Gentlemen, I have bad news: your bachelor pad may be killing your chances with the ladies.
No matter what kind of chemistry you have with a woman, when she sees your apartment for the first time, that’s when she decides what kind of man you are.
Before she’s experienced your bachelor pad, a critical question is running through her head: Is he really a man or just an overgrown teenager?
While she can’t usually find the answer scrawled on your front door, there are certain telltale signs women use to evaluate a man’s apartment.
The good news is, if you know what these signs are, you can upgrade your bachelor pad to show that you are actually capable of living like a man.
After polling several women, here is a checklist of things women look for in a grown man’s bachelor pad:
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1. No “Bachelor Funk” in the Air
Even if your bachelor pad looks spotless, if you don’t take care to make sure it smells nice, all bets are off. One of the worst things for women to deal with is—as one woman put it—“that bachelor pad smell: a cross between gym socks and inexpensive cologne.”
Basic cleanliness helps in this department. Keeping dirty laundry and wet towels off the floor. Taking out the garbage now and again. Occasionally opening a window or the blinds to let in fresh air. And if you’re expecting company, it wouldn’t kill you to light a candle beforehand.
2. Permanent-Looking Furniture
One of the top bachelor pad essentials is having a space where you can comfortably entertain guests. But if your living room ensemble consists of folding camp chairs and a milk crate, you’re not earning any points. Even once you have “real,” permanent-looking furniture, you’re not completely out of the woods.
Bachelor pad furniture does not need to be expensive, but you do need to be mindful of what you’re buying. Don’t just think about the comfort and utility of the furniture. Try to think about the message that your furniture sends to guests who see it.
Most importantly, you have to start thinking about how your furniture goes together. You don’t have to be an expert (heck, superior interior decoration is one of the benefits of getting a girlfriend, right?), but you need to start paying some attention to finding colors and textures that complement each other. Here are some ideas to get started.
3. Framed Artwork on the Walls
As one woman said, “bare walls scream bachelor-living!” The way men live is a direct reflection of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The most basic stage for most men is just having a place with walls and a roof and a bed. Next we start thinking about being able to eat and entertain ourselves in our apartments. The final step is the aesthetic fine-tuning, where we think about how our place looks not only to us, but to people who visit.
Framed art shows that a man has reached that final stage of development: he now cares how his place appears, which shows that he is beginning to truly control his environment.
The “framed” word is key here: I can remember a very distinct turning point shortly after college, where I realized that I could no longer just tack posters to my walls. I suddenly realized how crappy it looked. I thought to myself, “I’m not 13 anymore, I’m a man!” Real men use frames.
As with furniture, bachelor pad art does not need to be expensive, but it should be thoughtful. Find pieces that are meaningful to you in some way and that also contribute to the overall look and feel of your place.
4. Matching Dishes and Silverware
This is one of the apartment essentials that men often ignore. No, you don’t need to own a china cabinet or have fancy engraved flatware…but your apartment does need to look like an adult man occasionally eats there—and not just out of styrofoam to-go containers. If all your utensils and plates look like they were stolen from your college dining hall or cobbled together during some sweaty estate-sale bender, then you’re in for trouble.
Places like Bed, Bath & Beyond or even Target are great for reasonably priced dishes and flatware. No need break the bank. Unless you’re planning to throw big dinner parties, you’re still better off having a decent set of 4 matching plates and utensils than having 12 mixed sets that were cobbled together from thrift stores and yard sales.
5. Real Food in the Kitchen (Not just packaged food)
Especially when you’re busy with your job, it’s easy to justify eating out a lot or not cooking for yourself at home. But when someone visits your place—especially a woman—opening your cupboards to find only Top Ramen and taco seasoning packets does not send a very favorable message.
It’s not hard to stock your kitchen with a few basic items. There’s plenty of stuff you can buy and store in your pantry long-term (use this list as a start). Plus it’s easy enough to grab a few perishable items once a week, like meat, veggies and a few pieces of fruit. From a practical standpoint, you should always have something you can offer as a nice snack if a woman comes over. A decent pairing of crackers and cheese is always a winner—especially if you throw in some cured meats, olives and some nice mustard or fig jam or quince paste…ok, now I’m getting hungry…)
6. A Non-Scary Bathroom
This here, gents, may be one of the key things you should focus on. No other place in your house is going to be more repellent if you don’t take care of it. A woman can overlook many other parts of your living situation, but if she feels like she can’t go to the bathroom without disinfecting herself afterwards…that doesn’t make her feel very welcome.
It’s pretty straightforward: clean the sink on a regular basis, keep the toothbrush and toothpaste neatly in a cup. Try to avoid leaving your foot cream and other products spread out on the counter. Have a clean hand towel available. Give the shower a good scrubbing now and then.
Take special care cleaning around the toilet and the toilet itself. Guys forget that women always sit to do their business. So the moment they need to need to “go” at your house, they are faced with a decision: “Can I comfortably get intimate with this toilet seat, or do I need to hover/nest?” And beware the insidious puddle at the base of the toilet. Nothing ruins a pleasant evening like her stepping in your piddle.
Net net: make the potty a safe zone for her. You won’t regret it.
7. Clean, High Thread Count Sheets
For obvious reasons, having clean sheets can really help improve your chances of, well, making her feel comfortable and at ease. If you have any sort of interest in your own personal grooming, hopefully you’ve already tackled this issue as well. But if you’re dating someone and you’ve never thought about how often you wash your sheets, that may be why she never wants to stay over. I’m just sayin’.
Ideally, you should wash your sheets once a week. It’s much easier if you have 2-3 sets, so you can rip off the old ones once they reach “critical” status without having to do laundry right that minute. While you’re out buying the extra sheets, do yourself a favor and invest in a nice high thread count set (or 2). You may not care about the difference, but most ladies will notice and appreciate the extra comfort.
8. Books on Shelves
Real men read. And not just websites. Yes, I’m talking about actual books. It doesn’t mean you need a shelf full of classics—it’s okay to have some schlocky fiction here and there (The Grishams, the Baldaccis, the Kings…). And you’re allowed your share of personal development and self-help titles. But it’s nice when you have some real literature as well.
Books are a window into your soul, and if nothing else, they’re a great conversation starter. “Oh, you read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius? I loved that book!” Plus, having a healthy shelf of books in your house provides a nice halo effect—you look like a “learned” man. Note: I’m not suggesting you buy a bunch of fancy books just for show. Find some books you actually enjoy and read them. You can start here with AOM’s list of 100 Must-Read Books.
9. Framed Pictures of You, Friends and Family
Even though most of our pictures are digital these days, there’s something awesome about having framed photos around your apartment. You don’t have to go crazy. Just grab a few cheap-ish frames (places like Ross and TJ Max or Michael’s have good deals) and put some of your family photos in frames. Or add photos of you and your buddies doing stuff. You know, doing the stuff that you regularly do: wrestling alligators, base-jumping, etc.
It may seem like a chore to track down good photos and frame them, but you’ll be happy you did. Plus, when a woman walks into your apartment, she’ll see that you’re a man who has real relationships that exist outside of Facebook and Snapchat.
10. Window Treatments
I didn’t learn this one until I lived with a woman, but now it’s so plainly obvious. While it may seem girly to say “I’ve need to buy some curtains” the truth is, window treatments are surely one thing that separates men from boys. In most of the apartments I lived, I was lucky enough to have mini-blinds. But in other bachelor apartments, I’ve definitely seen my share of jury-rigged window coverings like sheets tacked on the wall…or creatively positioned “art” to block out the daylight.
Like all the other improvements we’ve discussed, window treatments are one more sign that you have an eye for details (which women like). But curtains aren’t just about decorating your bachelor pad. There’s also some practical benefit here: if a woman stays over in your bedroom, the last thing she wants to do is wake up with the blistering sun in her face and your next-door neighbor peering in at her exposed ladybits. The more conscious you are about covering up your windows, the more comfortable she’ll be uncovering herself in your place.
11. A Well-Stocked Home Bar
A home bar of some level is always a bachelor pad essential. But now it’s time to think about quality, not just quantity. In many ways, a man’s home bar is a microcosm of his overall living situation, or—dare I say it—his overall stage in life. When he’s younger and just starting to live (and drink) on his own, his liquor cabinet is sparse and unsophisticated. A few bottles of Vodka. Some flat 2 liter bottles of tonic. Some Goldschlager (WTF!).
As he gets older and wiser, his tastes develops. He begins to appreciate more nuanced touches. With that in mind, a real man should have a well-stocked bar in his apartment. It doesn’t have to only be full of expensive liquor. But, it should contain some of the fundamental home bar essentials. And, like his book shelf, hopefully it gives a glimpse into his personal tastes.
12. Plants You Haven’t Killed Yet
Beyond situating the basics of your apartment, the next step is to show that you can tend to a living thing. Plants are great, because not only do they contribute to the look and the atmosphere of your place, but they demonstrate that you are a responsible person. If you have plants in your apartment, a woman knows with reasonable certainty that you probably aren’t the kind of guy who, several months into your courtship, is going to disappear to Mexico for 8 days without calling, only to return with a neck tattoo and a sketchy story about a man with a gold tooth.
13. Everything in Its Right Place
“A place for everything, and everything its place.” That old saying is essential when it comes to maintaining a clean and orderly bachelor pad. It took me 20 years to learn this lesson, and I feel like I’m still learning how to put it into practice. Beyond the general bachelor funk, women are often confronted with a sea of clutter when they visit a man’s apartment: magazines strewn about, dirty clothes on the floor, dishes in the sink, loose change on the kitchen counter. If your apartment always looks like your stuff is everywhere, it may not be because you’re messy. It could just be that you haven’t decided where that stuff goes yet.
The simple trick is making sure that everything has a home: Mail goes here. Old concert tickets go here. Belts go here…. This extends to the bathroom and the kitchen as well: Extra toilet paper goes here. Dirty dishes get rinsed immediately and put in the dishwasher. Trash goes in the bin under the sink until it’s full (or begins to smell) and then out it goes… Once you set some basic standards of organization, you’ll find the clutter begins to disappear. And that makes your apartment a much more welcoming place to visit.
Conclusion: Targeted Upgrades Can Quickly Transform Your Bachelor Pad
A lot of guys think that their apartments will just naturally get more “grown up” and sophisticated as they get older and make more money. But there are plenty of men even in their 30’s…making well over six figures who STILL live like overgrown teenagers—just because they’re missing some of the fine points above.
The truth is, you don’t need to wait until you reach a certain age or tax bracket to stop living like a slob. By making the targeted upgrades above you can radically transform your bachelor pad with very little time and investment.
Best of all? Not only will women appreciate the more welcoming environment, but you’ll find that you actually prefer living like a grown man as well.
Does your apartment need help? Use the Bachelor Pad Upgrades Checklist above to quickly address the problem areas. You’ll be happy you did!
Upgrading The Finishing Touches on Your First Impression
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