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If Loving My Realtor is Wrong…
Does A Husband Come with the House?

By Darlene Hunt

The upside of house hunting as a single woman is that at any moment I could look in the mirror and say to myself -- Good for you! All of those years of working hard and being frugal (i.e. driving the same beat-up Ford truck and not picking up the check when I went out to dinner with friends) have paid off! You did it all on your own, and now you're able to buy a trophy honoring your accomplishments in the form of a house. You rock, You! The downside is that the tiny seed of loneliness that had been laying dormant inside me grew into a full blown ficus and started competing with me for oxygen.

You know what you see a lot of when you're house hunting? Couples. Lots of couples. Young couples, old couples, pregnant couples, couples who say "we" a lot.

We really want a fireplace.

We need a lot of space.

We love to cook.

Couples who can ask one another -- Is it us? Couples who befriend other couples -- We saw you guys at the last house. How long have you been looking? And a minute later they're exchanging e-mail addresses and inviting each other to a barbecue. I was growing routinely jealous of these couples.

My married friends tried to convince me that I was the lucky one because I didn't have to compromise with a partner. I had no one to disagree with. But I also had no one to turn to and say -- I don't know. What do YOU think? No one to push me through my own ambivalence or to remind me that I need a house that gets a lot of light because of my seasonal affective disorder -- which I'm pretty sure I have.

I felt a kinship with the other single house hunters I saw, especially the guy in the gray t-shirt and blue ball cap with the iced coffee in his hand. We bonded inside the mid-century hideaway in Franklin Hills about the fact that both of our grandmothers had an antique Victrola just like the one in the mid-century living room.

Me: Perhaps we have the same grandmother.

I was hilarious! I was having fun.

He commented on how much light the living room got and said it looked neat bouncing off my hair. He said I looked like a painting. I closed my eyes and quickly picked out my wedding dress -- something that would suit his own casual but confident style. Then he said he had to go back upstairs to see what was keeping his girlfriend so long.

Me: Yep. Go ahead. I'll just look around and see what else they stole from my grandma's house.

The smile stayed frozen on my face until he disappeared up the stairs. I ran out the front door, locked myself in my crappy truck and screamed -- You mother fucker! I look like a fucking painting? A fucking painting of what? Somebody who just got hung out to dry? Get out of my fucking house you snatch tease! YOU DON'T NEED THIS HOUSE TO MAKE YOU HAPPY! YOU'RE ALREADY HAPPY!

Truth be told, I did have a significant other in my life at this time. Daniel, my realtor, was tall and accessibly handsome. Walking up staircases and down hallways, I felt small and safe beside him. We spoke on the phone several times a day. I called him at odd hours and he defined terms like turnkey, flip, and probate sale. When I fell in love with the house on McCollum, he pointed out that the floors were uneven which meant that the foundation was probably cracked. He was trying to protect me. I love that. Eventually, I quit hanging out with friends, quit returning e-mails, phone calls. I was spending every minute with my realtor it seemed. We were constantly stopping for coffee or lunch and fighting over the bill.

Me: No, I got it.

Daniel: It's fine. I got it.

Me: You got the last one.

Daniel: What's your point?

He always won.

Six months into house hunting I was nowhere closer to finding my dream home. In fact, now I was more confused than ever about the dream itself. Half a year in and I still couldn't get past people's stuff -- the pictures on the refrigerator, the food in the pantry, the toys in the baby's room. And believe me, there were lots of babies' rooms and lots of toys. Turns out, a very popular reason to move is because people actually grow out of their houses. I've always cringed at the idea of being called Mommy by a high pitched toddler with low blood sugar, or having to turn down a last minute invitation to Happy Hour because I have to stay home and parent and yet I suddenly found myself thinking -- Well, I guess I could put a bassinet in the office for a while, but if I have twins I'm screwed! Or, Hm…how am I going to get a stroller up all those stairs? After all, houses are where families live. Houses are where kids grow up. So why am I even looking for a house now? Isn't that the wrong order? Maybe I should spend this energy looking for my future baby's father.

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