Purely Hypothetical Situation:
This is Lucy.
You've had a crush on Lucy for, oh, about 3 years. You haven't asked her out because she is really, scarily attractive and therefore perpetually dating someone.
You're kindasorta friends with Lucy. You've actually had conversations. She lives near you. You've given her a few rides to yoga class. You see her at the coffeeshop. Sometimes you see her at clubs, always holding the hand of her current girlfriend. It makes you die a little inside.
All your friends know about The Lucy Situation. You are officially not allowed to talk about her anymore.
Well, Lucy just called. She's locked out. Can she come over and wait 'till her roommate gets home?
OMIGOD SHITYES THIS IS YOUR BIG CHANCE!!!
She'll be at your house in 10 minutes.
Oh, wait, fuck.
Look at your place. You're a disgusting bachelor slob. The apartment looks like a tornado hit it 6 months ago and no government funds ever came through. Omigod, there's shit everywhere.
Lucy is perfect and beautiful and if she sees this place she will never, never go out with you and you'll die aloooonnnne!!!
WHAT DO YOU DO?
You've got 10 minutes.
Don't panic! Momma's here. Just breathe.
I happen to have a lot of experience with this purely hypothetical situation.
When I was a baby dyke, I lived with Tawnya. We both danced in the burlesque club every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. We were both messy girls. We both worked full-time jobs, were never home, and when we left for the burlesque show, we left a whirlwind of destruction in our paths. Can you picture this?
Glitter. Feathers. Unmade beds. Loose sequins all over the floor. Dirty dishes. Thongs. Stray pasties. Sewing projects, incense ash, perfume bottles, broken garter belts, plastic bags next to the garbage full of more garbage, empty shampoo bottles, sex toys, vitamins, curling irons in the sink, hairspray-sticky surfaces, ripped fishnets, kitchen table buried under a mountain of crap. Over all of that, an amazing layer of dust. It was overwhelming.
But sometimes we would bring a trick home on short notice. (Tawnya way more often than me. Girlfriend has an ass you could serve beer on.) That's when we would call one another and instigate The Plan. The Plan was a series of clean-up steps we took if we only had a few minutes to make the apartment look good.
You don't have to be neat.
You just have to look neat.
Neat enough to trick women into sleeping with you.
If Lucy's coming over in 10 minutes, you have lots of time to make your place look passable.
Here's what you do immediately:
1) Pile all the crusty dishes in the sink and fill the sink with wasteful amounts of bubbles. Piles of bubbles! Mountains of bubbles! You must cover up those dishes. Because gross dishes = gross person.
*Any pots that are too big to fit, put in your oven. Don't forget about them later.*
With the sudsy sink, it'll look like Lucy caught you in the middle of washing up. Roll up your sleeves to further the illusion. Time spent: 2 minutes
2) Flush the toilet and spray perfume in the bathroom. Ball up toilet paper and rub it around the sink. Pour lots of mouthwash into the toilet bowl. (Looks like cleaning chemicals!) Throw all rubbish, makeup, porn!!!!, old bottles, embarrassing Cosmo subscriptions, and hair shit into the bathtub and draw the shower curtain.
NOTE: One of the first things new/uncomfortable-feeling people will do in your apartment is go to the bathroom to make sure they look OK.
While they're in there, they WILL look in your medicine cabinet, silently. Your job is to make sure they find nothing incriminating.
While Lucy will look in your cabinets, no way would she look in your bathtub, because a) she's normal and would never think of doing that, and b) it would make too much noise with the shower curtain rings. Throw everything you don't want her to see in the bathtub. Time spent: 2 minutes
The Kitchen and The Bathroom are the most important rooms. If those are decent, you're a clean girl who just got behind with her chores. If those rooms are dirty, you're doomed to have your cats slowly eat you after death, starting with the eyeballs.
3) Light incense. Open as many windows as you can, even if it's freezing. Air the cave out! Time spent: 1 minute
4) Shut the door to your room. If Lucy asks, say it's your roommate's room. Later, you can say you swapped. Time spent: 5 seconds
5) Arrange the piles of shoes near the front entrance in neat little rows, like a Chinese kindergarten.
Aww, endearing! You're so cute about details! Time spent: 30 - 60 seconds
6) Run around your living, kitchen, and dining rooms and pick up all books and magazines. Put them into two tidy piles on your coffee table, with the smartest/trendiest books on top. Look how many books you read! You're so cultured! Time spent: 1 minute
8) Plump and arrange throw pillows in living room neatly. Time spent: 20 seconds
9) Put a sock on each of your hands. Get one wet. Now you have a scrubber and a duster. Use the wet one on the kitchen table. Run the dry one over the coffee table and anything truly, grossy dusty. Time spent: 1 minute
10) OMG Lucy's coming up the driveway!!
Do a last, lightning check of your house. Did you:
a) hide the sex toys?
b) put all the garbage bags in the closet/back hallway?
c) remove all crusty underwear in the bathroom?
d) leave your Valtrex/Prozac/Retin-A/Xanax/Oxycontin bottles anywhere in sight?
Excellent. Your apartment looks almost like you're a regular girl, interested in tidiness and dinner parties. You clearly have your shit together. You're so fuckable!
You are now ready for The Seduction of Lucy. I leave you to it.