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On my name tag were all the vitals: My name, how much I could afford, and my ideal location."The people looking for a room will be wearing a blue sticker, while people with rooms to spare will have a white sticker on," a staffer instructed me.
"Your job is to circle the room and talk to people displaying white stickers."The color coding proved immediately that there was a numbers problem: There were at least ten blue label bearers outnumbering each person with a white label, which means that people who were desperate to find a place to live — like myself — were lining up to chat with people with a room to let.
The scene wasn't so different from your typical happy hour on a weeknight: Young working professionals making small talk in a dimly-lit bar after work, with faint indie music playing in the background.
I was three sips into my piña colada when I met eyes with a guy standing on the opposite end of the room.
I wondered how many of these exchanges happened that night. I ended up finding a great apartment just 10 minutes north of the bar by answering another ad on Spareroom — the old-fashioned way for the digital age.
My search for the perfect living situation ended up being a lot less dramatic than a quest for love.
After dozens of unanswered inquiries and multiple viewings canceled at the last minute, I decided to try my luck at one of these events. K.'s largest flat sharing site and a less sketchy version of Craigslist.
This was probably the IRL of an inbox overflowing with eager responses for their ads.
I could feel my fellow blue stickers sizing each other up and eavesdropping on parts of other people's conversation — all masked in a vague sense of politeness and uneasy smiles.
I quietly thought to myself: "Look, I'm pretty sure he just flashed a friendly smile at you — why not go for it? That's because I'm not trying to get my flirt on with strangers at your regular speed dating mixer.
The reason I'm engaging in this "chit chat, get a number, rinse, repeat" song and dance on a Tuesday night was not to to "cuff a winter boo", as Cardi B has so succinctly put it.