- MEDICINE CABINET: Will you be pleasantly surprised by-extra large condoms or shocked by STD prescriptions? Players often stock multiple packs of toothbrushes.
- BATHROOM: Anyone can dust, but a shower free of mold and hair is a true sign of cleanliness.
- KITCHEN: Unless he’s a health nut, Splenda, fat-free yogurt and lots of salad could be red flags.
- UNDER THE BED: This is where people stash everything dirty before dates.
- CONTEXT: Feminine hygiene products or lipstick on dirty cups make sense if the guy has a female roommate or visitor.
From what he chooses as wall art to where he puts his workout equipment, a series of experts have explained what signs to look for when decoding single male decor. Interior designer Meg Caswell tells Glo that a bare mattress is an obvious bad sign in the bedroom, because it means that he’s rarely home and, more importantly, ‘sheets are never changed’. But the man living in a perfectly-styled apartment with a bed made so tightly that quarters would bounce ‘is probably the kind of guy who walks into a bar and can pinpoint the women he wants to go out with right away’.
So the same qualities that make him a cutthroat in the corporate world could also make him a player.
As a relationship writer and private investigator, I agree that you can tell a lot about a man’s state of mind by the state of his apartment. It’s not just where he lives; it’s how he lives.
I agree that being able to afford a cleaner is a great sign. But if a man insists on showering before sex and hangs his clothes up when you rip them off, he may be too obsessed with perfection.
A place that doesn’t look as if it’s ever been lived in can also be bad. I figured this out the hard way after I found out an ex-boyfriend’s lack of stuff wasn’t because he was into minimalist design. It’s because he was married, and the apartment I visited was merely his workweek crash pad.
These days, I always check the closet.
When it comes to his living area, the experts say that if he’s not living in a dorm room, it’s time for him to outgrow the DIY desk made of milk crates – and the same rules apply to his wall art.
The Fellini movie posters he put up in college may still work, but Jeff Wilser, co-author of It’s Okay to Sleep With Him on the First Date, tells the site that Rambo is a red flag.
What about the souvenirs from his youth? The panel says it all depends on where he puts them. Wilsner insists that the ‘kegerator’ – a keg of beer that is stored in the refrigerator – is okay, ‘as long as it’s not in the bedroom’.
So neon beer signs are cute in the garage or game room; tacky in the boudoir.
It’s the same story with his Star Wars figurines. Observing whether they are neatly placed on a shelf or piled all over the apartment should give clues as to whether he’s a financially savvy collector or a hoarder.
Staying in shape is important, but a rack of weights in his bedroom – especially if they are in front of a full-length mirror – may be a sign that a guy is taking fitness too far.
In my view, all of these tips have to be put in context – if he lives in a 400-square-foot New York City studio, for example, putting everything in one place would make sense.
According to Wilsner, even a fantasy seduction set-up should be eyed with suspicions. Dimmer lights are romantic – but if they are ‘accompanied with flickering candles and Barry White,’ the situation could be shady.
‘It’s too much; too soon,’ he insists.
Other signals of a player I’ve seen include shag carpeting, a remote-controlled fireplace and multiple playlists labeled ‘sex mix’ – not to mention multiple pink toothbrushes in the bathroom.
Can a woman ever ‘fix’ bad behavior? The panel seems to suggest that it depends on why it’s happening.
If he’s just too busy with work to decorate, gentle suggestions can work. After explaining my ‘Field of Dreams’ theory (‘if you build it, they will come’) to a male friend of mine depressed over a breakup, he ditched the broken garage-store furniture and started designing his new home.
He’s now dating the woman of his dreams, who I doubt would have lasted 24 hours in the pizza box piles of his old place.
Emily Morse suggests taking a man shopping to ‘show him he can buy a bedframe for the same price as a weekend of beer drinking with his buddies’.
Since IKEA is the seventh circle of hell for many men who aren’t ready to ‘nest’, those who take this particular advice should proceed with caution.
After all when it comes to bad habits, the only ones you can change are your own. This is why for man women, a dirty apartment continues to be the ultimate dealbreaker.
Morse admits that a ‘floordrobe’ – a tangled mass of clothes that have never seen a hanger – is a sign of laziness.
‘He’s still waiting for someone to clean up after him,’ Morse cautions. ‘Unless you want it to be you, run.’