As you all know, things have been looking up for Connor again. My money situation has now more or less resolved itself (an invoice came through today!), I have options as regards work and that looks like it’s stabilising now, and I’ve been getting back into the world of men that London offers me too.
It’s time to find a home, to stop living out of a suitcase, to not have to share a bedroom, to have an actual kitchen I can use.
I had a few half-leads on places to see from the internet and from estate agent windows. And then, on Sunday, I was on GROWLr, the app where gay men who are fat and/or hairy meet gay men who are admirers of men who are fat and/or hairy. Someone posted a “shout” on the app to every account in London. 2 men were looking for a third. They made it very clear that they were looking for a flatmate, not a bedmate. I thought it was an interesting place to find a flatmate.
The price was right, as was the location. I answered the ad and made an appointment to see the flat today.
I knew nothing about the area, other than that it was in Transport for London Zone 2, which meant it was an affordable commute to work. When I got off the train at Clapton station, I was delighted to see yet another new London.
Apparently, this is the largest Hasidic Jewish community in Europe and that’s immediately obvious as you walk around. And here was I, barely able to contain my excitement at it all.
The building my flat was in had notices in the corridor in Hebrew and the two men I passed on my way up the stairs had the hair and clothes I associate with Hasidic Jews and I got a thrill like the thrill I felt on my first night in Kazakhstan and on the night when I first landed in Ho Chi Minh City and on the first day of my PhD. This was something completely new for Connor.
I was let into the flat by a friendly man, older, with hair that’s going white, a belly and a plaited beard. He welcomed me, introduced himself and started showing me round the flat. It’s small, but clean and cosy and my bedroom is nice and big.
I met the man who was moving out – a Brazilian DJ at a gay bar in Compton Street. It didn’t take long for my host to sit me down on the sofa and make me a cup of tea.
Apparently, he’s had constant phone calls and messages about the room, but he has a feeling about me. And I have to be honest, I had a feeling about him too.
He was kind and maternal and he made me feel comfortable. He told me that he didn’t want a lodger that he’d never see. He wanted a friend, a family member, someone who would come home and tell all him all of his problems.
We chatted about the flat, but we mainly chatted about ourselves. It was very cosy. I would be sharing the apartment with him and his boyfriend, who I didn’t meet. His boyfriend is Portuguese and works in TV post-production and my host is a healer. Yes, a healer. He runs an acupuncture/massage/alternative therapy centre. And when I googled him later, I discovered that (at least at some stage in his life) he was also a rabbi. The flat is full of Jewish paraphernalia – pictures, candlesticks, ornaments.
He offered me the room, for no logical reason other than his gut instinct. And my gut instinct responded. I think two gentle gay parents may be exactly what I need. And if they aren’t, I have a room of my own with a double bed and wifi.
Six months ago, I would have viewed sharing a flat as a penance, and in my ideal world, I’d still choose to live alone, but I have a very good feeling about this. A very, very good feeling. I haven’t been quite as excited about a move since my sister drove me to Trinity Hall six years ago.
I’m due to move on Friday morning. We have to get the contract signed and money paid before Sabbath starts. Keep all your fingers crossed for me that nothing goes wrong between today and Friday.