#550 When your roommate cleans the place while you’re away

My friend Peter has a theory.

We were aimlessly chitter-chatting the other day when he mentioned he only does housework when his girlfriend isn’t home. I thought it was a bit strange but Peter patiently broke it down for me in three big points:

1. Hugs and kisses. When his girlfriend shows up after a long day with her bangs sweat-glued to her forehead, she’s not always in a great mood. But when she notices the all rock-hard tomato stains scraped off the stovetop and the telltale blue-tinged hint of fresh toilet bowl, her mood cheers right up and Peter scores some love.

2. Ditch the guilt. Then there’s the big problem with cleaning up when your roommate, boyfriend, or wife is lying on the couch. While you’re straightening magazines and vacuuming in front of them, they feel guilty for chilling out. Forget the hugs — this time you’re scoring a big sigh, some lazy stinkeye, and a half-assed helper.

3. Mr. Perfect sightings. Okay, my place is a mess. Sometimes I fall asleep on dirty clothes, use my dryer as a dresser, and end up with rock-hard macaroni-and-cheese dishes in the sink for weeks. Peter’s not as bad as me but he’s no Mr. Perfect, either. But see, that’s just it — the beauty of his plan is that he gives his girlfriend a chance to daydream about her boyfriend cleaning all day. Sure, the truth is that he was probably stuck in Tube World in Super Mario 3 for most of the afternoon, but that clean countertop, spotless mirror, and fresh vaccuum streaks on the rug  give her hope.

Showing up after a long day to a freshly cleaned place is such a great feeling. Toilet paper has replaced the Kleenex in the bathroom and  the rat-sized dust balls hanging out behind the TV have been whisked away. Now you get to enjoy an evening with someone you love in a sparkly new joint.

So three cheers for organized shoes, three cheers for empty sinks, and three cheers for your place looking a lot less dumpy. Yes, if you feel this buzz you’re living with someone special. So make sure you give them some hugs and kisses.

Or, if they’re out right now, maybe go make the bed.


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44 thoughts on “#550 When your roommate cleans the place while you’re away

  1. This is GENIUS! I was always very aware of the guilt factor involved, but this post expresses it perfectly.

  2. In high school, I emptied the dishwasher and did all the dishes whenever my parents were out. They would come home and think I was an angel of a daughter. I scored major brownie points, and they never knew that I just used that mindless chore as a way to procrastinate on my actual homework.

    By the way, “jugs” and kisses? C’mon, Neil!

  3. Hoping the “Jugs and Kisses” is a typo…?

    I mean, I’m pretty sure this still applies even if your roommate doesn’t have jugs.

  4. I use the dryer as a dresser too. In fact, roommates are the only way my living area can get clean at all. I see the strewn about dishes, piles of lint, and unsorted belongings, and eye it over to decide where to put what what. I start moving things back and forth, then eye it over again, and too frustrated with my lack of progress, take a break. Then I never get back to it, and the cycle repeats. AWESOME!

  5. Jugs and kisses is a perfect way of putting it!

    I also do the clothes washing, as it takes 2 secs to put it in, watch some TV, take it out, hang it up.

    Brownie points all round!

  6. I only do the must need cleaning while hubby is home, like the dishes and the laundry. The other things, the deep cleaning, I do when he is gone. I have always hating cleaning when he is home. He will ask if I need help and I always decline. But every once in a while when he thinks he can score by cleaning, he starts right before I get home from work so I can see him doing it. Then I’m so tired from work and just want to sit for a few minutes, but then I feel guilty and end up cleaning and then he stops.
    He knows I will do it and he just wants the credit. :-) kinda funny now that I think about it.

  7. Another amazing and very true post – your next book should be “the book of knowledge and infinite wisdom “!!!

  8. Maybe that’s why I’m not able to clean the house when my fiance is home. I like to be there doing my own thing and dancing around and chilling out. It’s a really relaxing thing to do….and it’s hard to relax when someone is always trying to “help” you.

  9. Perfect post!

    This describes what my life was like when I was unemployed rather perfectly. My wife was working long hours, and I was in the midst of a several-month-long hiatus from work. So the “job” I assigned myself was to be the perfect house-husband. Do the groceries, dishes and laundry. Keep the house spotless, and the cars clean and filled with gas. The goodwill this bought me allowed me to spend all of my non-cleaning time playing golf and video games guilt free!

    Btw: Is that woman cleaning the toilet singing along with her tunes, or gagging about how gross the inside of the bowl is?

    1. I noticed too about the woman!

      I would have to say gagging… Makes me wonder what’s in there… I guess I don’t really want to know.

  10. “Jugs and kisses” is no typo — rather, it’s more of a Freudian slip expressing a deeper truth. While originally chatting with Neil about this, I meant to write “hugs” but mistyped “jugs” and decided to leave it that way, because really, aren’t soft bosoms the best part of a hug?

    Neil, I leave you to write about soft-bosomed hugs next. I must return to Tube World.

  11. I live/assist with my 85-year-old grandmother. Whenever she goes out, I clean like mad.. especially if it’s a whole weekend. The reason? She won’t be underfoot and telling me I’m doing it wrong. The real reason? I’m hoping she realizes it and keeps going away…. especially for a whole weekend.

  12. Before I go, I should add one last tip: If you have a partner who derives a certain erotic charge from watching you do housework, try washing all but one dish while he or she is out. Later, when you hear the car pull into the driveway, rush back to the sink and time it so that as your partner walks though the door, you’re putting the final dish on the drying rack and draining the water. This way, your partner gets to see you in the act of cleaning, but never sees any actual mess — it’s win/win.

  13. UGH I wish my roommate would read this post. I’m ALWAYS the one scrubbing the toilet and sinks and putting things away because my standards of cleanliness are apparently much higher than hers. Notsome. :\

  14. Really? Clean the house because then you’re significant other will let you touch her jugs?

    “”Hugs and kisses” would be kinda gay” ?

    “soft bosoms the best part of a hug” ?

    I dunno, I’ve always really appreciated the universal appeal of the stuff on this site, and the way Neil has never seemed to feel the need to turn the entries into dude-isms (which I can imagine it would sometimes be tempting to do). I can’t help but find this annoying.

    1. i agree, this site always does a good job of keeping those kind of things out of his posts, but this time i had to reread it and was shocked at the description “jugs and kisses.” Don’t worry, my grammar patrol belt is at home.

  15. I’m including the soft, bosomy hugs of mothers, aunts, or grandmothers here. Why must one sexualize bosoms? They’re what nourish babies and never cease to provide warm, maternal comfort.

  16. A related pet awesome: waking up in a clean room, especially when you just washed your bedding and made your bed the night before!!

  17. No matter how easy you make it for a reader to leave feedback, they still have to take some time to do it, and to show how much they care – what’s a few moments to respond to them and thank them for doing so?

  18. Aw. I did this for my roommate and got yelled at for ‘touching her stuff’. Hopefully my bf is more appreciative when I move in with him.

  19. Love this one.
    When my brothers and I were little, we’d go stay with our dad during winter vacations and for a month or two over the summer.
    Every time we returned, our pig-sty Goofus rooms had been transformed by our mom into Gallant-style showplaces.
    Thanks, Mom.
    Thanks, Neil.

  20. Many thanks for the first-rate information listed throughout your blog, here is a trivial test for your blog visitors. What person proclaimed the following quote? . . . .If life were measured by accomplishments, most of us would die in infancy.

  21. I absolutely love blasting 70’s Rock and doing this for other people…well, I’ll admit…
    and for myself:)

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  23. This IS awesome!! It makes me want a Flatmate !!! I love the way this post breaks it down, it started my day off with a smile! :)

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