#550 When your roommate actually cleans the place up 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.


Photos from: here, here, and here

— Check out my new audiobook How to Get Back Up