• Sniff the milk
  • Eat over the sink
  • Wash when the sheets stink
  • Check messages rarely
  • After opening the refrigerator door, wondering briefly what is in that tupperware container (it's been there forever) but not checking.
  • Buy wrinklefree clothing
  • Fall asleep while the television is on
  • Put money aside for a large screen flat panel television
  • Get asked to help other people move in. A lot.
  • Know the local football team’s standings, but not where Iraq is
  • Know the functions of all the buttons of the remote control, including the TRACKING button
  • Check plants every four weeks
  • Don’t get asked to watch other people’s pets when they’re traveling
  • Get asked to go to weddings. Get asked not to give toasts
  • Ponder how to get past that First Date hurdle
  • Allow 15 minutes of apartment cleaning before you expect a visit from a MOTOS.

Let's talk about a guy. We'll call him Kyle because, well, that's the name his parents gave him when he was born.

Kyle lives alone. Sure, his bed might have two warm bodies in it on occasion, but for three hundred and sixty days out of the year, Kyle lives alone in a two-room apartment in Portland. And if you're ever in Kyle's apartment for any length of time, there are a couple things you'll notice.

First, he doesn't cook. Ever. His cupboards and fridge are filled with soup cans, microwaveable dinners, instant meals, things of that nature. You can find takeout containers and wrappers in the garbage and scattered around, forgotten orphans from a previous tryst.

Second, he seldom cleans. "Cleaning is a woman's job, and there aren't any here," he says. Misogynistic, I guess, but I forgive him because it's more an excuse than a point of view. To attempt to clean his apartment would be to take command of a war of daunting proportions. His microwave oven -- which is where any heating of food takes place -- is hopelessly smeared, caked, and otherwise encrusted with a thick layer of drips and spills from previous meals. His bathroom is home to things that I am fairly certain do not occur naturally in this world.

Having imparted that knowledge, I should mention that, should you happen to crash on Kyle's couch for a night, he will gladly offer you his bathroom in the morning, but will tell you, will actually verbally warn you, not to "drink out of the sink, or use the bathtub without scrubbing it out first." There are urine stains in the sink. The bathtub is coated in an orange-brown film. It is somewhat disgusting and disturbing, and it will probably not be taken care of for quite some time. C'est la vie.

Fourth, where someone with emotional ties that has settled down might spend their money on sensible things, such as drapes or a dependable family car or this month's rent, Kyle has an endless supply of what can only be called "toys." I don't know where he is employed, if at all, but I'm fairly certain that the vast majority of whatever money he brings in goes toward whatever whim currently catches his fancy. A look at his entertainment center, underneath the forty-two inch widescreen plasma HDTV, reveals every gaming console known to man, in a mess of tangled wires and cables. Downstairs, in the fourth covered parking space on the row, is a vintage Mustang. I don't know much about cars, but people that do sound impressed when I mention it.

Fifth, most of his clothes are wrinkled, stained, torn, or otherwise abused and misused. He has approximately two decent outfits, one of which is the tuxedo he wore to senior prom. It is now two inches short in the wrists. The other is the button down shirt and dress slacks that he wears to church, and the occasional fancy date. Aside from these two sets of clothing, I have never seen him in anything but t-shirts and khakis.

If bachelorhood were a campaign, Kyle would be its poster child, a living, breathing example of a life lived on your own. It's not the most glorious way to be, but I think he's happy with it, and that's all that really matters, right?


Oh, and he does a lot of the stuff that those other guys mentioned, too.

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