Jaxon Asmus, assistant producer of “Invisibilia,” “This American Life” and “Serial,” writes about living in NYC and cooking with her boyfriend on Valentine’s Day in 2018.
My boyfriend and I rented our apartment together in the West Village in early March. I fell in love with it immediately — and in case you were wondering, yes, I now live with a guy I met through Tinder.
Our apartment is a mess. We mess it up every day (which I’m still pretty good at). But it’s so much fun, and I feel like it’s our only creative outlet, so why not?
We came in early and scrubbed our shower and bathroom floors obsessively, which is how I ended up with this ridiculous, over-the-top bathroom carpeting. Then I had my boyfriend drop by the apartment that afternoon to take out the garbage. On the elevator, he pointed out that the outside of our stairwell shows a completely different view.
“That was the view I wanted,” he said, unconcerned with our terrible intersection of reality and fantasy.
Less than an hour later, we made our way into our small apartment on a wintry night, warm from the day’s heat, and presented our boyfriend with a tray of food for Valentine’s Day, which somehow had to be ready by the morning. We both imagined that our freezer was clogged with pastries and pizza, and we checked to make sure everything was really on time, like, “darn it, actually.” We love our kitchen as a home theater, with living room seating and a fireplace out front. It’s pristine except for the few messes that we’ve made.
Even our mattress is “messy.” It’s covered in deep-set patches of white bedding that aren’t easily accessible to us. Some of the foam over the beds doesn’t make sense, it feels like, but we figure it’s typical for a 10-night stay in an apartment with no furniture.
One thing I love about our apartment is that it makes so many friends. I constantly see people walking by, chatting up our landlord. The other day, a resident asked if we could live with her family. Another, who looks like a drag queen on a tour, offered to hang out all the time. I’ve been seen by a certain pizza place and invited there for drinks, which I jumped at, because I feel like I spend all my free time doing that. One week, I went to the bar at Baruch College and bumped into so many NYU grad students. Our neighbor, a guy named Jared, who lives across the street, was in the elevator when we arrived. I made a joke about them coming over to hang out, and he stood up from his chair with high heels and a red rose in his hand. “Happy Valentines Day, my friend!” he said, walking across the street. I have no idea if his home was ruined on that night.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my apartment is a great experiment in the ideals of living together. It’s authentic — a physical manifestation of our romantic partnership. No one is to blame for any of our messes, and we’re both happy with our situations. I feel like this apartment shows what we are really capable of.