The Hook Up: On bachelorette pads and straight-girl bait


Hi Anna,

Long-time reader, first-time writer here! I’m getting back on the saddle after a decade of serial monogamy. Have somehow managed to actually start dating, casually seeing a few people at the moment, but haven’t gotten to hookup level just yet.

Here’s the thing, I’m suddenly paranoid that my crib isn’t hookup-worthy! My college hovel was fine back in the day, but I’m supposed to be succeeding at adulting, so I should have a pimped-out crib, right? And it should be spotless 24/7, too, right?? What’s a girl to do? I can’t keep my makeup stashed out of sight all the time, and I can’t justify buying swanky leather sofas for a booty call. Help please!—Needing a Bachelorette Pad STAT

Dear NBPS,

I once had sex with (and then proceeded to date for four months) a woman who literally lived in a closet—her futon mattress was too wide for the space and rested half up the wall like a sad parenthesis. But the closet did have a window, so.

In other words, I’m probably not the most pragmatic person to field this question, but I did some research on bachelorette pads and cleanliness, and here’s what I found. asked 1,000 U.S. singles about their turn-ons and turn-offs when it came to seeing a date’s apartment for the first time. Survey says: It doesn’t have to be spotless, but it should be reasonably clean.

Eighty-two percent of respondents said they pay attention to how clean or dirty the apartment is—and 78 percent said a dirty apartment was their biggest turnoff.

And what about for longer-term dating situations? According to the survey, 67 percent said that a nice apartment would make them more interested in someone as a potential partner.

image1illlustration by Natasha Miren Terbraak

But what is “clean,” anyway? Isn’t it subjective?

According to the above infographic, women care most about clean bathrooms, followed by kitchens, so if you only have time to put effort into a few spaces, focus on those.

Nothing was said about makeup specifically, but if you’re really worried about it, or it’s taking up the entire bathroom counter, perhaps get a case for it and dump it in there before dates/hookups. Not that she’ll necessarily even notice. She’s probably more concerned about your DVD collection. Amelie? AGAIN?

I was curious about what makes a great bachelorette pad, so I also posed your question to folks on social media, and here are some of the salient responses.

Smell is important

As in, make sure your house doesn’t. If you have pets or are generally curious, it would behoove you to ask for an outside opinion as to the olfactory aromas of your abode. You live there, so you might not be able to detect any odors that might be an issue.

Fixing funk is fairly uncomplicated, however. A neutral smell is just a Febreeze spray away. You can also invest in candles (though that can be off-putting to some as well, especially if it’s something weird like Christmas or Fudge Brownie scent), mild air fresheners, and plants (more on that later).

Get a comfortable couch

It doesn’t have to be leather, but it should be comfy, free of stains, and a place you want to spend time on (or Netflix and make-out on). If you have roommates, this can be harder (or not up to you at all), but in general, a nice couch = a nice touch.

Let’s put this to bed

This seems like a no-brainer, but not having sheets on the bed was listed as a big turn-off, as well as having a mattress-on-the-floor setup. (If you’re in your early twenties, you can probably get a pass on this. For now.) Get a bed frame and make it a sturdy one—not for aesthetics, but so you can have sex without alerting everyone in a six-mile radius. Most IKEA frames need not apply.

Other obvious deal breakers

The usual suspects came into play here: Vermin, bugs, stacks of crusty dishes, beer bottles everywhere, hoarding—all were frowned upon, if not outright condemned. Avoid them at all cost. Doyes “R” Us.

Not essential, but nice to have

Plants. Plants not only add color, but they also neutralize chemicals in the air, relieve stress, and give off a nice scent. If you succ at keeping things alive, try a succulent. In fact, it’s rare indeed to find a queer lady without at least one in her room/house/porch. Succulents to queer women are like casseroles to midwesterners. IRRESISTIBLE.

A custom bar. Hey, while we’re dreaming, why not? Get yourself a small bar cart and stack it with a few essentials (ingredients for one or two mixed drinks, a wine bottle or two, and a couple of glasses) that you can keep on hand for dates. If it has wheels, you can roll it on over to the couch or bed for prime sexy-time refreshments.

Good vibes. That may sound witchy and vague, but good energy doesn’t have to mean breaking out the Nag Champa or sage-ing everything (though you totally can)! Bringing good vibes to your space can involve things like displaying photos and memories of happy times, trying some Feng Shui arranging, and yes, cleaning or tidying up, which also helps to provide relief from anxiety and moodiness.

Aaaaand, fine. Here’s a witchy smudge-stick spell for bringing good vibes. We are queer women, after all.