One of the age-old conundrums that face independently functional adults, no matter their generation, is the daunting task of hitting on neighbors. Whether you’re male or female, odds are that you have a hot neighbor. If there’s anything that every ’90s sitcom taught us, it’s that there’s always a hot neighbor. Always.
I moved into a new apartment about a month ago, and our realtor had conveniently neglected to tell us that one of the bedrooms, mine specifically, shared a wall with the unit next to us, which is great, considering I’m paying an arm and a leg in rent at this place. No matter. The shared wall with aluminum foil-thickness provided me with an in-depth look into the life of my neighbor. Voyeuristic? Maybe. Immoral? I didn’t think so. Entertaining? Absolutely.
So here’s the story. I moved in and met this neighbor one day while picking up my mail. She’s easily a seven at a distance, which is a solid pre-qualification of “neighbor hot.” Being neighbor hot simply means that you get points added to your rating on my 1-10 universal hotness scale simply because you live in close proximity to me. Maybe it’s some sort of primal, tribal instinct that makes me more attracted to women who live closer to me than those who don’t. Perhaps it’s just “girl next door” syndrome. Maybe science will one day give me the answer I so desire. As I closed in, it’s obvious that she’s even more attractive. Full-blown regular hot, on top of neighbor-hot.
One day, neighbor-hot hot neighbor and I are both happening to get our mail at the same time, so I decide it’s a great opportunity to make my introduction. I’m not the smoothest guy when sober, but put a couple of whiskey-sours into my stomach and I turn into white Enrique Iglesias, or so I’ve been told. It’s amazing how the side of my brain that processes how to talk to women can function at such a high level when I’m drunk, but be completely worthless when I’m sober.
I mustered up the courage to make my introduction and started out with the standard “Hey, I’m your new neighbor, Brian. Nice to meet you.” Instead, what came out of my mouth was “Hey, new neighbre, Brin. N’meet ya.” Great start. She laughed playfully as I tried to shove my garbled words back into my mouth, but unfortunately language doesn’t work like that. So, I corrected myself and made a much more dashing introduction. “Hi. I’m Teresa.”
So, here’s the critical juncture of interacting with the hot neighbor. What comes next after the introduction? I need to make her laugh. It’s critical. Make her laugh and then hint at maybe hanging out later. Observational humor. I decided to go with that.
“Looks like you got a lot of mail, there.”
She gave a sympathetic smile, like I was some kind of ugly dog on the street that she wished she could help, but wasn’t cute or affectionate enough to warrant bringing me home. “Well, it was nice to meet you, Brian.” Son of a bitch.
I returned to my apartment a defeated man. The first impression is the most important and I had blown it. No matter, I still have 11 months left on this lease.
Later that night, I heard some muffled arguing coming from her apartment. Must be her and her roommate disagreeing over the cable bill or something, I figured. But then I noticed one of the voices was deep and baritone. It was a dude. I quickly deduced that it was her boyfriend. They were really going at it. Something about kids and marriage. Really heavy stuff. I got out my headphones and got ready to put on some tunes to drown out their heated argument, but my curiosity had gotten the best of me. I continued listening.
They went on and on well into the night, the two of them going back and forth about topics that every couple argues about. To me, it was obvious that this guy was deathly afraid of commitment and was not ready to take the plunge with Teresa. I soon grew bored and finally turned in for the night.
The next morning, I saw the boyfriend exiting the apartment. I had him easily pegged for 35. He was overweight, had a messy beard and looked like every other fat, hipster sack that live in Austin. My mind raced with fury. Here’s this guy, not traditionally handsome, sloppily dressed and looking like Phillip Seymour-Hoffman after a three-day pizza binge, and he’s got the balls to not want to lock down my hot neighbor. Where do you get off, pal?
I gave him the half-hearted “morning” greeting and he just simply nodded towards me as he got in his 1997 Toyota Camry that was missing two hubcaps.
The next night, there was more arguing. More disagreement. More of this guy being an unappreciative dickhead. It went on like this for a solid week until the two finally broke up one night in what I assumed to be a tear-filled realization that the two of them just couldn’t keep going on like this. I heard him say that he just wasn’t ready for the commitment, AKA too broke to get married, and then he just stormed out. Hot neighbor then called her best friend and continued sobbing on the phone to her well after midnight. It was a real moment.
I’ve seen her around the complex lately. She looks pretty rough. The brightness is gone from her face and she seems like a broken woman, beaten down by a relationship with the worst boyfriend humanly imaginable. What a jerk.
The opening was there for me. How do I go about this? Send her a breakup care package with chocolate, wine and Bill Murray movies? That’d do the trick. Everyone loves BFM, even when they’re reeling from a relationship that had been napalmed to smithereens in less than a week’s time.
I just had to wait for my time to play the hero. I was grilling up some chicken and steak for dinner and lunches during the week on Sunday when she came out to smoke a cigarette. It was my opening.
I was casually tending to the grill and noticed she was kind of eyeing me. It was on. She was a wounded animal and I was like the mighty lion, patrolling the Serengeti.
I turned to her and asked her how her week was going. “Fine, I guess,” she quickly said, not showing much interest. Damn it. I’d have to try harder.
“You want some of this meat?”
She stared blankly at me, flicked her cigarette away and walked back inside. I see how it is. Playing hard to get.
That’s how it goes with neighbors, I guess. One minute you’re ready to sweep them off their feet while they’re reeling from a bad breakup, the next minute you’re asking them if they want any of your meat.
You win some and you lose some, I guess.