Apartment maintenance is a lot like parallel parking. It’s one of those things that most of us think we’re a little better at than we actually are.
According to new research from McMaster University in Canada, doing physical household chores five times a week for half an hour decreases your risk of death by 28 percent and that of heart disease by 20 percent. In fact, if you stay active for 750 minutes a week, even if that just means by vacuuming for hours, you slash your chances of an early death by almost 40 percent.
But if that’s not enough to get you to upkeep your damn apartment, I asked the wonderfully opinionated hive mind of Facebook women who I mostly just sort of know one question: “What is the first thing you appreciate in a guy’s house?” The answers, which poured in just seconds later and often in long multi-bubble texts, surprised me.
Sure, there’s no scientific support that says you must have every piece of notable literature coloring your bookshelf or angel soft toilet paper replete with the triangle fold, but these women shared a lot of insights that might just up your game. Think of the following quotes and notes as a pre-date checklist. You’re welcome.
“One time I saw a knife. A small knife on his bathroom sink. No idea what’s up. But I peaced out.”
This was the number one thing mentioned, even more than…
One woman commented: “I experience a sensation of overwhelming relief to find a clean bathroom. Especially since that sensation is always preceded by a feeling of great trepidation, nearing dread, walking in the first time…” One of my mom’s friends added: “Toilet seat down! Shows nice manners and respect for women.” It works, and guys scoff at this like it’s the undoing of their great work. Listen, Atlas, when you’re done deadlifting that seat and lid, put them both down. So many girls mentioned bathroom cleanliness that I assumed you could have a good app idea, no furniture and a clean shower and the right girl would simply say to herself, “He’s a keeper.”
Residual evidence of an ex (i.e. “the hairdryer problem”) is not a conversation worth risking. I know, your female roommate moved out and left it. You were briefly the only male in an all-girl band. You know women who would appreciate such a thing. But it screams “ex drama.” Get rid of it. P.s.—If you’re a guy who blow-dries your hair, you’re either in a metal band or a televangelist. So you probably have no problem getting laid. *Makes horns-of-the-devil sign*: “Rock on!”
4. Clean sheets
We’re adults. Make a mess. Clean it up. Move on.
5. Decent food in the fridge
I’m talking ripe-but-not-rotten fruit. The potential to make a late-night meal. Breakfast without leaving her alone in your weird house while you jet to the bodega.
“My boyfriend had plants,” said one woman. “That sealed it. Well-loved plants. It was a huge sign he was a keeper. It made me look over the hellhole he was living in and give him a chance.”
7. No signs of impending murder
“Not having to worry that I’m going to get killed…” is in the intangibles category. It did come up again and again, which is odd considering I can’t remember a single guy ever giving advice to a friend on how to make her not think you’re going to kill her. But it did make for good stories: “One time I saw a knife. A small knife on his bathroom sink. No idea what’s up. But I peaced out.”
8. Rough edges
These are your outward flaws—your apartment’s version of the cowlick or that shirt that won’t stay tucked in. These show a woman that she has some work to do, that her contributions would be appreciated. The perfect bachelor pad leaves no room for a lady. How is she going to envision your life together when any one thing of hers will throw off the eleven pieces of furniture you have that match? That’s a bad thing. Especially if you’ve got the apartment from American Psycho. A dish in the drying rack, a magazine in the bathroom, a few books stacked instead of shelved. These guys are on your team.
9. Musical instruments
This is tricky territory, though. “If he has a guitar, but can’t play me a song, we’re done.”
10. Art on the walls
“Framed. Not movie posters from college.”
11. “The D, yo.”
That’s courtesy of the hostess from the restaurant where I worked in college. And a good excuse to link to this story.
Photo: Getty Images/Andreas von Einsiedel