A Mess to Impress

As a college senior, I signed a lease on my first one bedroom apartment. Graduating from a small bedroom at the folks' house to my very own apartment was more exciting to me than graduating from college. I mean, imagine the possibilities. I did.

Among my prized possessions were a blue vinyl recliner (enhanced by a nasty tear in the seat), a color television complete with remote that I was convinced would only respond to the touch of its master's thumb, a big stereo (housing a clever new gadget called a "CD" player), a computer, a nondescript brown sofa with armrest covers (oh - did I just describe it?) a black microwave oven and a yellow refrigerator. My place was the epitome of cool - and I couldn't wait to show the guys. "Oh ya, they'll be hanging out here all the time," I predicted.

The first day in my home, I recall digging frantically through a stack of class schedules, info sheets from utility companies and employment ads (to replace the job I'd later endure to pay rent). Setting up utilities, class registration and other nuances and nuisances of this newfound freedom and independence would simply have to wait. I continued to scatter papers recklessly and rather feverishly until I found the most important document of all - the 800 number for cable TV hookup. My priorities never felt straighter.

After arranging for cable, I continued through my paper stack, finding two pizza delivery coupons that would "decorate" my fridge perfectly. A car wash's red, promo, rubber magnet left on the kitchen floor by previous tenants would prove most useful. It was a strong magnet at that, securing both coupons firmly and flatly against the fridge with absolutely no slippage. I knew this magnet would support many more food delivery coupons when they arrived via junk mail. I was making progress. Cable. Pizza. Check. Check.

I determined there was far too much light streaming into the apartment. After all, this wasn't a grocery store. Luckily, my alternate set of bed sheets (impressed that I had one?) was of the dark blue variety. Throwing them over the useless white drapes worked magic, creating a nifty blue hue that surprisingly made all my furniture match. The window became a two-toned blue light, no doubt a decorator's dream - for me, it made the TV so much easier to see.

I took a moment to survey my new digs. My place was electronics-heavy and movie theater dark. The couch and chair were comfortable to the derriere, but not so much to the eyes. I had no plants, but the stereo had lots of green flashing lights, so that, I reasoned, was fine. There were more coupons on the fridge door than food items inside. Yes, I was pleased to proclaim that I finally had my own, full-fledged Bachelor Pad.

Today I ran a web search of the term "bachelor pad." To my chagrin, over 1000 of the results featured articles about bachelor pad makeovers. I was dismayed because years later I still have a bachelor pad and this seems to suggest that inherently, my home needs improvement. I then noticed that all the makeover articles were written by... women -or, men that decorate professionally.

"Fixing" a bachelor pad to make it appeal to a woman contradicts my personal theory:

If women dress to impress other women, then men "bachelor pad" to impress other men. The key difference is that an impressive bachelor pad benefits all the men who are impressed by it -as it is designed for the pleasure of the pack and all are encouraged to share in its benefits. A well-dressed woman that successfully impresses other women is the sole beneficiary of that impressiveness because she cannot share it!

There is no greater compliment or higher praise for a man than to hear another man say, "Dude, your ______ rocks. Where'd you get that?" A man receiving this compliment will likely respond with the universal male-to-male "thank you" gesture (one short, upward nod of the head), followed by a grant of permission: "You wanna try it out?"

If the man gets this compliment in the presence of one or more of his buddies, he'll experience the exhilaration of a virtual touchdown - complete with an end zone dance he'll contain in his head unless another buddy chimes in, "Yes, that's cool," in which case -clear the floor.

So, to those who preach that the pure functionality, comfort and gadgetry of bachelor pads automatically begs a makeover, step back! Single men living alone don't need to add "warmth" to their homes. We don't nest. We are the hunters. We instinctively hunt the biggest, most impressive prey we can capture in the Circuit City jungle. Then we bag & drag it back to our cave, plopping it down where other hunters can most easily see it, nod with approval and enjoy it with us.

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