People who live near each other, end up together. At least it was so in 1932 Philadelphia.
In his amazing dating advice book Modern Romance, comedian Aziz Ansari pointed the lovelorn towards an arresting statistic from the past: “In 1932 a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania named James Brossard looked through five thousand consecutive marriage licenses on file for people who lived in the city of Philadelphia. Whoa: one third of the couples who got married had lived within a five-block radius of each other before they got married. One out of six had lived within the same block. Most amazingly, one of every eight married couples had lived in the same building before they got married.”
Whoa, indeed. The divorce rate then was 13 per cent. Compare that to today, when it’s projected that 40 per cent to 50 per cent of marriages end in divorce (according to U.S. figures). Bearing in mind that yes, things have changed substantially in the last 80 years, this idea seems worth exploring.
With more and more young singles in Toronto invested in condos and focused on careers, dating someone who lives in your own building seems like good old-fashioned advice for these times.
Let’s look at some of the benefits to this arrangement:
1. Similar lifestyles
You didn’t randomly select your condo building (I hope), and your decision to move in was likely informed by a lot of the same values that are relevant to your choice of partner. Do you live in the core, where you’re close to culture, shopping and transit, or down by the lake so you can feed your outdoorsy needs? Converted urban factory space or gleaming highrise?
Where you choose to lay your head says a lot about how you live your life, so it’s pretty safe to assume that others in the space will have at least some common interests and priorities — not to mention aesthetics.
Nearly 50 per cent of Toronto’s population is neither married nor living with a common-law partner — higher than the provincial average of 42.35 per cent.
This is a great city for single people looking to find love. Toronto’s unattached men are slightly outnumbered by single women, but the census stats don’t factor in things like sexual orientation. Despite this advantage, people in big cities often don’t know where to meet new people, outside of a bar setting. Your condo building’s common areas — lobby, laundry room, fitness centre, pool, lounges, green spaces and even the elevator — will bring you into contact with those whom you already have at least one thing in common, and there’s no pressure to immediately act upon your attraction. The chances of seeing them again and seeing them regularly are fairly high.
One common mistake made by people who have met someone they like is moving too quickly. Sometimes they stop looking — and start clinging. Being single in the city can be tough, and the good dates are hard to come by. Having real face-to-face conversations — instead of madly obsessing over whether you’re texting that guy from the gym too much — will allow you to weigh whether this is really someone you want to make a part of your life.
Take your time and get to know your neighbour. Unless they’re renting, they’re not going anywhere soon.
There’s no way you can verify whether the people who report on their dating profile that they work out four or five days a week is really the fitness freak they claim to be. If they live in your condo building, however, you’ll know what their real lives look like, at least to some degree.
If you’ve got a doorman or on-site property manager, it will be even easier to get the inside scoop on the object of your interest — those guys see all and know all! Maintain a friendly rapport with your lobby staff, and you’ll have access to info about your date far more revealing than any Internet search. They’ll also know the perfect times to “accidentally” bump into your crush.
Once you do start dating, you can look forward to having access to a whole new apartment full of stuff. Dating a neighbour can be like joining a library, and you’ll be able to borrow everything from books and music to tools, movies and kitchen equipment. You can even split delivery charges for online grocery orders, furniture drop-off, and food. Such perks aren’t limited to on-site activity, either. Whenever you go out, you can share a cab home.
What happens if things get serious enough that you want to move in together? Deciding whose place to call home can be controversial, but keeping the other unit too is sometimes an option that can both boost your income (by renting it out) and also provide “insurance” in case things don’t work out in the long run. If you decide to stay in your building, it will be the easiest move ever. And if you’re ready to bet it all on love, both of you can move into that big unit you’ve always envied.