Column: If you clean it, they will come

Column: If you clean it, they will come

By Julia Gall

With a new school year starting, the excitement of new opportunities and possibilities is buzzing around campus. For some, new schedules and living situations mean wonderful beginnings and a fresh start, but everyone knows meeting new people is the best part of all.

When moving into a new dorm or apartment, throwing parties to show off the place can be a great strategy for mixing and mingling, especially for meeting new potential love interests – or at least just someone to hook up with for the night.

But while the drive to entertain the flavor of the week pertains to both sexes, they seem to have pretty opposite views on home decorating and organization.

Girls may coordinate their apartment with a specific color scheme and will probably add unnecessary decorative accents, like chandeliers, small pillows, and shaggy throw rugs.

Guys are just a little bit different – different, which, in this context, means seriously disgusting. Despite their otherwise messy habits, guys do not forget they intend to have a few “lady friends” over to entertain when the weekend comes – or, more realistically, whenever they feel like it.

Their negligence in maintaining clean and presentable homes may drive more girls away than a spanking new apartment would.

I am not wooed by a room decorated with a collection of empty Bacardi bottles and the all too common poster of Tanya Chalkin’s “The Kiss.” Is it too hard to hide the inevitable piles of dirty laundry, or empty out overflowing trash cans? They’re just not charming.

I think the way a guy maintains his room is a reflection of his maturity. I doubt I’ll be impressed with anyone who keeps his room in such a state of disaster.

I know a lot of girls who are content with this laid-back attitude, and while that may be fine for them, in my opinion, it is pretty sad. This sounds judgmental, but he should want me to feel comfortable in his room, even if he might not care enough to keep the room neat for himself.

If it’s messy or just poorly decorated, I think of it almost as an insult. Sorry, but a lava lamp doesn’t exactly set the mood for me. When you think about it, if a guy wants to share his most private parts, then he should be willing to take care of his private living space, too.

I’m not saying this dude needs to go all “Martha Stewart” on me or spend a fortune on his room. All I’m asking is that he puts at least a teensy shred of thought into his living space. Ikea, Target and Pier 1 Imports offer modern and affordable home furnishings – and they offer the option of browsing online in (one hopes clean) underwear.

If he doesn’t have a clue, tell him to flip on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” for five minutes. The show offers plenty of masculine decorating tips, especially for those on a budget.

I’m not expecting an “adult” apartment complete with matching furniture sets, but something a little … refined. For instance, tasteful art in a frame is so much more appealing than a Playboy poster stuck to the wall with Scotch tape. Even tasteless art that isn’t framed still looks classy. Throw in a cool lamp, maybe an end table, a made bed, an emptied waste bin, and I think it could work.

Roommates can also help maintain a cool and clean living space. When guys put their heads together and agree on what decorating looks good and what doesn’t, the results can be surprising.

This also applies to cleaning, which means two lazy boys are worse than one. Two means double the mess, the grime and the disgust. But the more roommates get together and get control of the cleaning situation, the faster girls will flock to their fresh and tidy home.

I’m also not trying to categorize anyone with messy rooms as bad people or vice versa. Some scatterbrained or busy fellows may not have the time to tidy up every day, and some super-neat guys can be anal pricks. I’ve also seen too many drunken slobs with nasty rooms.

If a guy wants to impress a girl, he should try to make her so comfortable in his room that she will never want to leave.

So, take a little more pride in where you live, and maybe your girl – or any girl – will take a little more pride in being there.

– Julia Gall can be reached at [email protected]

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