I dabble in online dating. There, I said it. Now that I've admitted it, a whole vista of blog possibilities have opened up. It's a weird place to spend time, for sure. But it does provide fodder for pondering.
One of the more bizarre aspects of online dating is the litany of questions that will supposedly help match you with a mate. Some are ridiculous, asking if 1+7 = 9, and some are insightful and very helpful in the filtering process, such as "Do you believe the Red Sox are superior to the Yankees?" But there's one that stumps me.
"Are you neat?"
Not neat as in cool. Neat as in not messy.
My mom still yells at me about "leaving a trail." In college, I had a roommate who had to write a paper about "things that make you crazy." She wrote about me, and my messy tendencies. I still claim that that I was not a slob. I wasn't super tidy - but this girl freely admitted that if my soda can crossed over to her side of the bedside tables, she freaked out.
However, when I tried to answer that online dating question, it presented a real problem. I've given it a great deal of thought, and come to the conclusion that I'm not inherently a slob. I'm just lazy. This is not because I like clutter or mess - on the contrary - I just don't clean or pick up after myself with consistency. My cleaning usually happens late on Sunday night or Monday evening, and it's of the "deep clean" variety - alternating loads of laundry with vacuuming a room, mopping and dusting, occasionally stopping to watch an inning of baseball or a 1/2 hour of TV on my DVR.
That said, I like my house a lot better when it's clean, and I'll bet you do too. So I've come up with 5 ways to fool ourselves and others into the illusion of neatness. They don't quite mask the need to dust the TV stand or organize our shoes, but they can make a big difference:
1. Make the bed. This small effort can make a huge difference in your bedroom's appearance, and also protects you from the dog jumping up and leaving hair on your sheets.
2. Close the shower curtain. Then, the razor that fell off the shelf or the bottle with the missing lid is hidden from the prying eyes of the unsuspecting public.
3. Wipe the kitchen counter. Even with a sink full of dishes, a clean counter implies that you cared enough to get rid of the crumbs and juice rings.
4. Shut the closet door. Actually, this applies to all doors. Every 5 year old will tell you that the best way to clean your room is to shove everything in the closet and shut the doors. Yes, mom always knows what you're up to. But hopefully, now that you're grown up, she can't do anything about it, and you can always lay out essential clothes so you don't have to open it.
5. Vaccum. Nothing says "I'm a slob" like 3 weeks worth of dog hair dust bunnies. And the rugs look so much prettier! Vaccuming also leaves nice patterns on the carpet, which can translate into "hey, see, I knew you were coming over and I cleaned for you!"
I guess, in the end, if you have to follow these rules to make your dwelling suitable for company, you probably shouldn't claim to be a neat freak. But hey, you can hang out with me in that gray area of "not a slob, willing to make an effort." That was an option on the online dating platform the last time I filled it out.
Now all I have to do is find a guy who will notice that I made the effort, and not judge me for the dirty dishes in the sink. Preferably one who loves dogs, likes long walks on the beach and will cook me Indian food. Shouldn't be too hard, right?