Ladies, Prep Your Pad For A Date

Why you should stash the straightening iron, stat! Plus, other easy ways to turn your pad into a man magnet.

By Katherine Dykstra

ou’re well aware of the importance of first impressions, so you’re totally on top of your appearance: your manicure, your hair, your outfit—and you always keep a clever comment on the tip of your tongue. But did you know that first impressions extend past your looks and personality to your place? “Far from being superficial, our homes can say a lot about who we are,” says Ilaria Barion, who helps prep apartments for the first time a love interest sees her clients’ abodes. “It’s the first make-or-break moment for most in any new relationship. Expectations for a lasting relationship can crash with a single glimpse.”

So if you’ve had some good dates and are ready to have your new sweetie pick you up at
A stuffed animal collection makes your date feel like he’s robbing the cradle.
your place — or even come over for dinner — follow these 5 steps.

Ditch the princess room
Your rosebud and eyelet pillow cases, stuffed animal collection and tea set were adorable when you were 8, even 13, but now they make you seem like a child—and your guy feel like he’s robbing the cradle. “Referring to ‘Mr. Waffles’ and going into baby talk at some stuffed owl makes me want to roll my eyes,” says Max, 28, of New York. “I've endured it, but not been that crazy about it.” Barion suggests: “Avoid pink towels, pink bedding, too many pillows on your bed or anything that makes your place resemble the room of a teenager, versus a grown woman.”

Do: Hang on to one favorite stuffed animal. Here’s how single guy Max explains it: “If, on the other hand, Mr. Waffles was something that a girl didn't talk about, and it was something I sort of stumbled upon and the girl fessed up that she slept with this animal then I would think it was very, very cute.”

Keep your beauty secrets, well, secret
It may take hard work to turn yourself into the bombshell that you are, but he doesn’t need to know that. “Cluttered bathrooms with a million beauty items — curlers, cotton balls, pads, underwear hanging in the shower — are a turnoff,” says Barion. “Men love to think we woke up the way we looked at a party.” So squirrel away all your secret potions under the sink and he’ll never be the wiser.

Do: Keep shower gel with a natural scent or a bar of soap as well as an extra toothbrush on hand for him as your relationship develops. “The best thing I ever found in a girl’s bathroom was body wash that didn’t smell like tropical fruit or lavender,” says Eli, 28, of Philadelphia.

Fill up your fridge
O.K., so you haven’t swallowed a carb in four years and you wouldn’t dream of letting anything without the words “low-fat” “nonfat” or “sugar free” pass your lips, but your boy is an eater (they almost all are) and he wants to know
Your first love will always hold a special place in your heart, but he needn’t have one on your mantle.
that eating with you will be a sexy exploration of food, not a lessen in the Five Factor Diet. “A fridge full of Slimfast tells me that she is not comfortable with her own looks,” says Parker, 31, of Iowa City. “The last thing I want is to be fawning over a girl who was constantly reminding me how she thinks her hips are too big.”

Do: This doesn’t mean you need to run out and buy a bag of Doritos and a pint of Breyers, just that you should stock welcoming snacks like hummus and pita or Brie and apples, not to mention a little something to wet his whistle (and loosen his spirit) like a bottle of wine or six of good beer.

Lose the little nothings
A shelf full of Precious Moments figurines say next to nothing about you, save that you’re a bit obsessive and quite sentimental. “Unless you share the very same passion, collectibles are a bore. So keep teapots, show globes, figurines confined in a small display, if not in closed storage,” advises Barion.

Do: Fill your book shelves with biographies, jaczz CDs, art supplies, whatever turns you on. “I definitely look for little traces of who that person is. I think you generally find it in their books and their music collection,” says Max.

Put your exes away
Yes, your first love will always hold a special place in your heart, but he needn’t have a special place on your mantle. “If there’s a picture of an ex up on the mantle and it looks like it holds a permanent spot there, that’s definitely a threat and a bad sign, especially if you’re dating her now,” says Eli. You may have that old photo of your romantic weekend in Napa on display simply because you love the gorgeous vineyards in the background, but the message you’re sending your new guy is: “I’d rather be there, with that guy.”

Do: Display lots of photos of your friends and family, the people who are in your life now. They show how busy, fun and, well, amazing, you are.

To hear the other side of the story, check out Guys: Prep Your Place For A Date

Katherine Dykstra is a New York-based freelance writer. She once dated a man whose only furniture was an inflatable mattress. They did not last long.
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