The Bachelor Pad

Tony looked around my new Bay Area studio apartment.

Wow, this is really coming together.

Candles, paintings, nice furniture, and a layout perfect for entertaining. Lighting to accentuate any and every mood. Yes, it was coming together. But it wasn’t done yet.

I didn’t know you were this gay.

I paused. I decided to take it as a compliment.

Why didn’t your Texas apartment look like this?

Because I let my roommate decorate that apartment. This—this has to be me.

And in asserting my apartment as an extension of me, I realized how much of this was, as Tony pointed out much more bluntly than I ever could, gay. There, showing off my new place, I realized that I hadn’t really counted on my sexuality intersecting with how I created home, but I guess it made sense. Indeed, my gayness played much more into its design than the (awfully good) taste Tony was noticing.

I think it began to hit me as I signed my lease three weeks earlier: OMG. This is my bachelor pad.

I suppose you could dim the lights and cue the seventies porn music. But before we get too far ahead—some background.

I’ve always considered myself pretty independent; as soon as I turned 18, I was out of my parents’ house, but never have I lived alone for an extended amount of time. In college, I had roommates. During summer internships, I leased studios but never furnished them with more than a mattress and a fold-out table and chairs. And in my last apartment, I had an apartmentmate, which afforded both of us the privacy of our own rooms while retaining the collegiate atmosphere of having someone always around. And yes, we decorated it as minimally as possible. It was College Lite.

Now here I am: my own studio. With real furniture. With real privacy. With utilities that will be all mine to pay. Blare the trumpets: My bachelor pad.

And with this awesome realization came responsibility: if this was my mid-twenties bachelor pad, then it had better get pimped out.

I’m not going to lie—I’m picky about furniture and design. Two weeks before I moved into my new apartment, I created potential apartment layouts on my computer; I surfed Ikea.com, Target.com, and lots of fancy, nameless European furniture store sites; I even debated color combinations and schemes with friends.

I came to my move-in day prepared—only to be caught off-guard by some ratty red-brown carpet, an old-fashioned yellow oven, plugs that were all two-prong, and JCPenney burlap-looking curtains that couldn’t decide whether they wanted to be the color of copper or dirt. It wasn’t the apartment I remembered when I visited a few weeks before, but then again, the whole thing was furnished… which told me that I was the one who had to turn this place into (music) my bachelor pad.

I found that, in both style and function, my choices had to go through a dating filter. If this was going to be my bachelor pad, then I had better deliver my best first impressions all the time.

In terms of style, nothing could look temporary. I am not a college student. I don’t do posters taped on walls, futons that look like futons, or desks with a reading lamp. No: things had to have a sense of permanence, like I had established myself as a man… after all, that’s who my mates are going to get. This meant more expensive furniture made of darker woods and metals. It meant frosted glass and leather instead of plastic and actual canvassed art instead of whiteboards. There would be no institutional fluorescent lighting—mood lamps and candles at various heights and intensities would create separate spaces out of what would otherwise be a one-room studio. The messaging behind this: I have my shit together, and you’re going to love it. If I had a loft space, it’d be damn sexy; I don’t but this is as close as I can get.

The centerpiece of the new space, a huge bookshelf stacked with photographs, books, DVDs, CDs, board games… things that are all about me. Perfect conversation fodder for dates that somehow make it back home with me.

In terms of function, I had to be comfortable bringing those potential mates to my new digs too. I had to have seats tiny enough to fit my small living area without giving up potential cuddling opportunities. A twin-bed was a no go, even if a studio space blooms with less furniture; I settled for a wide full. And, in lieu of a TV (which I find to be a huge distraction from work and extra bills I could go without), a projector, screen, and sound system made possible the almighty excuse, “Wanna come back to my place and watch a movie?” I even bought a variety of DVDs to suit any suitor.

So now here I am, a gay man in an apparently gay-friendly apartment within reach of the gayest city on earth. I’m sitting on my new sofa with the lights dim and floating to Coldplay’s newest album. There’s a candle lit on the table. I’m writing about my life and pretending it might be interesting to others. It’s sort of like being the male Carrie of Sex and the City… and in a place like San Francisco, I feel like I’ve got no excuses—I’m going to nab me a man.

Then again, it took Carrie six seasons and a movie to nab hers. And while the city was her playground, I think that when my apartment is complete, this place will be mine.

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