#406 Being slobby in a hotel room

We’re still animals.

Sure, our species has grown up and grown older over the past couple hundred thousand years. We’ve moved out of the jungle and shed most of our body hair, keeping warm with sweatpants and hoodies instead of hairy legs and bushy beards.

But we’re still animals.

We grunt and scratch, we scream and cry, we burp and fart just as much as the next guy. All those shaved legs and haircuts, watches and wardrobes, glasses and grandma panties just can’t cover up our deep n’ dirty roots.

Sure, roommates sweep and Swiffer, boyfriends tidy and touch up, and dads scrub toilets as moms mow the lawn. But sometimes our deepest animal instincts need scratching and we need to feel like we’re back in the jungle, chilling under a big tree trunk with no worries and no problems.

One place that’s great for embracing these filthy roots is in a hotel room. Somehow they manage to tease out the best and worst parts of our animal heritage:

1. These shoes were made for walking. And that’s just what they’ll do. In this hotel room these shoes are walking on the carpet and bathroom.

2. No coasters, no problems. Do you have an Obsessive Coastering friend? One of those folks who jump out of their seat to toss a coaster under anyone’s drink? Wet glass bottoms are their mortal enemies and they may sub jewel cases or pizza flyers in a pinch. Maybe you know that person… or maybe they’re you! But either way: take a break in the Days Inn penthouse and set your warm glass of bathroom tap water straight on the glossy dresser.

3. Using ten towels a day. Back in college my roommate Ryan and I weren’t great at doing laundry. Our rooms had leaning underwear towers and dirty T-shirts balls in the corners while musty bath towels hung like dead fish in the moldy, mildew-smeared bathroom. Whenever one of us piped up with a “Hey, should we head downtown for laundry today?” the other person responded with dead silence and all you’d hear in the room was the frantic clicking of thumbs playing Mario Kart. This is why entering the sinful ten-towels-a-day world of hotels is a nice break once in a while.

4. Eating in bed and falling asleep with the TV on. If you’ve ever woken up on a slippery floral comforter next to a cold half-eaten Pad Thai with a flickering TV in the background showing a steak knife cutting through an aluminum can, then smile because you’re on vacation, baby.

5. Leaving your bed in a twisted pile of sheets and blankets. After fracturing both your ankles trying to untuck all the tightly-packed sheets, there’s just no way it’s ever going back together again.

Little bits of you are from before as atoms from our past swirl and twirl up and down to the ground. Someone gets buried, someone gets born, and over the years we’ve grown up and grown into a more sophisticated society of manners, grace, and tact.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But sometimes it’s just good to go slobby for a while.

Sometimes it’s good to take a break.


I’m speaking at TEDx Toronto today. Hope to meet some of you there.

Photos from: here, here, here, here, and here

43 thoughts on “#406 Being slobby in a hotel room

  1. Spot on once again!
    Ahh doing all this and then when you come back to the hotel room, it is as if none of this ever happened. Somebody cleaning up your mess for you. Simply awesome!

  2. Can’t wait to do this. My mom’s one of those mom’s that just can’t sit still and has to clean ALL the time. I love being a slob. I shared a room with my parents at the Holiday Inn (that fucking place is a rip off! Didn’t want to pay for two rooms!) this January and we only used the towels needed, used coasters, and cleaned up after ourselves after we ate. Not fun. Though I did just leave my bed unmade. haha. I think my mom made my parents’ bed.

  3. I just CANNOT agree with this one. Someone has to clean up after your mess. I could just never make someone else’s job that much more difficult and still feel awesome.

    1. I think it’s such a waste that somebody cleans your room everyday — hotels should give a price break if you don’t need somebody to: make your bed; move the alarm clock back to a spot where you can’t see it; close the tv cabinet; dump all of the water out of the iron and put away the iron and ironing board in the closet and hang up the bathmat every day.

      Then when you get back to your room you just undo everything they just did, it’s a waste of everybody’s time.

      I leave the DND sign on my door until I checkout. Then the maid never has to deal with my stuff everywhere and she has to change the sheets and towels at that point anyway, overall it’s less work for them. If you really need more towels, just call the front desk and they will bring them to you.

      1. Hey, Chad – it’s even better to phone up Housekeeping and tell them that you don’t want your room made up – that way they don’t have to keep checking your room to see if your DND is now off and your room suddenly needs to be made up. Believe me, they will appreciate that! Plus, if you just need one thing, (like in my case MORE COFFEE PACKETS), you can get that sent up.

          1. Great suggestions, guys. I’ve been to some Starwood hotels (Sheraton, Westin, etc.), that have a policy where you can hang a tag from your door the night before if you don’t want them to clean up your room. In return, they slide a ticket under your door in the night, which entitles you to $5 off in the restaurants/shops in the hotel, or 500 Starwood hotel points (by far my preferred option).

            I loved this idea, and it feels like everyone wins! More hotels should adopt this policy.

  4. Yes! It’s nice to know that the mess you’re making — for once — breaks the hard-and-fast rule of “you made the mess, you clean it up!”

    Not saying I’ve ever trashed a hotel room like a coked-out rockstar or anything, but you’re absolutely right: it’s great to take a FULL vacation, including some time away from the everyday chore of tidying up your space. Just make sure to do a really thorough double-check before you leave … don’t wanna lose any precious personal items in the jumble!

  5. I haven’t had many times to stay in a hotel room and all the times I was never in the room long enough to make a mess. In high school I stayed in a hotel room once for a competition in DC. We were mostly out sight seeing and at the competition. There was 4 of us in the room.
    The next time was for my honey moon, but…. there was no time to make a mess……..
    The next time the hotel room ended up kinda messy. It was me, hubby and daughter and next door was hubby’s friend and his family.

    Wow…. I need to get out more.

  6. Not awesome. A guaranteed way to get your toothbrush dipped in the toilet.

    Keep your room neat AND leave a good tip, it makes the housekeeper’s day a little more awesome:)

    1. Actually, I leave it neat out of self preservation. Leaving a mess is a sure fire way to forget something. I straighten the bed (not making it, but getting more than halfway there), and leave the towels in a somewhat neat pile. I don’t believe making a mess just because I can. I agree with Crystal – be compassionate for the workers who have to clean up after you.

    2. Someone who woul dip someone’s toothbrush in the toilet not only deserves the mess left for them but also doesn’t deserve a job. I cannot stand people who take a job and don’t have the common sense to know all that comes with it. That’s like me being a garbage man and frying upset that people throw things in there a certain way. Just pick the crap up or go to college. Rant over.

  7. i’m a fan of making a little fort out of blankets and furniture on my last day. unmade beds (and bed forts) and scattered towels are probably the biggest mess i leave behind.

  8. Um, no, not awesome.

    I hope you leave the hotel maid a HUGE tip. They work their asses off for slobs like you.

    For shame.

  9. I’m actually neater at hotels than at home, but I do squirrel away the tiny shampoos so I get new ones the next day. Is it weird that I then take those shampoos on my next trip so I can collect the ones from the next hotel?

  10. I like #4 but I miss the old commercial where they are ripping hair off of the big hairy guy – nothing better at 4 AM

  11. ‘the frantic clicking of thumbs playing Mario Kart’–love that, love all of your writing, it always makes me laugh out loud :)

  12. You are hilarious!
    I love this post. We were just in Quebec City and the first night I made sure all the clothes were hung up and the shoes were placed neatly by the door – – well, the next day, I finally loosed up and didn’t bother being so neat.
    On our way out, we left the DND sign on the door just so the room wouldn’t get all done up again (I agree it’s a waste of the maid’s time)
    Before we left, though, I totally tiedied up after us – it is rather embarrassing to leave a dump.

  13. At first when I saw the Super Mario Kart Picture I couldn’t understand why and then I thought it was because it looked like they were mowing the lawn. Place the pictures better next time, OK?

  14. Spot on, Neil! Thanks for the shout out. Is it cool if I shower at your place this evening? I haven’t done laundry in forever, and your towels are looking rather clean these days.

  15. I always tidy up before I leave a hotel room. All garbage in the bin, all dirty towels in the bath. I would hate to be thought of as a slob! I’ve heard some horror stories from hotel staff about the disgusting mess some ‘guests’ leave rooms in. Have some dignity (and respect) people!

  16. I am TOTALLY different. I love going out of my hotel room, seeing the maids in the hallway and saying, hey don’t bother doing my room, it’s okay. Or when I check out, I might tell them, hey I used the shower but not the bathtub. And the smiles on their faces that means their workload is a little less….AWESOME!

    So don’t be a slob when someone else has to work twice as hard: they still have the same quota of rooms to do, you can make someone’s day better, or worse: it’s up to you!

  17. awesome!

    although sometimes, I like to do exactly the opposite – pretend that I am a clean and organized person in a hotel room, obsessively hanging up and unpacking all my stuff. Cause it’s so much easier starting with a clean slate!

  18. While I have NEVER seen a man clean a toilet, I am guilty for leaving the bed in the tossled mess; this way I think they’ll actually launder everything for the next guests! My hope… the same for me next time!

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