Tuesday, May 27

The New York Times is in my mind this weekend, and I’m not just talking about Emily Gould’s essay on the Gawker spotlight and why we are compelled to be oh-so-personal online. To those who think the 10-page article is too self-absorbed: you have obviously never blogged.

But, back to the topic at hand: “Starting Salaries but New York Tastes”—locally known as “trying to find a one bedroom apartment in Toronto is the worst unless you’re willing to live in a tenement house or pay rent comparable to mortgage payments.” The problem is, once you decide that a one bedroom is what you are going to do, the rental offerings start picking away at all sensibility until you convince yourself it’s worth it.

I’d compare the feeling to Stockholm syndrome: Yes, slum landlords, your no-windowed basement is a great deal! Or, yes, greedy yuppie who just finished his first house flip, I do want to pay for your inability to renovate on a budget! There’s absolutely no middle ground when you want to live on your own: It’s either worth it to spend twelve months making do in a hovel, or worth it to live a year of squalor in order to afford a pretty pretty new place.

So it’s June first on Sunday and I still don't know where I'm moving. However, instead of getting stressed about this fact (though the condition of my skin would tell you otherwise) I decided to become passive-aggressive proactive by emailing a random craigslist landlord. The ad was posted by “Rise High Investments” and was offering a one bedroom, second floor apartment in a Victorian Annex reno for the lovely price of $1500.

These rentals aren’t uncommon, but what irked me was the fact that the place was advertised as “below market rent” due to its “reasonable price”. I refuse to believe that one person spending $18,000 a year is below market, even for the Annex. And so I emailed this opinion over.

Thanks for your email - very constructive and useful. As such, we are immediately dropping the rental price down to $1000/mth for this unit entirely based on your opinion. HA..just kidding!

Fine, fair enough. I did call you greedy and foolish.

…Let me give you a tip, rents for condo's (sic) downtown are much less than rents in the Annex (right beside UofT where there are 70,000+ students). In fact, would you believe that you can rent an even newer condo and nicer place than our unit (or a downtown condo) for even less rent...in north Brampton. Imagine that...location matters.

A normal person would generally end the argument there, but I had to keep going. And this wasn’t just because I obviously already know I could live in suburban housing for pocket change. I just had to get my “stop pretending Toronto is Manhattan!” point across. After all, I’m a blogger—we thrive on online anonymous conflict.

So the emails continued, containing such gems as “it's not that I'm trying to say you don't have the power to choose your renting price—if some guy with more money than brains is willing to pay it, fair enough—but just don't say something is 'below market' when it's not” and “I'm just calling you out for false advertising”.

And how did it all end?

He asked me out for coffee.

Well, if a girl can’t find a place to live at least there is some comfort in knowing it’s always easy to find a date. Fortunately I’m already in a long-term lease with someone else.