Rental Guide: Bateman: How to make your pad the coolest

By Oliver Bateman

Most of us lack the mettle to endure an extended tour of duty in our parents’ basements or an Occupy Pittsburgh tent. Most of us lack the mettle to endure an extended tour of duty in our parents’ basements or an Occupy Pittsburgh tent. What we want instead are, in the words of the immortal Dixie Chicks, “wide open spaces.” Failing that, we at least require, in the words of the similarly immortal but far less tuneful Virginia Woolf, “a room of one’s own.” But how is one to find such a room? And, once found, how should it be furnished?

When you’re searching for a cool pad, start with the obvious: location, location, location. How close is it to your 2 p.m. “morning” classes? If those classes are more than a few feet away from these new digs, stairs included, you should plan on missing a lot of them — perhaps every single one that takes place after the temperature drops below a frigid 60 degrees. Also, is this place within walking distance of a $5 pizza-pie shop? A $5 pie joint in your backyard would make for a fantastic hangover cure-all, meaning you could go hard while also staying home every single night of the week. Otherwise, you should either start saving up to pay for all those 50-cent tips you’re going to have to give the delivery boys or prepare for an early start to the “hydroxycutting/shredding” phase of your bodybuilding cycle.

Next, consider the size of your prospective pad. In order to maximize the money you can put toward junk food, video games and malt liquor, we recommend living with at least seven to eight roommates. With that many people in the fold, a studio apartment won’t do. Depending on how high you’re willing to stack the bunk beds, you’re going to need at least one bedroom and possibly even two. A bonus room or garage where you can throw all of the noisome trash and laundry that you don’t want to think about would be a total score, so see if the landlord is willing to sweeten the deal with one of those.

Once you’ve signed the papers on the lease, you and your new roomies/BFFs should decorate the place with an eye toward making it as “baller” and “crunk” as humanly possible. A “Gossip Girl” poster over that battered Ikea couch you purchased off is never in poor taste, nor are bedroom walls dotted with action pin-ups of top NBA stars like Allen Iverson and Stephon “Starbury” Marbury. If you’ve lucked into getting a pad that comes with a mildewy, dimly-lit basement, try this quick tip that all the experts use: Stick a big CRT television down there, hook up the various gaming consoles and turn that area into your “Madden Cellar.” Once it’s equipped with a full slate of Maddens ranging from ’02 to ’12, true Madden aficionados will be attracted to your apartment like moths to a flame or 420-friendly bros to the campaign of Ron Paul.

Of course, living with so many other people won’t always be easy. As much as you’d like to sit around all day in your loose, unwashed sweatpants and watch reruns of “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” there are basic chores that must be completed. For example, do you know what happens if you don’t wash the dishes for six months? They’ll start to stink something fierce and might even become home to various insect colonies. To prevent this nasty outcome — imagine bringing a date back there, only to have him or her lay eyes on a cesspool like that! — you and your friends should try to wash the dishes on a bimonthly basis. Also, when the garage or bonus room becomes completely filled with vile-smelling trash and clothing, you should take steps to remedy that problem. In other words, you should throw that crap out the window and into the backyard (or street, depending on where the room is located).

Heating is another important consideration. In the winter, we recommend running the heat as little as possible. This is a wonderful cost-saving measure, since it will allow you to save money on your bills and, once the cold causes your metabolism to slow to a crawl, your daily food budget, too. The colds and flus that flourish in such an unhealthy environment will have the happy effect of providing you with an endless stream of legitimate reasons for missing so much class. Best of all, the polar climate in your apartment will reduce your perspiration level, enabling you to wear the same hoodie, sweats, underwear and socks throughout the winter.

Finally, you’ll want to inaugurate your new life in this wonderful pad with a killer party. Planning the party of the century of the week is outside the scope of this column, but here’s one neat trick for ensuring that you wind up with the boppingest bash on the block: Place an ad on the “Casual Encounters” section of Craigslist — what could be more “casual” than a laid-back get-together at your “baller” place, after all — listing the time and address of the party and including a note that the attendees at the event will be “d2f” (that means “down to get funky” in Internet code). You’re guaranteed to reel in some of the coolest cats in town, thereby proving to yourself and everybody else that there’s no place quite like home.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you, true believers.

Oliver Lee Bateman is a leasing agent at the Moustache Rental Club of America. Check out the Club’s listings at, and direct all inquiries about $5 pies, Maddens 2002-2012 and hardgaining to [email protected].