a task for people with no thanks in return, you become uninspired to do so. When I open the door for ten people in a row without a thank you, I'm going to be conditioned to expect that the 11th will blow me off as well, so they may be the unfortunate recipient of my frustrations. And when you didn't give me the time of day when I greeted you, don't expect me to go out of my way to help you later on.

I find that the people who complain about the attitude of the service staff are usually the people who mistreat them right off the bat. I've gone to restaurants and stayed in hotels with people who are absolutely awful to the help, then complain when it isn't four-star service. When you speak to someone like an animal, then why the fuck would they want to go out of their way for you? And for us folks who rely on tips, why would we want to please someone who ultimately won't be paying for your services?

Do you know how many reviews I've read about the "bell boys that let us walk right by them down the steps without any help?" You want to know why? It's because they know you're not going to give them a fucking dime. In my hotel, and I'm sure every bellhop-service one in the country, we have a code that we can yell across the lobby, letting the other bellmen and doormen know that helping this person is a thankless task.

So if you want to stiff your doorman and treat him like a piece of shit, just remember that before you get your room key, the rest of the staff, which can be a essential cog in truly experiencing the city, is made aware.

For example, when I see a guest stiff their taxi driver, help them inside, then get nothing, I walk past the bellman and say "Kevin, the Mets won." Kevin then hides on the toilet when it comes time to take the guest up to the room.

It's the same reason an NFL coach pulls his star QB during a blowout. Why risk getting hurt when there's nothing left to gain?

Why am I going to put strain on my body, risk a hernia or neck injury, for free?

Some more TripAdvisor grievances to take with a grain of salt:

"We got there early, but we had to wait till 3pm to check in. But we saw people who came after us get their room keys early."

People don't know how fucking hard a hotel maid works. Whenever I complain about lifting a bag without at tip, I need to remind myself of the college kid that took a dump behind the television, and the maid that had to make that room livable before 3pm.

I've been through the hallways of plenty of hotels between the hours of Noon and 3pm. It's like an ant farm. Countless maids working frantically like dogs to clean the messes of these animals while collecting chump change for days worth of hard work. It takes a lot to make a room look as good as new after a weekend of partying.

There are many kind of rooms- King, Queen, Double, Twin, Suite, Smoking, Non-Smoking, etc. The rooms are cleaned as people exit them. If everyone with a King bed decides to wait till 12:30pm to vacate the room, then it'll fuck things up for everyone who reserved a King bed for that evening.

You know how to make sure you get your room at 3pm when the hotel is busy? Come on, you know god damn well what.

"Front desk agent was rude and didn't smile."

Front desk agents are trained to talk like robots. This is because many people are stupid and need to be spoken to as such. Another reason many guest service agents are disgruntled is because they deal with all of the problems without reaping any of the benefits that a concierge or bellman will get (i.e. restaurant, car commissions). It's another thankless job. Particularly in a foreign-tourist-heavy hotel like mine, they deal with many people who haven't traveled to the states before. It's exceedingly frustrating just to tell them how to walk to the gift shop- now try and explain holding $50 from their credit card for incidentals.

Like any industry position, you get into your fair share of altercations. Have you ever had a blow-up with another person, then had to keep yourself completely calm, cool, and collected afterwards? It's difficult, isn't? When a front desk agent is belittled and mistreated, they'll be on their guard for it to happen again with the next guest, which will certainly affect most people's tone of voice and composure. Don't take it personally. Approach your front desk agent with a smile. Let them know that you're going to make it easy on them. It'll put them at ease, in case they're fresh off a nightmarish guest, and will make for a smoother check-in.

Any outlandish unsanitary incident. 

I was friendly with a front office manager in a hotel that I used to work at. She used to tell me all sorts of stories about guests threatening to write reviews about cleanliness on TripAdvisor. My favorite was a man who wanted an upgrade to a suite on a Saturday night: he threatened to take a picture of a used condom, post the picture on the website, and say that it was there in the room when they checked in.

He got what he wanted.

Just because someone snaps a pic of dried blood on the sink on their iPhone, doesn't mean that there's a hooker's corpse rotting underneath every bed. People can post whatever they damn-well please on this site, and if they didn't get what they wanted, or a staff member was rude, or even gotten themselves thrown out for whatever reason, they can get a little revenge by telling a story.

Don't get me wrong, maids can sometimes overlook something gross. Things happen. But if you don't see many reviews regarding the poor hygiene of the hotel, then one isolated incident shouldn't be anything to worry about. If you see a hotel and every other review is about something disgusting, then it's very likely to be a hellhole.

"This hotel has bed bugs."

Bed bugs in hotels is like HPV in human beings- it's passed through all of us at some point.

"The room didn't look like it did on the website!"

Oh, come on. When was the last time you ordered a Big Mac and it looked like the one in the picture?

"The elevators took a long time."

Well, yeah, it's a fucking hotel. There are lots of people in it, going out and doing things. Do you think you're the only one on vacation?

Do's and Don'ts

If you feel compelled to write a review about a hotel, make sure you do the following things:

- Be specific.

If you want to sing the praises of staff members, include their name. Saying "bell boys were helpful" won't help anyone. If a staff member goes out of their way for you, then make sure you're giving credit where it's actually due. We wear name tags for a reason. If you just generalize the whole staff, management won't give a shit. A lot of hotels have reward programs for their employees when they get positive feedback from guests. If you want to help the person who made your vacation a great one, then make sure you single them out from the rest of the staff, or it will go unnoticed.

Same goes for when you want to complain about someone.

You know why I didn't get in trouble for the "talking to hot girls" incident? Because there's ten other guys that could've been working the door at any given time. If you don't specify who they are and what they did to offend you, then it will fall on deaf ears, guaranteed.  Worst case scenario, a memo will be put on the bulletin board in the break room about "professionalism and courtesy". That's not going to scare anyone.

If someone treated you poorly, and it was unjustified, then by all means, use their name. If you don't remember the name, then make sure you include the day and time in which it happened. Just keep in mind that you're going back to your real life, out of vacation mode, and the attitude of the front desk agent will be a distant memory once you resume dealing with your real-life problems. Maybe they were having a bad day. Maybe they deserve the benefit of the doubt. You're never going to see them again, so who gives a shit? Consider that what you say on TripAdvisor could get them fired. Ask yourself if they truly deserve that. 

- Don't tell a story. 

Don't put bullshit in the subject line like "Dad's 50th". If you want to show off your awesome storytelling skills, then write a blog. No one wants to read a fucking narrative about the big, bad, city and all of the things that went wrong. No one is going on TripAdvisor to read a twenty paragraph saga about your adventures on the subway and how you accidentally ended up in Brooklyn. Get to the point, and keep it short. Remember the important details, keep it under two paragraphs, and get the fuck out. 

- Grammar. 

Dude, if you can't read and write, no one is going to take your review seriously. If you write a review that looks like this: 

"my experience at the hotel with my family was bad no towels in the bathroom the cafe was overpriced and busy and the waitress was nice but overall location was brilliant only 5 moon walk to times square and central park yaaaaayayyyaaaayyyy fart" 

I don't care about your opinion. 

In the end, when you're looking through TripAdvisor in search of the perfect place, you need to know what it is you're looking for in a hotel. What's most important to you? Is it top-notch service? Is it the location? Is it cleanliness? Unless you're springing a hefty penny for the Ritz Carlton, every hotel is going to have it's pros and cons. Figure out what pros are essential to your trip, and be prepared to make a few sacrifices in other areas. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Psycho Craigslist Roommate Series: Parts I-III

Click here to hear my reading of this story on the Just the Tips Podcast! 

Part I

It was December of last year. I was working on Staten Island, just out of a long relationship, making shit money, and living with my parents. It was not a good time. I had been job-hunting for over a year and a half with no success, and was desperate for anything that would come to me. Then I got the call to be a doorman. I was reluctant at first, because I didn't earn a college degree to become a doorman, but the hiring manager promised that it was a "six-figure job." Since I had never made more than 31k before taxes in a calendar year, I started signing the hiring papers three minutes later. (For the record, he's a fucking liar. I do very well, but it's because I have zero dependents. It is, in no way, a six figure job.) 

I was so eager to get the hell off Staten Island and start a new life for myself. So much that I started looking up apartments in Manhattan on my phone while on the way home from being hired. The ONLY smart decision that I made in this whole process was not moving into a place where I lived beyond my means based on my manager's "six-figure job" sales pitch. Since I work for tips and my salary is completely unpredictable, I decided to start small, searching through sublet ads and people looking for someone to take over their leases. I went to the place where you could find anything from a computer chair to a one-legged hooker- Craigslist. 

After sending out email after email pitching my cleanliness, non-smoking, and dominant chili, I came across this ad- 

"I need a room mate for my 1 bedroom apartment. I will be residing in the living room. The room is furnished with a full size bed and dresser.

I am looking for a nice, normal person who can pay $750/month for their own bedroom. The room is really big and there are two windows.Since I will be on the couch (trust me, not bad or weird at all) I would like someone who I am compatible with. I refuse to live in an awkward standoff for the next 6 months. Smokers are fine, I don't discriminate. First month and security due on move in. I do want a 4-6 month commitment. Move in date is negotiable, basically any time prior to January 15th. Males and females are ok, though female or gay male is preferred. I am a 27 y/o female and I don't want no baby momma drama. No pets... I don't have any and definitely don't want any. Religious fanatics need not apply.


-somewhat clean

-not creepy at all

-chill, can live with others
-respectful of personal space yet fun to hang with
-has a job, really any legal job will suffice
-not a felon
- lives in the US legally

Ok so if you think you will qualify, and want a awesome room mate, shoot over an email with a little about yourself and when you want to move in.

Rent: 750.00 per month"

Notice the highlighted part. You mean, it wouldn't be weird for a straight male to live in a one bedroom apartment with a female that he met off of the internet? Ya don't say? Nice job, idiot. 

To be honest, I don't know what the fuck I was thinking. The one thing I knew for sure was that the rent was super cheap, on the Upper East Side, and I was reading it from my parent's basement. When you're a 27-year-old bachelor living in your parent's basement, you tend to take stupid risks.

She was also the first person to get back to me after days of sending out emails. I think when people hear "27, male, straight, actor", it doesn't inspire a lot of confidence, no matter how awesome his chili. (Seriously, I make incredible fucking chili.) 

After a bit of email banter, we agreed upon a date where I could come and see the place. The location was incredible- right on 2nd ave in the heart of the Upper East Side, with every amenity imaginable within a one-block radius. Right below the apartment was a bar I once visited with one of the best on-tap beer selections in the city. I was immediately sold. 

The door buzzer was broken, and her cell phone was "out of commission", so I had to email her when I arrived. After waiting for 15 minutes, she finally emerged from the apartment. "Vanessa" was a petite girl, no more than 5'2 and would barely weigh 100 lb. soaking wet. I had done some Facebook investigating beforehand, and her profile picture portrayed a pretty, healthy looking woman. Though, like a bad OKCupid date, her Facebook page was wildly misleading. She had the face of an aged stripper, which sagged despite having nearly zero body-fat. Her tiny frame was clearly a product of bodily abuse, whether it drugs or an eating disorder, or a combination of both. 

She insisted on having a cigarette before we went in, so we talked outside and got to know each other. At first, she seemed reasonably normal, explaining why she was looking for a roommate. The story was pretty simple: her roommate got knocked up and moved to Florida so her parents could help her raise the baby. OK, people get pregnant. That's part of life. While she told me her story, I noticed that she was very hyperactive, with lot's of little ticks and twitches. She would constantly roll her sleeves up and down when she spoke. When it wasn't that, she tied her hair into a ponytail, then undid it, then tied it again. She also spoke very quickly, but so do I, so I chalked that up to nerves and being a New Yorker. 

We get into the apartment, and it's a fucking disaster- clothes all over the floor, an ashtray full of cigarette butts, empty beer cans all over, old fast food wrappers from top to bottom. I'm a slob, so I can stand a little bit of someone else's mess, but this was unacceptable. First thing she tells me when I walk in was that she was having a cleaning lady come in that week.

The apartment was also seventh-layer-of-hell hot. She seemed completely unfazed by this. And here's a prime example of denial- in my delusional brain, I thought that there was no way a drug addict could live in this kind of heat and not die of heatstroke. That was my logic. Within five minutes of meeting this woman, I already had to have an inner-debate about whether or not she was a drug abuser. I was trying to spot track marks on her arms every time she rolled up her sleeves, for fuck's sake. (I gave her the benefit of the doubt, because how else was I going to live in such an awesome neighborhood for so cheap, right?)


She shows me the bedroom. It's a sizable one, with a nice closet. And, oh! There's a fire escape! Wouldn't that be cool? To bring a girl back to my place and have her climb out the fire escape because my roommate fell asleep with a crack pipe in her mouth and burned down the fucking living room?!? 

(But seriously, this apartment is all about the location. There's a Pinkberry that's open 24 hours right across the street. Let's not lose focus, Doorman.)

The room had a bed, entertainment center, and dresser. When I went to check out the closet, I noticed a hole close to the bottom of the door.

"What's this?" I asked.

"What's that?" she asked, as she tied another boy scout knot into the back of her hair. "Oh, that! Yeah, well, like, my roommate was a total fucking bitch and she moved out to live with her boyfriend. So, like, I got really ridiculously mad at her and her ridiculousness this one day and I kicked the door."

Didn't she just tell me that her roommate got pregnant and moved to Florida to live with her parents?!? WAKE UP, STUPID!!! 

(No, Doorman, that sounds perfectly reasonable. You must have heard wrong. Plus, having a fully-furnished bedroom saves you close to a grand, right off the bat.)

"Yeah, I hear that." I said, without hesitation. "Let's go get a drink." 

Cut to the bar downstairs, where the unbelievably hot bartender is pouring me a Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale, one of my favorite beers, off the tap. 

"Oh, man. That's a treat." I babbled, as I took a sip of the golden nectar that is Smuttynose. "So tell me a little about you." 

She went on to tell me that she was a freelance writer, and that she had been renting out the bedroom while she did an internship with some online music blog. She promised comps to indie concerts and opportunities to network my writing. Couldn't hurt to do a little networking, right? The more we talked, the less twitchy she became and the more at ease I felt about the whole situation. Then this happened: 

"I had to go to the hospital recently for stomach pains, then they admitted me." she blurted, out of the blue. 

"Everything okay?" I asked, as if I had a solution to whatever problem she wanted to throw my way. 

"Oh, yeah! Totally fine! They give you a psychological evaluation when you're in the hospital, and if you say the wrong thing, they automatically call you bi-polar and keep you for a few days. But I'm not bi-polar. They don't know what the fuck they're talking about." 


(Doorman, quit your bellyaching. You can withstand a little bit of crazy. You can walk to work from here! Plus, the 4 train is right there! It runs express to Bowling Green, which will have you at the Staten Island Ferry in 15 minutes. Don't be a pussy.) 

"Whoa, I didn't know that they did that at the hospital." 

Just know that the purpose of telling this story is to illustrate what an idiot I was. At this point, there were more red flags being waved than a Kansas City Chiefs home game. But after spending my whole life on Staten Island, never taking any risks, and a year and a half back at home with my parents, I got caught up in all of the amazing things around me, and made one of the stupidest decisions of my life. 

"Let's move forward with this!" I declared, as I took the final swig of my Smuttynose. 

We agreed to do a one-month trial. Meaning that if it wasn't working out after a month, I'd be off the hook and we would part ways amicably. Crazy or not, to share a tiny one-bedroom apartment with anyone, even the best of friends, is a difficult thing. She wrote up this lease: 

"Leasor: "Vanessa" 

Leasee: "Doorman"

Doorman will pay Vanessa $750 rent and $750 security upon move in on January 14, 2012.
Monthly rent is $750 due on the 15th of every month. This is a one month trial period. Should Doorman
decide to stay, this is a 4 month agreement. If Doorman decided to move prior to the 4 months, he must give
Vanessa 30 days notice. If Doorman is 15 days late on the rent, Vanessa has the right to evict him with 5 days
notice, unless other arrangements are made.

Rent includes internet, electric, heat, and water. If cable is added, that will be worked out separately.
There is a fee for using the AC, as it spikes the electric bill. If the bill is over $85 (almost never) the
remainder will be paid by Doorman if the AC was on."

And with that, I moved in with Vanessa. Little did I know, I would only spend 10 days honoring that lease. 

Part II

The lease has been signed, and I have written her two $750 checks, one for the first month's rent, one for security. 

I'm wheeling a cart around Target, getting stuff for my second "moving out of my parent's house" round of shopping. I've spent the whole afternoon emailing Vanessa, asking her if she owns the bare essentials to having your own apartment: 

Me- Do you own utensils? 

Vanessa- No, I don't eat food with forks. I eat a lot of fast food. 

Me- Do you have a microwave?  

Vanessa- No. Never needed one. 

Me- A toaster?

Vanessa- No. 

Me- Coffee maker? 

Vanessa- No. 

Me- Pots and pans?

Vanessa- (laughs) 

Me- Plates and bowls? 

Vanessa- No, I don't do dishes. 

She wasn't kidding. When I moved into the apartment, she had NOTHING in her cabinets or fridge. Not even a half a bottle of ketchup, with the dried-up pasty red crust on the brim. Absolutely, positively nothing at all. The only thing in her medicine cabinet was a toothbrush and a contact lens case. To her credit,  she made good on the cleaning lady promise. The apartment was immaculate. This would be the only time that I had a clear view of the living room floor.

Vanessa wasn't home that day, and my little brother helped me with the move-in. We piled all of my crap into the living room/kitchen/roommate's bedroom. 

"Where's your roommate's room?" he asked. 

"You're standing in it, bro" I shamefully replied.

Being the polite, supportive younger sibling, all he could muster was a weak "Oh... cool." 

We finished bringing all of my crap inside, and I treated him to a burger and beer in the bar downstairs, where we watched playoff football and shot the shit. I sent him on his way, not knowing that would be that last bit of home-comfort that I would feel for the next several weeks. 

I came home and started unpacking in an apartment that's at least 100 degrees. After tearing the place apart to find a thermostat with no success, I opened the two windows in the bedroom as wide as they go... in the middle of January. Ten minutes later, I was freezing my balls off. Shut the windows, sweat like a pig for ten minutes, open them again. I repeat this pattern for the next 2 hours and during every subsequent night's sleep for the rest of my stay there. 

Vanessa comes home: 

"Oh my God, you're home. It's, like, so fucking ridiculously cold out." 

She does a slow collapse to the floor, and puts her face on it. 

"Oh my God, this floor is so warm." 

She gets up and begins stripping off her jacket and bag. 

"Oh my God, I'm like totally blowing up with my blog." 

I ask about the thermostat. 

"Oh, there's no thermostat in here. It's in the landlord's apartment." she says, as articles of clothing fly all over the living room. 

"What? Is that even legal?" I asked. 

"So I have this OKCupid date tonight with this guy, Mike. He's, like, super successful and lives in this ridiculously nice building on Madison ave with a doorman and everything. At least that's what he told me in the email. You're single, right? You probably know about these things. OH MY GOD!!! Can I, like, write a blog about your singleness? Like your one night stands and stuff? My blog is like so blowing up right now. I got, like, 50 views in Korea today! Oh my GOD, that would be so FUCKING FUN!!! I'm sure you have so many ridiculous stories!!! I totally lost my debit card. Can I borrow $20 in case he doesn't pay for the date? I'll totally pay you back when I get my debit card back. Do you like the show Shameless?!? Oh my God, I have to shower! I'm gonna be late for my date!!! Do you need the bathroom?" 

Before waiting for an answer, she grabs her robe and vanishes into the bathroom. To quote one of the greatest sitcoms of all time:

I've made a huge mistake... 

Like an asshole, I leave her $20, and go to the supermarket. 

After a bachelor-fridge-filling food and beverage run, I came home to her sitting on the floor Indian-style, doing her make-up. As I unloaded my groceries, she babbled on about the guy she used to date, and how she just had him buy her a new laptop, which was nothing to him because he was "so, like, ridiculously rich."

Talking to her was like being a high school teacher at an all-girls school, when an incident happens and twenty girls try to tell you what happened at once. She would bounce around from topic to topic without a bridge, then ramble on about her past without ever getting to a point. Nine times out of ten, I wasn't sure which conversation I was having, whether it was about her job or her "ridiculously annoying mother." Spending more than sixty seconds around her was mentally exhausting.

After a 15-minute tornado of words while she applied her eye-liner, I finally managed to get in one question:

"What's the wifi code?!?" I blurted as quickly as possible, completely disregarding the last thing she said, whatever the fuck it was.

"The modem over there is broken because it was a piece of shit, so I've been using a cable." she explained, in what was her shortest sentence on record.

She pointed to the wall, where there was a short cable that extended just to the coffee table, next to the couch where she slept. Definitely not going to reach all the way into my room.

"Ok, when can we get a new modem up and running?" I asked, carefully trying to not derail the conversation so she can start psycho-babbling again.

"We need a new one, they only cost, like, forty dollars. So ridiculously cheap."

I already didn't trust giving her anymore money.

"Great! I'll tell you what- I'll go to Best Buy and pick up the modem, and you can call the cable company to install it. Deal?"

"Totally! Deal! Just leave the modem on the coffee table and I'll do it as soon as I get home! Oh! Can I borrow twenty more dollars? I'm running late and I need to take a taxi."

I had the cash.

"Nope, sorry. Spent all my cash on groceries."

First night in the place, and she was willing to start $40 in the hole with me. This was not good.

"Oh that's totally cool! You make all this cash, I don't ever have to go to the ATM!" she said as she threw on her pocketbook and headed towards the door.

(Don't worry, Doorman, did you see the dime that lives across the hall? I bet she gives one helluva-)


I went to Best Buy to purchase the stupid modem. It was forty bucks, just like she said. On the way home, I stopped at the bar downstairs for a Smuttynose, and I noticed that it had a Ms Pacman machine. Since I had no internet, television, and the apartment was about as comfortable as a mud hut in Ghana, I dominated the Pacman machine for the rest of the evening, earning the 9th highest score. I signed my initials "DRM". 

Woke up the next morning at around 9:30am to a ruckus going on in the living room. Vanessa was in there, frantically trying to get ready for work. It was a Monday. The coffee pot was brewing and overflowed, with brown water and grinds all over the kitchen counter. 


I stared at her, horrified. The modem was still fresh in the box, on the table, just where I left it. 

"So you'll be able to install the modem when you get home, right? You have the wifi codes?" I asked as I used a half a roll of paper towels to soak up the kitchen counter. 


"Nope, sorry. No cash till I get to work." 

This pattern happened every morning for the rest of the week. I'd wake up anywhere between 9 and 10am, and she'd be in the living room, running around like she had just been set on fire, trying to get ready for work, which started at 9am. She'd fuck up the coffee pot, ask me for money, then make up an excuse as to why she didn't install the modem. 

I found myself asking- "if this girl didn't have any cash now, then what happens when she gets fired from this job?"

I had to get out of there ASAP. 

Before I left for work, I began feeling people out for spare bedrooms and people looking for roommates, which, looking back on it, was what I should have done before moving out of my parent's house. After a few hours and no success, I finally got a bite from an old friend, who was using the second bedroom in her apartment as an office:

"Just text me if you need the room, and come over. No stress, no questions asked." 

Everyone should have a friend like that. 

Now I had to figure out how to tell her that I was moving out after the one-month trail. I still had about three weeks to go, but after the fuck that was the first week, I was going to try and worm out a little early. Trouble was, after Thursday night, she went completely off the grid for two days. I tried calling, texting, emailing, nothing. No sign of her at all. Still, to this day, I had no idea where she was. 

Then came that fateful Sunday night, where my beloved New York Football Giants took on the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game on their road to Super Bowl glory. 

I had gotten out of work at 9, just in time to catch the middle of the 3rd quarter. I took a taxi home, and bolted upstairs to throw on my old, mustard-stained Jeremy Shockey jersey that I've worn for every single game since 2006. When I opened the door, there she was, sitting on the couch, almost catatonic. 

"Hey! What's up?" I reluctantly asked, hoping that she wouldn't start one of her tirades and keep me from watching the game downstairs. 

"Nothing." she replied, as she stared blankly at her computer screen. The modem still lay on the desk, unopened. This pissed me off. 

"You okay?" 

"Not really. Not feeling too well." 

I'd never seen her this calm. It was just as frightening as her manic mornings. 

"Oh, sorry to hear that. I'm going to the bar to watch the rest of the game. Wanna join?" I asked, hoping to God that she would decline. 

"No, I'm good." she responded, as cold and still as one can be. I wasn't sure what she was looking at on the computer, but she was wrapped up in a blanket and her hands weren't free, and I'm positive she wasn't watching TV. She may very well have been staring at a blank computer screen. 

"Okay, well feel better!" I gleefully said as I made my way to the door. "Hey, if you get a chance, can you call the cable company and install the modem?" 

"Yeah, sure." 

If I weren't in such a rush to watch the game, I probably would have taken a minute to process how strange that was. But I love football, and I love me some Smuttynose, and I was about to indulge in both, so I blew it off. 

From there I watched one of the most brutally tough football games ever. The Sweet Prince, Eli Manning, was beaten to a pulp, kept getting back up, and let his team to victory. All the while, I pounded Smuttynose after Smuttynose and made friends with strangers. When Lawrence Tynes drilled an OT field goal to send the Giants to their second Super Bowl in four years, we all celebrated to Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind". For the next three hours, I made a ton of friends, and we laughed and celebrated and played Ms Pacman. It was one of the funnest nights of my life. That was until I returned home... 

The thing about Smuttynose is that it's not something that you can drink all night. It's heavy and strong, and goes down like Iced Tea. I was in celebration mode, and never got a chance to eat dinner, so by the time the night was over, I was SHIT HAMMERED drunk. 

So shit hammered drunk that I would stop at nothing to watch highlights of the game.

But if only I had internet connection in my bedroom. 

I came rumbling up the steps and, after a dozen tries to get the key in the door, entered the apartment. There she was, sound asleep on the couch, with the motherfucking modem still on the coffee table, untouched. 

Of course she didn't, I thought. 

Fuck this noise. I grabbed the modem box off the table, and opened it with my teeth. I refuse to spend one more night jerking off with my iPhone. If I'm going to live here for another three weeks with this crazy bitch, I'll damned if I don't have me some wifi. 

I stagger into my room and collapse onto the bed, opening the instructions, which tells me that I have to call my cable and internet provider. After struggling to see straight and google the 24-hour customer service line, I was in business. The lady on the phone was very nice and patient with my Walter Matthau-like drunkeness. When it was time to plug in the modem, I went into the living room, ever so quietly. (And by "ever so quietly", I mean as quiet as a sloshed baffoon can be in the dark while trying to install electronic equipment.) 

I immediately started dropping things, yanking wires out of the wall, and getting frustrated. Every time I make a noise, I hear her roll over. After a few minutes, I think I've successfully installed this modem. I run into my room and turn on my laptop. No internet connection. Well, what the fuck? I still have the lady on the phone, so she says to go back and make sure the wires are in the right jacks. 

On my way back, I trip over one of Vanessa boots, stagger to the side, get my foot caught on one of the wires that I yanked out, and fall flat on my face- a slow, inebriated timber ending with a loud "THUD" on the hardwood floor. She heard that. 


And, with the last bit of strength I had in me while lying on my belly, I said:

"Well, if you had installed the modem this week like I asked, we wouldn't be in this spot, would be?" 

I slowly climbed to my feet and went to bed without saying another word. 

And just like that, like so many times in my life, my credibility was instantly ruined by a stupid, drunken decision. 

The next morning, I woke up at 7:30am. It was Monday, so I expected her to be oversleeping at this point, so I could avoid any interaction with her while I went to pee. When I opened the door, she was sitting there, eating a dry bowl of lettuce. 

"Oh, hi." I said, still my underwear. 

"I don't appreciate the way you spoke to me last night, so ridiculously rude." she remarked, chomping on the lettuce that I had bought the day before. 

"Look, I'm sorry, I had too much to drink and thought I was being quiet. It won't happen again." I explained, with my tail between my legs. 

"It's fine, I like, never get mad at anything. We're cool." 

Whoa, for a second, I thought I may have pegged her all wrong. Maybe she was just a little socially inept? Maybe she was just nervous about living with a guy? Maybe she's calmed down a bit, and this might actually work out. 

After going to the bathroom, I threw on some basketball shorts and got back to work on the modem while she got ready. We didn't say much to each other, and for the first time since I moved in, we were able to co-exist in the same room without any awkward tension.  

After a few minutes of futzing around with wires, I was still unable to figure out why the connection wasn't working. And, ever so gently, I asked: 

"Vanessa, do you remember which one of these goes into the wall?" 

She looked at me, with her eyes open wide with rage. Like a rabid pit bull, she stomped towards me, yanked the wire out of my hand, and lost her fucking mind: 


She pulls out one wire, and replaces it with another. 


I braced for her to start hitting me, but she didn't. She merely walked back to her mirror, sat on the floor, and went back to applying her makeup, as calmly as ever. 

I picked up my laptop and scurried into my room. The internet connection worked, but I just sat there and stared at a blank screen for the next twenty minutes, terrified. 

The next thing I heard from outside the door was her stand up and grab her coat. 

"Hey, Doorman?" I heard her say. "Let's not fight. I want this to work out." 

She left without waiting for my response. 

Part III 

(Don't look at me, bro. I didn't put a gun to your head. No one forced you to move in with that crazy bitch. I was merely highlighting the amenities that the Upper East Side had to offer. You're not mad at me, right? Doorman? You're not mad at me, right?)

I'm startled by the sound of a horn honking, and an angry man asking for valet parking. Three hours into my shift, and I don't think I've had a meaningful interaction with another human being. I'm too preoccupied with how the fuck I'm going to get out of this god-forsaken situation. The only progress I've made is this: 

- Tell her that you're leaving at the end of the month. 

- Offer to help her find another roommate, poor soul that may be. 

- Casually ask for my security deposit back. 

- Spend as little time in the apartment as possible. 

(Great plan, Doorman. I'm on board!) 

Still not talking to you. 

Three hours later, I'm sitting in the break room, stuffing my face with halal food and watching Mob Wives, which sadly makes me nostalgic of Staten Island in all of the wrong ways. Ten days into living in Manhattan, and I'm completely miserable and scared to go home. This was not part of the plan. 

After watching plastic guido ladies yell and each other, I send a text to Vanessa, asking if she'll be home tonight: 

Vanessa- Yeah, why? Bringing home some ladies? lol

Me- Hahaha! No, just checking lol. Sorry to bug you! See you later! 

There I was- a grown man, nearly six feet tall, 200 lb., who fearlessly screams in the faces of taxi drivers from third-world countries who have probably killed people, absolutely terrified of this little fucking white girl. 

After my shift, I opted to walk home because it took longer, like I used to do when I was a kid and coming home with a shitty report card. Only I used to come home to parents who loved me unconditionally, not some unpredictable stranger with a newly-aquired knife set, thanks to my little trip to Target a couple of weeks ago. 

When I got to the front door, I paused and got my act together, telling myself to man-up. 

She's a human being, I thought. She'll understand. You're giving her three weeks to find another roommate. She has no reason to deny you your security deposit. 

The door opens, and she's at her perch, staring at her laptop. 

"Hey." I sheepishly murmured. 

"Hey, what's up! How was work? I meant to tell you- you look so ridiculously cute in your uniform! Can you wear it on my birthday? THAT WOULD BE SO FUN!!! My birthday is in April, it's a done deal. We're having a costume party, and that's what you're wearing! OH MY GOD I'M TOTALLY HAVING A COSTUME PARTY ON MY BIRTHDAY!!! Thanks for the idea!" 

As flattering as this was, I needed to cut the bullshit and get to the point. 

"I just wanna let you know," I lead in, as a lump formed in the back of my throat. "that I'm not going to stay past the trial. I can afford my own place and I don't think that this is an appropriate living situation for me." 

Without looking up from her computer, she took a deep breath. I forced myself to stare into her black, dilated eyes. Her mania vanished, and back was the cold, calm, demeanor. I best be careful. 

"Oh my God" she whispered. "you're fucking me." 

"Excuse me?" I hesitantly asked, ready for a full-blown eruption. 

"You're fucking me." she drawled in the most sadistic of whispers. "You're, like, completely fucking me." 

"Alright, let's not flip out." 

"You're fucking me." 

If there was anything that I didn't want her to scream angrily for the neighbors to hear, it was "you're fucking me". I had to play this right. 

"Vanessa, I'm going to help you find a new roommate" I desperately proposed. "Everything will be fine." 

"Gee, thanks" she returned, still whispering, "I can't believe you're fucking me." 

"We have three weeks to find you a new roommate. It'll be fine." 

"I can't even process this right now. You need to stop talking to me, right now." 

I obliged. Went right into my room, stripped off my clothes, and stared at the ceiling. It was 8pm. I was going to bed at 8pm. All I heard from the living room was this: 

"Fucking asshole... fucking momma's boy... fucking ASSHOLE!!!" 

A thud and a crash. It sounded like she punched a wall, then broke something. I sprung up, locked my door, then jumped back into bed. Once again, a grown man, hiding under his covers from a boogieman in the closet. Only the closet is the living room, and the boogieman is a 5'2 demon ready to cut my nuts off. 

I didn't get a wink of sleep for the rest of the evening. 

My alarm snaps me out of a daydream about the last Thanksgiving I had with my family, where I felt trapped and ashamed to be 27 and still living at home. All I thought about during dinner was that I should be visiting, telling my family about all the things that I'm accomplishing out there in the real world. What I wouldn't give to be back, eating a home cooked meal as a resident. But I'll be damned if I was going to let my parents bail my out of this. I had to figure this out on my own. Besides, my little brother moved all of his shit into my old bedroom the second he dropped me off at this hellhole. 

I spent the morning scouring the internet for studio apartments, with no success. I only had about $1800 left to my name, since I had just given Vanessa $1500 for the rent and security deposit. Every landlord in the city requires first month and security deposit, right off the bat. In my emergency case, I was dealing mostly with brokers, who charge a hefty fee. I was fucked. I needed to work for a couple more weeks and save every penny, so I could bite the bullet, pay the fee, and get the fuck out of there. I've gone long stretches where I ate only ramen and grilled cheese sandwiches. I had no problem doing it again. 

But first, I needed to get Vanessa to calm down a bit. She was at work, so I emailed her: 


Judging by your reaction last night, it's clear that you are frustrated by my moving out. I do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you, but please remember that it was part of our lease agreement. Again, if there's anything I can do to help arrange a replacement (show the apt when you're not home, asking friends who are looking), please let me know. I don't want the remainder of our time living together to be awkward.

The reason I'm emailing is because my schedule will shift to late nights and I don't know when I'll see you next. And even though I'm paid up till Feb 15th, I may move before then, possibly as soon as the first. Obviously, I don't want a refund for the time that I'm not there, but I do expect my security deposit back at the time of my moving out. As far as the $20 and money you owe me for the modem, let me know what you want to do with that. I can just take the modem and we could call it even. Let me know if that works for you.

To wrap this up, I understand that you're very busy and this may cause you some inconvenience. For that, I'm sorry. Though I would appreciate it if we handled this amicably from here on out. I with you the best of luck with your career and in finding an awesome roommate.



What a classy guy. I didn't hear anything for the rest of the day, so I took a walk around the city before my improv class at UCB. After class, I checked my email. Nothing. Her silence was making me nervous. My classmates and I were headed to the bar, but this wasn't the time to start drinking. Not after last night. So I called: 

Vanessa- Yeah? 

Doorman- Hi. How are you?

Vanessa- I'm busy. I have a deadline. What can I do for you? 

Doorman- Did you get my email? 

Vanessa- Yeah. 

Doorman- Well? 

Vanessa- What do you want me to say? I don't like you. You fucked me! You fucked me! You fucked me and you used me to get out of Mommy and Daddy's house till you got some money in your pocket! You fucked me! 

She hung up. 

I called right the hell back: 

Vanessa- WHAT? 

Doorman- Let's be a adults here! 

Vanessa- Oh, you want to be an adult? Adults don't FUCK other adults! You fucked me!!! You used me!!! Now you can go fuck yourself!!! 


Fuck this bitch. I called again: 

Vanessa- You need to stop calling me. 

Doorman- Vanessa, shut the fuck up for one second! 

She did. 

Doorman (con't)- I don't care what happens. I don't care how you feel about me. All I want is my security deposit back. All I want is my $750 back, and we can move on from this. 

She let out a slow, sinister cackle. 

Vanessa- You're funny. I wish to have a million dollars in my drawer when I wake up tomorrow. Feeling guilty, are we? Go fuck yourself. 


I don't know what that last part means, but that's what she said. Verbatim. 

Staring at my phone, I had two options- 

1- Call my parents, tell them I'm coming home, that I couldn't last more than two weeks in the big bad city.

2- Call my friend, who offered the couch in her office, and take it day by day. 

I hit send. Ringing... 

Doorman- Hey, I'm in a really bad spot. I don't know what to do. I need a place to stay. 

Nancy- Come over. Stay as long as you have to. No stress, no questions. 

Again, everyone should have a friend like that. 

I jumped on the L train and headed to her apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, went to the Duane Reade, bought a toothbrush and a six pack, and told her the whole story. I later found out that she was having several personal crisis of her own, but never let it be known. It was one of the most selfless, generous acts anyone's ever done for me. 

We thought up a simple game plan- I would wake up early, rent a moving truck, and get my shit out of there while she was at work. I would pack all my stuff into Nancy's tiny office, and her kitchen, and her closet, and stay there till I found my own place. 

And I did just that. I rented a U-Haul, got to the apartment, and moved everything out by myself. When I closed up the truck, I looked around 2nd ave, at all of the awesome places that I never got a chance to visit, and promised myself that I would be back there one day. 

There was still one lingering issue- my security deposit. I needed that money. I had purposely left a few small items in the apartment, and I hung onto the key, so I had an excuse to come back for the check. I sent over an email letting her know that I was coming by the next day to drop off the key and pick up the rest of my shit, asking her to leave the check on the kitchen counter. She didn't respond.  

I had a girl that I was seeing at the time come with me, in case she was home. I also wanted a witness saying that I had dropped off the key and left without damaging anything. When I opened the apartment door, the place look like a grenade hit it, just like it was when she showed me the apartment for the first time. Her clothes were all over the floor, there was a Vitamin Water bottle filled with cigarette butts on the coffee table, McDonald's wrappers on the couch. It looked like an animal had squatted in there for weeks. It had only been 24 hours. 

"You actually lived like this?" she asked. 

I wasn't up to tell the story again, so I just grabbed my things and put the key on the counter, where, of course, there was no check waiting for me. I sent her another email. Nothing. For the next week, I emailed her every morning, giving her a deadline to contact me regarding the deposit. No response. 

Enough was enough. I sent over one last email with the subject title "Last Chance": 


I'm filing a small claims suit today at 1pm regarding my security deposit. Get in contact with me before then if you want to avoid going to court. We have a written and signed contract and I'm owed $750 as per our agreement.



She finally responded, 5 minutes later. This is the last email exchange that we would have. It's copied and pasted directly from my email account, with only the names being changed: 


Although I love these threatening emails, I'd appreciate it if you left me alone. You are owed nothing from me as per our written agreement. Please read it a little more more carefully. Should you still decide to head to court, my attorney has been notified of this ridiculous matter and is fully prepared to defend my rights. Let me know if you are going to continue to waste your time and I will put you in contact with him since I have better things to do,


Doorman- Sounds good. 

VanessaYou entered the apartment one day after you moved out. That's felony breaking and entering. I am going to press charges this afternoon.

Doorman- I was still a tenant and had a key, which I dropped off. I also informed you via email that I would be doing so.

Vanessa- You took advantage of the situation. You demanded the security back 
prior to the end of the month in a threatening way. You have been 
threatening me for weeksYou took advantage of me and my home and I 
dontthink you understand what that did
 I know you dont care nor will you ever because ur a selfish asshole. but you really really fucked me. I think you knew the whole time what your plan was and used my apartment as a way to leave mommys house 
 before you found your own place.

Doorman- No need to be mean. We agreed to do a one month trial. It wasn't working for me. I am not in the wrong. If you would like to wait till the 15th to give me with the deposit, then it's only fair. You only received multiple emails because I wasn't getting a response. And from my count, I've only sent 3 since i moved out. My initial inquiry for the deposit was not threatening. I have all the emails.

Vanessayou didnt feel comfortable because I didnt want you to turn all the 
 lights on at 2am? sorry about that one. Again, I don't believe that was the case. I truly think you took advantage of the situation. can't find a room mate now and am unable to get by. This is why I wanted a room mate and shouldnt have been considerate and offered the month trial. Now Im getting sued. So sorry if my email wasnt kind.

I decided to cut off all communication with her. It was a useless endeavor. So I took a trip down to City Hall, and broke my "suing someone" cherry. The court date was scheduled for mid-July. I never heard from her again. 

The Aftermath 

I guess it wouldn't be fair to call it "aftermath." A few weeks after, I landed the amazing apartment that I'm in now, and got back on my feet. 

She never showed to the court hearing. I didn't expect her to, considering that, according to her Facebook page and blog, she has moved to LA. God help the city of angels. I won, obviously, via forfeit. Though I don't expect to ever see that money. It's earning interest, but again, the money is lost to me. What I was most concerned about was my safety, and I'm sitting here at my computer, safe and sound. 

Who knows what could have happened? I had this recurring dream of her throwing herself down a flight of steps, calling the cops and telling them that I beat and raped her. They see me, a guy twice the size of her, and throw me in handcuffs without letting me explain my side of the story. Sounds crazy, but with her, I wouldn't doubt it. Or she could have cut my dick off in my sleep. Seriously, who knows? 

My theory is that she's done this many times before. I would occasionally check craigslist to see if she reposted the ad, and she did, on two separate occasions between February and June. Someone told me that there's a show on television called Don't Trust the B in Apt 23, where a woman runs a scam by moving people into her apartment and driving them them insane, so she can force them out and keep their money. Sounds about right. 

But here's the purpose of all of this: 

Vanessa, I know you've seen this blog. And there's a very good chance that you're reading this. Keep the money. You clearly need it more than I do. If you ever want to post your side of the story, I'll put the link on this blog and twitter, unedited. I'm sure people would love to hear your side of it. I'm curious as well. 

If you want to take me up on this, email me at 

If not, then have a nice life and a big thanks for the material... bitch.