Because I am a woman, one would think I'd have more to say on this subject, but I did want to share with you something I learned about myself. My boyfriend was due to have a friend of his come into town this last weekend and spend a night. Now, since he's lived with me, we've hosted many people and for those people I've performed various domestic duties. I'd do all the dishes, Windex the bathroom mirror, maybe vacuum, and that was about it. I should state that all our past visitors were males and friends of mine and in this case it was a female friend of his and one I'd seen pictures of but had not yet met IRL, a female I'd normally be indimidated by simply because she was better looking.

For her visit (which in the end was a no-show, so all this was for naught), I cleaned my apartment in ways I hadn't done since I moved in 6 months ago. I wiped a centimeter thick rope of dust off each blade of the ceiling fan in the living room, swept the edge of the wood trim around the floor's edge, dusted everything (even my keyboard that when I shook it out, cigarette ashes fluttered like a bad case of dandruff), and installed towel racks in the bathroom (something I'd been meaning to do but until then had no raw motivation). My apartment is tiny, so all of this took the sum of one after noon, but still it struck both my boyfriend and myself as odd. I had purchased a bookshelf a few days before, but since I had no way to get it home due to its 6 foot heighth, I managed to persuade a painter at work to take it over in his truck during lunch. Normally I wouldn't care but for some reason I wanted it home and set up right away.

You may have seen this if you live with a woman, but unless she is normally laid back and even a little lazy, you won't notice the hyper attention she's paying to her tidying up when you're both about to have company over for the night. In my case, it was very obvious. With the guys I had come over, there was no desire to impress. In fact by not cleaning up too much, I believed, in my barbarian concept of men, that it would be impressive to not be anal about housekeeping. In the case with this girl, I think I went to all the extra trouble (trouble she herself may not have even noticed) because I not only wanted to create a good impression but also because I needed a firm foundation for my confidence.

You see, any woman who identifies herself by her home (and seriously, what woman doesn't?) will fall back on it when she feels threatened. She doesn't clean the place because it necessarily needs it (though it did in my case) but because she needs to have things in order to minimize any "apologies" she may have to make for her guest. Even if we're completely confident in our relationship, a single female friend who is not "our" friend is still an odd addition (and again, in my case, this girl had a boyfriend and was likely bringing him with her, but still). We want to play the bigger person, acting as though there is no reason why we can't be warm and engaging; we want to be the women our men expect us to be. Some preparation, still, is required, not for the visit but for the host.

By understanding this about women, you will gain some knowledge about how we think, and that's always helpful, I'm sure. The thing is, most women wouldn't be able to tell you why this is or how they come to these conclusions. I know as well as any other man how defensive women can be when a suggestion is made as to the origin of their behavior and if they see any sort of admission of weakness or melodrama in it, the suggestion is outright denied as ludicrous. No one really wants to be caught emotionally with their pants down, especially women.

So, if you men ever find yourself in my position, whether you are married or not and whether this woman friend of yours is married or not, if your woman starts cleaning like mad, either offer to help or get out of the way, preferably out of the home altogether.

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