Where the magic happens. Alright, we’ve met out cliche quota for the day, and now we can talk about your bachelor pad. It doesn’t have to be big: you can make a small one work. If you live in a big city you’re going to have to. But small or large, there are a few things that it needs to have going on. A guest, preferably of the gender in which you have romantic interest; and it would be nice if you were there, too. Besides those, there’s water, heat, electricity, walls, a door, and WiFi. And the elements or conditions we’ve detailed below.
Number One for a Reason: Be Clean, Be Neat–But Not Too Much
There’s no bigger turn-off than a messy or dirty space. Of course, trash-strewn back alleys, with the odd bloodstain and chalk outline have their own kind of 1970s charm, but we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about where you live. You need to have a system for dealing with garbage, recycling, and waste products. A lot of people have been having success with just throwing it all away, like immediately upon being done with it. So it wouldn’t hurt to try that. There’s no secret trick we can share with you here, except maybe getting a Roomba, or a maid: clean your digs, and put your stuff away. But don’t overdo it. If your guest wants to fuck in a museum, well, find a museum. It will be much more exciting. Maybe you can start a new Bande à Part-style trend. Your place should look lived in: it should appear as though you’ve been reading the copies of American Poetry Review and The New Yorker piled on your coffee table; have someone finish the New York Times crossword puzzle for you and leave it draped somewhere in the john. We’ll let you leave a shirt–one shirt–out somewhere, maybe on a doorknob; but it should be a decent shirt. Not formal. Maybe a well-structured flannel. Put some clean dishes in the sink-strainer so it looks like you’ve done the dishes recently. Write a note somewhere. Other than that, put your stuff away, and clean up.
Make it Clear that Deliberate Choices Have Been Made
Catch-as-catch-can is fine for waking up on Sunday morning and feeling morally compelled to eat. Mustard and Oreos will do in that context. But your bachelor pad should not look like you’re making do with what you’ve got. Get an area rug. Put it in an area. Under the sofa and coffee table is a popular spot. Next, get a sofa, and a coffee table. Fuck: don’t put an area rug on a carpet. Oh, hell’s bells: not that sofa. And not that coffee table.
Make it Clear that Good Deliberate Choices Have Been Made
Eighty-six the cliched color patterns. Black and red was a unique color scheme in the 1970s when everything was goldenrod and cornflower blue and deep, unnatural hues. Now it’s morbidly late-eighties. You don’t have to go with current trends (earth-tones, muted primaries, deep pastels), in fact it’s best if you don’t. But you do have to make it look like good decisions are being made. Design your own color scheme, per room, and stick with it. Throw in some neutral colors to break up the scheme and draw it to the eye. Experiment with accent colors that will make the scheme pop. Don’t get all your furniture from the same place, or at least not from the same line: eclecticism draws interest, demonstrates curiosity, and keeps a room looking fresh and timeless. Use mirrors to create the illusion of depth, especially in a smaller space. Most of your music, or at least the music you’ll be using when you “have a guest,” is probably digital. At least it should be. So store CDs (and cassettes and eight-tracks, bless your heart) out of sight. Like at a thrift-store. Same with DVDs and video games. If you can’t bring yourself to completely eliminate how much sports memorabilia is displayed in your bachelor pad, at the very least minimize it. The framed sports jerseys are just no. Also avoid hanging art or anything else without a frame, and using fluorescent lighting.
Make Sure You Are Well-Represented in Your Space–But Not Too Much
This is where your decorations come in. The things you hang on your walls and dot your shelves with, the choices you make in functional design (your flatware, dinnerware, glassware, etc.) should not directly reference you, but should represent your interests and passions. Except for your interest in and passion for sports. A picture of you in front of the Mona Lisa while visiting L’Ouvre: no; a good-sized print of another Da Vinci classic, like The Head of Leda: yes. Things you’ve made: no; works you’ve picked up in your travels: yes.
You should be more directly represented in the collection of books around your pad. Probably. If it’s Tim Lahaye, or L. Ron Hubbard, or Vachel Lindsay, or even something more literary, like Curious George, you’re better off sticking to non-fiction. Get some good books on subjects about which you are passionate. Besides sports. You can never have too many books around. Arrange them by color if you want to, but that trend is damn close to being played out. Still looks neat, though.
For Your Guest, or Guests
You’ll need a big sofa, for entertaining your friends. How big is big enough for your friends to come around and comfortably watch the game with you? Here’s a good rule of thumb: it should completely fit two adults lying horizontally. Also, your leather sofa is vinyl. How do we know? We’re playing the odds: most leather sofas are vinyl. And real leather sofas are expensive. And most leather sofas are just nearly played out. A good standard to apply to all of the choices you’ll make preparing your bachelor pad is this: if you can’t get a good one of something, get something else. If the market’s cheapest leather sofa just barely fits in your budget, get a different kind. You’ll gain flexibility, and some features and durability the cheapo leather sofa would be lacking. If you’re going to use a wood coffee table make sure it’s really wood. Particle board and high-pressure laminate can be detected a mile away. And if it’s wood, make sure it’s the same type or at least the same stain as the other wood fixtures in the room, including the floor.
What we said about stashing the discs doesn’t apply if you’re a collector of vinyl records. You’ll have to leave the records and the turntable out somewhere. Otherwise it will be difficult for you to listen to lower quality audio that you paid higher quality money for. Regardless, a good sound system is necessary, and it should be ready to go when you walk in. It should also be intuitive for your guest to use, search through, and groove to. You don’t have to be an audiophile, but integrated bluetooth speakers that carry a selection through multiple rooms are nice; so is a Bose or similar self-contained premium player. Anything that eliminates speaker-wires as a decoration is great in our book. You can even rig these systems with your television. You don’t need an expensive home-theatre system: you don’t go to cinemas just to fuck, and the inverse is true.
The Twenty-First Century
It’s going to be here for awhile. Eighty-two more years. So get on the bandwagon. The vast number of ways that your space and everything in it can be integrated with your smartphone is beyond the scope of this post. Keep an eye on the kinds of services and innovations that are becoming so ubiquitous that you’ll seem anachronistic without them. You don’t have to be first, but don’t dare be last.
That said, there’s always plenty of room for classic touches. Especially in the kitchen, which lends itself to a little rusticana. And a rustically-decorated kitchen distinguishes itself from the rest of the space, changing mood and ambience as your guest moves from one to the other. It adds depth, makes your home-life seem lived in. Just don’t go too rustic, or go rustic elsewhere in the space. It’s not an historical theme park.
A Few More Tips
Bring the outside in, whenever you can. If you have a balcony, porch, or breezeway, situate your space so that your most regular gathering area is as close to it as possible. Let in as much natural light as you can. Don’t have a television in the bedroom. Christmas lights are for Christmas.