Dating Don’ts: How To Make Sure Your Apartment Isn’t A Boner Killer

You know how experts claim that most couples fight over sex or money? Not in my tiny apartment, which I share with a 6’5” dude and two cats. What we fight over is décor.

If he were in charge of our home, everything would be bright, white, and utilitarian. There’d be no blood-red living room, featuring Ganesh and Jesus duking it out for wall space. No piles of books and no throw pillows (he especially hates the latter).

But because real estate in New York is insane and my apartment is cheap, my man moved into mine, which (I believe) negates his right to complain because he knew what he was getting into. He would disagree, but I already told you this was our biggest bone of contention.So anyway, when my friend Jackie called with the news that she was buying her first apartment, I was thrilled when she asked me to help her decorate. The only caveat being that she doesn’t want it “too girly,” because she doesn’t want to scare away any fine young bucks who might wander through her doors.

I wondered what kind of décor might scare a straight guy out of a pretty girl’s home. After all, my freaky flat was just fine with my guy until he had to live in it. Before he moved in, I never heard a peep.

Glenn, a 30ish writer from New York, told me about one apartment-related factor in an aborted attempted at romance. “The toilet clearly hadn’t been cleaned in weeks,” he said. “And at the bottom of the bowl: evidence of the previous guest. Yes, she failed to flush away the remains of her shame.”

That’s gross, but surely he’d come across a girl with a frightening doll collection or flaccifying bedspread? Apparently not.

I continued down my contact list and got in touch with Lawrence, a Seattle-based editor friend, and posed the same question. “One gal’s bathroom smelled like a litter box, but sadly she had no cat,” he told me. Again, nasty, but not exactly interior-design related. “The grossest was a woman who had no soap on her sink and not a single clean towel,” he continued.

Maybe I’d set my sights too low, but I’d always been impressed if a date actually had toilet paper and no eau de peep-ee permeating their bathroom vapor. When did dudes get so picky?

“Men are traditionally condemned for having dirty bathrooms, and rightly so,” Glenn clarified. “Maybe that’s why a dirty toilet in a woman’s apartment is that much more horrifying.”

Illuminating double standard aside, Glenn wasn’t helping.

Before my friend Luke got married and babied up, he’d been quite the Lothario, so I was certain he’d have some ideas. “An acoustic guitar was enough to send me packing,” he told me. Other turn-offs included certain medications, “cricket-bat wielding siblings, large boyfriends, sweatshirts with animals imprinted on them, stonewashed jeans, overstuffed litter boxes, and unusually bad record collections.”

Mike, a writer/musician added, “It’s not what’s in the apartment—it’s more what’s not there. Like a woman without books—that’s a dealbreaker,” he remarked. “Also, a freezer full of Weight Watchers meals shows a serious lack of imagination.”

Aargghh! These are not decorating complaints! Not one guy could advise me on seductive shades of paint? The sexiest window coverings? I mean, nobody even mentioned the importance of a flat-screen and cable! My pal Darius offered, “I’ve had sex in the rubble of an abandoned building, so I can adapt to pretty much any environment.”

In that case, I guess we may as well paint Jackie’s new place Pepto pink, stock the candy bowls with Midol, and put a copy of the “Vagina Monologues” on auto-repeat. In despair, I called my friend Travis. As he usually does in my times of need, he mocked.

“This is such a girl question; no heterosexual man would ever ask this,” he scoffed. “The only thing inside a woman’s apartment of interest is her … um … personality.”

Sure it is. Well, as long as her toilet is clean.

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