A good friend of mine, and a regular reader of this series, pointed out that a number of the leading women’s magazines are running the same article this month: What A Guy’s Apartment Says About Him. (Here is the Glamour version, and the Cosmo version).
Obviously I had to weigh in and give my take, as I am usually quite skeptical about the “advice” that these magazines give to their (overwhelmingly female) readers. For example, the Cosmo article says that a guy with vintage furniture seeks out beauty and will wine and dine you. They also say that a guy with large dark leather couches might not have enough room to fit you into his life (literally and figuratively). Please… both of these guys are thinking the exact same thing: Which type of furniture will most attract the ladies?
So, dear readers, below you will find my alternative list of Top 5 “Red Flags” concerning the apartments of Modern American Males, along with some commentary that you will hopefully find entertaining.
5. Excessive Memorabilia
We all have our own obsessions and quirks, and sometimes we want to display them publicly as an extension of our personality, like tacking up your college pennant. But be wary of guys who go overboard. Excessive memorabilia does indicate some minor form of obsession, which may have some ramifications on a potential relationship. More importantly, excessive memorabilia has a tendency to alienate the visitor. Imagine your first visit to a guy’s pad, and his entire bedroom is adorned with wall-to-wall Scarface posters – you would feel pretty weird, right? A guy like this probably hasn’t grasped how he affects those around him, especially women he is trying to date. It doesn’t mean he isn’t a good guy, it just means that maybe his social skills need to mature a bit.
4. Smoking Paraphernalia
I’m not here to judge what anybody puts into their lungs, but leaving your six foot neon green plastic bong in the corner of your living room is just tacky. In college I had this fancy brass hookah out on display, thinking it was the coolest thing ever. But the second I graduated, it went into a box in the garage. In my humble opinion, after a certain age, a guy who leaves this type of stuff out on display is simply disrespectful. He has no idea if you (or any women he is trying to date), is into his habits or not. If later on you two want to dabble together, that is your own decision, but assuming so from the outset without having a conversation about it beforehand is presumptuous and insulting.
Almost all of the articles I researched on this topic talk about how a messy room is indicative of a guy’s immaturity, or how they expect to be mothered. I completely disagree with this. There is a fundamental difference between being messy, and being dirty. There have been countless anecdotal articles about how messy people are more creative, idea driven, open-minded or extroverted (example, example). In fact, there have even been academic articles on the subject, as well. So instead of fixating on if he makes his bed or not, go into the bathroom and examine the state of his towels (I’m totally serious here). Guys fall into two categories: they either hang up their towels to dry, or they just leave them damp on the floor. Those that leave their towels on the floor have a strong tendency to rely on others to clean up after them (let alone hygiene issues).
2. Books (or lack thereof)
In all of the articles that I read on this topic, not one of them mentions this fine point. For me, this is a deal breaker. I don’t trust people without books. I’m not saying your potential guy needs as many books as the Trinity College Library, but a book or two on a shelf somewhere seems like a minimal prerequisite for anybody (or a Kindle). Here is why: a book does not indicate a level of intelligence, but it does signify some sort of intellectual curiosity, which is one of the most underrated qualities in a mate. And I will say something even more elitist: the quality of books matters. If all that is on his shelf is The Game or anything by Tucker Max, I would be cautious.
1. His roommates
When it comes to a guy’s apartment, and what is says about him, the company he keeps in that apartment is probably the most important, and most ignored, thing you should be looking at. We all know that like attracts like, and that you are only as good as the company you keep. Therefore, if your potential guy is sharing a flat with someone you find unbearable, then you may find yourself in a pickle. I’m not saying this is a deal breaker, but I am saying that situation requires discretion, deliberation, and dialogue with your potential mate.