When I moved into a doorman building in New York City, it took time to adjust. An independent, cost conscious girl, I felt out of place with someone holding the door for me every time I entered and exited. A doorman felt more Park Avenue than First Avenue. However, my mother felt reassured that in an anonymous city, someone could see me coming and going on a daily basis, especially the nights when I didn’t call home. Soon, I began to appreciate the small advantages which accompanied doorman living — accepting packages when I was not home, a familiar face when I rolled in after a late night of partying, and a helper when my bags were too heavy.
Unlike my slow acclimation, my roommate clicked immediately with the doormen, in particular, one doorman in training, the maintenance man, who filled in behind the scenes, making the building run smoothly. She broke the news to my other roommate and me as she was getting ready to go out for the evening. “I have a secret,” she divulged. I looked at my other roommate who shared the expression of this is going to be good! In fact, it was quite scandalous. Our roommate was going on a date with the maintenance man. I tried to imagine how their romance began. Was it like Samantha who seduced her doorman in Sex and the City? Or was it more of a case of the propinquity effect, the psychological phenomenon that people form relationships with those they encounter often. Instead, it was much more domestic. She said they were first friends, but now they are finally going on a date. I asked if by friends she meant they had hung out. She said “No, but I baked him cookies.” I guess the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, after all.
I kept thinking of those dating profiles that read: “I’m just as comfortable to be out partying as I am to sit at home on the couch.” I wondered what his read: I prefer couches close to work. That night, I realized why our roommate who was typically private about her dating life, had divulged her secret. The “doorman” spent the night at our place. I heard him leave quietly early in the morning for his Sunday shift. Around noon, there was a knock on the door. None of my roommates answered so I opened it to find the doorman. We exchanged an awkward hello. He asked if he could come in the apartment. He went straight for the refrigerator, picked up a container of leftover Chinese food from the night before, and left.
As he walked back to his post, I considered the positive perks of this potential relationship: if anything broke, it might be fixed quickly. However, their relationship ended a few weeks later when our roommate decided to rekindle a romance with her personal trainer, the same one she had switched gyms to avoid bumping into regularly. I wondered if that meant she would be moving out soon. At least, for now, the trainer worked a few blocks away.