The last dude I tried to date had a collection of Homies action figures in every room of the house; a litter box in the kitchen; a pleather couch that molted on you when you sat on it; two mattresses on the floor of the bedroom with bedding from the 1980s; a beaded curtain showing a woman bound at the wrists over a burning fiery hell; a Lakers-themed bathroom painted gold and purple; old-school TVs in every room, including the bathroom; wall mounts for “ropes” and a closet full of S&M toys that he and his ex would use.—Lianna, a very real woman
You had a fantastic dinner. The conversation was easy. The oysters were delicious. You can cut the sexual tension with a knife. You want to ask her back to your place, but is it ready for the discerning eye of a female? I spoke with 25 women about their biggest pet peeves and what impressed them about a man’s living quarters. No surprise, the same talking points came up over and over again. Guys, don’t underestimate the power of an environment to seduce or repulse.
THE BATHROOM IS YOUR SECOND FIRST IMPRESSION
In high school, I was a hostess in a restaurant. Other than seating customers, my main duty was to check on the bathrooms. My manager was a stickler about it, saying, “You can tell how clean an entire restaurant is by the condition of their bathroom. That goes for people too.”
I never forgot her words; no surprise, bathroom grievances are number one on the list of things that send women running. “He mentioned his bathroom was a little dirty. Understatement of the century,“ one woman named Amber tells me. "I didn’t even want to touch the toilet, let alone wash my hands. The toilet was brown. The bathtub was caked in dirt. The sink was brown. The floor was covered in hair and dust. This bathroom had not been cleaned in the five years he had lived there. I never saw him again, which is too bad because he was a nice dude—but his hands and body couldn’t have been that clean if his bathroom was that filthy.”
Some tips: Get rid of the shavings in the sink. Windex splatters of toothpaste off your mirror. Sud the bar soap in your hands and then wash your privates, because nothing is grosser than a bar of soap with pubes stuck in it.
A lot of guys have towels that smell like mildew because they leave them in the washer too long or don’t hang them up properly after showering. Marisol recommends washing them with “hella vinegar” to remove the smell. Melissa says, “Please clean around the base of your toilet. Or get a maid. Maids turn me on.”
Attention to detail is always extra credit. For example, have candles or a can of air freshener on hand in case we need it. (Everyone knows girls don’t poop, but just in case.) Melissa mentions, “I like a guy that has Q-tips because I know they clean their ears. I’m kind of obsessive about cleaning mine so I will be looking for them.”
It’s nice to have an extra stash of toothbrushes. Bonus points if you have a tampon for a period emergency. That’s a double-edged sword, though, because it signals you’re kind of a player. One guy I dated had a Costco supply of toothbrushes, which signaled that women were rotating in and out of that place.
Finally, make sure you have toilet paper. This seems like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a man’s place, sitting there like, “FUCK.” Amber says, “If you are going to have a woman over, at the very least have a clean hand towel and toilet paper. I don’t want to have to ask you to hand me napkins from your last fast food meal.”
A CLEAN BEDROOM ENSURES LOVE, NOT WAR
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Get. The. Mattress. Off. The. Floor. Also, get a fitted sheet, you filthy animal. You might laugh, but I had at least four women mention this. Clean sheets are a must. Jen says, “I once dated a guy and every time I slept over I could never get comfortable. I always felt itchy. I asked him how long he had his comforter. He said ‘since college.’ The dude had been out of college for seven-plus years. I don’t even want to think of what a black light to that comforter would look like.” Comforters are hard to wash and are cheap and tacky. Get yourself a down comforter (women are always cold) with a duvet cover (that can be washed with ease).
Remove all evidence of other women. Empty the garbage bin that might be full of condom wrappers from your date two nights ago. Make sure earrings aren’t lying around. Whether it’s subconscious territorialism or absentmindedness, we tend to leave shit everywhere we go. Also, move your ex out before you have us over. Lindsey tells me, “I had a guy say he was broken up with his girl, but her shoes and clothes and cats were still at his place.”
Speaking of pets, most women love dog lovers. Having a dog means you’re stable and capable of taking care of another life. (Many women, like me, are allergic to cats so if you have one, spending the night might not even an option. If you have one, make sure you have Claritin on hand.) Isabelle says, “If he has dogs, that’s attractive. If his house or his apartment smells like a wet dog, it’s a hard pass. If his 200-pound dog sleeps in the bed while we are naked, or having sex, it’s a done deal. I don’t want dog hair getting anywhere near my private region.”
YOUR LIVING SPACE REPRESENTS THE REAL YOU
Based on my research, women seem to have low standards for a single man’s living area. When their only requirements are toilet paper and clean sheets, one can only worry about the State of Man. Honestly, many of us desire to date men who aren’t living like frat boys deep into their 20s. Get rid of the action figures unless they’re collectibles and lose the posters unless they’re framed collectibles.
Books, travel souvenirs, decorative pillows, art, proper wine glasses, a bed stand, curtains and eclectic furniture scream taste and culture. Samantha says, “Ikea furniture is too easy. Go to a flea market and find cool stuff—not Swedish furniture built in China.”
Many women mention being impressed with kitchen supplies. Sarah says, "If he has an oiled cast iron skillet, I know he can cook.” Jen says, “I like when they have a clean, grown-up kitchen with nice appliances, a matching silverware set and matching dishes. I hate when they only have cheap plastic cups from a Star Wars McDonald’s promo a couple years back. Not only do you eat cheap gross fast food, but you now advertise it?“
Guys, take pride in your home because it signals that you take pride in yourself and in your life. Melissa says, “I’ve always been impressed by a man’s place when it looks like he’s lived with a girl before. Not only is his place more comfortable and cozy, but he’ll probably be better at going down on me.”
I agree. I don’t know if there has been a study on this, but in my experience, there is a direct correlation between a man who pays attention to his environment and pays attention to me, i.e., making sure I have multiple orgasms.