Notice I have purposefully avoided the term ?bachelor pad? here. That?s for good reason. That expression conjures up immediate visions of complete, utter cheesiness. And if you expect to invite women over at any point (which I trust is a given) the last thing you want your place to be as a single man is cheesy.
OK, maybe that?s second-from-last. The very last thing you want your place to be is dirty. And you can take that anyway you?d like, because no matter what you are thinking you are understanding me perfectly.
Interestingly, I?ve had numerous guys (and some women) ask me how to get the topic of this section right. Here?s the thing: EVERYONE has his or her unique set of circumstances. Some have lots of money, some have hardly anything extra to spend. Some live in the city, and some live in small towns. Some live where you have satellite TV, and others don?t. With all of that in mind, I?m going to approach this from the mindset of an average guy with average income who lives in a suburban setting. You are welcome to take what you can use and leave the rest on the shelf, although the more philosophic bits are probably universally applicable.
So let?s take this by room, shall we? I?ll weave in the more general principles along the way.
- Living Room
Make sure the front light works and there are no spiders living in the corner outside. Have a mat to wipe feet on and a rack inside the doorway for coats/umbrellas if you don?t have a closet by the door. This is really important to making her feel comfortable immediately?and we all know by now this is job one.
For most of your house or apartment, keeping things straightened-up as opposed to Felix Unger pristine is the key. I?ve actually heard from some women that a surrealistically clean place creeps them out. They recognize ?It just ain?t natural?, as we say here in Texas. So clearing out the clutter is the key. That may get us off the hook for dusting the floorboards, but the absolute exception to that guideline is the bathroom. CLEAN THE TOILETS. Clean AROUND the toilets. In fact, clean the whole room, including the tub/shower and the sink. Use the ?Clean Shower? stuff or equivalent every time you shower and you?ll save yourself major trouble later. Clean the spots off the mirror. Finally, as my good (and female) friend Amy Waterman pointed out once in an interview, get everything out of your medicine cabinet that you don?t want discovered. According to her, most women consider it their birthright to spy on your medicine cabinet. Sure you have condoms, but put them somewhere more discreet por favor. That goes double for the recreational Cialis.
You are cooking for her, aren?t you? (Remember who you?re hearing from here, right?) When you are shopping for an apartment or a house, make the kitchen a higher priority than most guys do. You want enough area in there that two people can work together. When you go for kitchen appliances, make sure stuff doesn?t clash. If at all possible, I highly recommend the stainless steel look. It?s got a high-end feel and comes off as masculine. Get a full compliment of kitchen utensils, decent knives and a set of pots/pans that gives you the flexibility to cook whatever you?d like. Get at least one set of matching dishes (make them masculine looking) and flatware service for four. If you have a suitable area outside, get even a small BBQ pit.
Keep the fridge devoid of rotten, moldy stuff at all times. This grosses women out on sight. Make sure you have a variety of beverages, including bottled water and diet sodas if you don?t drink that stuff. Make sure the ice is fresh.
If you can, invest in one of those mini-fridges with the window in the door that doubles as a ?wine cellar?. Keep a bottle of red and a bottle of white in there. If you are blessed enough to live near a Trader Joe?s, Charles Shaw is dirt cheap and does the job if you aren?t yet a wine connoisseur. You can populate the rest of the thing with singles out of the last dozen six packs of various beers you?ve been drinking, etc. It really doesn?t matter as long as you have a variety of stuff to draw from when putting a drink in her hand as soon as she walks in the door.
And oh yeah?empty the trash. While you are at it, make sure the dirty laundry is out of sight.
Yeah, you?ve likely got a killer big-screen and an X-box. When a woman comes over though, the best use for that TV?hands down?is to have it tuned in to whichever music channel best fits the mood you are setting. Some satellite or cable systems come with Sirius or XM channels?GET THAT SET UP. It?s amazing how cool it is to set it to the New Orleans channel while cooking dinner, and to move it to Urban Contemporary, Classic Blues or Smooth Jazz later. Awwww?yeah.
And yes?I had a black leather sofa and loveseat. Stereotypical, but for good reason. I also parked my sofa directly under the air-conditioning vent. This proved strategic. In fact, contrary to popular wisdom, I always cranked the a/c down to about 70 when a woman was coming over. This encouraged closeness as the evening progressed.
When picking furniture in general, make it match. I personally went for dark wood with angular patterns (as opposed to rounded ones) which drew lots of compliments that my place looked stylish yet masculine. Don?t take the feminine looking furniture (or blue couches) donated by your Aunt Betsy simply because it?s free. Resist the urge. You can get what you need off of Craigslist less expensively than you think.
One important note here is that it?s perfectly okay to be a guy. Just look for classic and/or tasteful ways to get the message across. For sure I avoided pinning posters of porn stars on the wall. But I did have that black and white classic of John Belushi from Animal House up there?framed. Sweet. If you have scores of big trophies, you can keep those visible too. Pool table?nice touch. Shooting pool with a woman you like is invariably great fun. If you have hobbies or pastimes you are fanatical about, having the stuff you use for doing that around the house is to be expected?just keep it out of the way.
Lighting is also excruciatingly important. I can?t overemphasize this. You want alternatives to the default overhead lighting?period. Floor lamps are great, track lighting and/or an entertainment center with shelf lighting is even better. Feel free to get creative here. I actually had between 20-25 lava lamps of all shapes, colors and styles throughout my house?including one in the bathroom. The effect was great, even if the cost of replacing bulbs was more than expected. Women always thought it was cool. Contrary to what you might expect, I was also able to pull off exactly one neon sign in the house. If your place is neat and stylish otherwise, you can get away with this. Just bear in mind your mileage may vary. You always want ?stylish? over ?cheesy?.
These days fireplaces are seen even in basic apartments in some locales. Use it unless it?s laughably hot outside. If in doubt as to whether it?s too warm out, fire it up. Crank down the a/c to like 68 for a couple hours right when she arrives. This is entirely worth it.
When it comes to other decorum, I agree with others who recommend leaving some interesting books around the house and on the shelf so as to promote conversation. Travel books, psychology books and bios of interesting people are all fair game here. I also highly recommend festooning your place to the hilt with framed pics of family and friends doing fun things together. There is literally no more confidence inspiring a sight to a woman than this when visiting a guy?s place. Cute nieces are a plus?seriously.
A final note. You might have exactly one item that evokes a sensual/sexual response. Maybe it?s a book on tantra. In my case, it was a pair of sexually suggestive dice that glows in the dark (a gift). It?s okay to be a sexual being, just avoid being sex focused. By the way, you still avoid the dreaded ?cheesiness? based on your overall stylish approach. One or two kitschy things here and there are fine.
So what about the bedroom? When you put a drink in her hand, give her the ?walking tour? of the place and feel free to include the bedroom. Be sure to quickly leave after showing it to her though, lest you appear to have ulterior motives. Keep the bedroom door open afterwards.
Above all, make your bed. Do it so that the covers fold down in front of the pillows, but don?t turn the bedcovers down as if someone is about to go to bed (see: ?cheesy?). If you have a nightstand on your side that?s a great place for the condoms, etc. Again, clear out clutter?including snacks and empty glasses. I know how we are, guys.
If you haven?t changed your sheets this week, do so please. What? You don?t have two sets of sheets? Get some with a thread count of at least 300. Try ?birch fiber? sheets if on a budget. They rock. Get large pillows, and plenty of them. Pillow fights rule.
For lighting, continue the theme you?ve created in the rest of the home. Your bedroom should be congruent with your style elsewhere. If you have a TV in your bedroom, you?ll find having the music channels is especially worthwhile there. Your iPod speaker setup can?t push enough targeted variety, and even one commercial on the radio is too many.
So that?s the basic rundown. Obviously, if you have a ?68 Ford Falcon on blocks in the back yard and/or a Kenworth parked in the front that?s a minus. And hide the cats if you are a cat guy. Women think it?s kind of odd when men are cat lovers. Don?t ask me why, but it?s a theme I?ve heard often (and I don?t even have cats). As for the dogs, make sure they are well behaved and clean if they are staying in the house. It?s always a good idea to find out ahead of time if your guest has allergy issues, too.
And Febreze your entire place. From top to bottom. Every time.