You can't unsee it, so let's prevent her from seeing it in the first place.
September 19, 2008 9:12 AM   Subscribe

I'm having a close friend house-sit next week. I want to keep my porn and kinky stuff in a safe location where she doesn't need to see it. It won't be a huge shock, since I'm out of the kinky closet, but it'd be awkward, to say the least.

We have a one-bedroom apartment so she'll be sleeping in our bed, and she'll be using my desktop computer.

First, the porn: It's stored on the secondary hard drive of an XP Pro machine (call it E:/). There's one main folder with a few sub-folders. Total is ~ 12 GB. It is not networked unless you count the (very secure) wireless network. I'm thinking that the best way is to set up a new user account with a password for her. Is this the best/easiest approach? Will she still have access to this folder if I do? She is NOT computer savvy so this doesn't have to be airtight. She's also not a prude. I just don't want to her to accidentally run across porn or compromising pictures of yours truly. If you're going to suggest any command-line stuff please spell it out precisely, like how I get to the command line in the first place. I know, you just smacked your forehead.

Second, the kinky sextoys. We have 3 LARGE BOXES of this under the bed plus even more stuff in the closet. We can drag this down to the basement for the time being, but we'd like to find a semi-permanent solution so we can have guests over without the OMG did we leave the closet door open. (We'd also like it to be easily accessible to us so we don't have to go into the basement every time we want something.) Is there a closet organizer that is opaque and locks (and isn't expensive)? Again, doesn't have to be super-secure because we're not afraid of thieves, and besides, none of the stuff has resale value. Other ideas welcome.

Footnote: Years ago I house-sat for a grandmotherly coworker and her husband. They let me use their computer and out of stupidity/nosiness I looked at their bookmarks. AUGH, my eyes!!! I was really afraid to open any drawers after that. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (26 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

As far as the hard drive: Turn the PC off, disconnect the power cable, open the case, disconnect the hard drive inside the case, close the case, re-connect the power cable. Unless you have the kind of friends that are really nosy and tech-savvy, this should be an easy solution.

As far as the sex toys (or anything you want to hide, really): Get a nice steamer trunk with an integral lock. Put a few things (clothing, papers, etc.) on top of it in no particular organined way to make it look casual and completely inconspicuous. Done.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:16 AM on September 19, 2008

If she or anyone else goes snooping through your things then they deserve exactly what they get (rig a booby trap to deliver a giant squirt of splooge from a spinning, polka-dot clown bowtie). It's your house; leave it as it is.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 9:19 AM on September 19, 2008 [5 favorites]

Another option for the sex toys is a simple filing cabinet. They have drawers, they lock, they're opaque, and they're so totally boring that no one would want to look in it even if it wasn't locked.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:20 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I don't think there's any need to assume that your guests will be snooping through your stuff. The things under your bed should be fine, and the stuff in your closet could be put in another storage bin of some sort (they come in a variety of sizes, so you should be able find one that fits in the closet). No need for a lock. Putting stuff in the basement seems like a huge hassle and like you said, why should you have to venture to the basement every time you want a toy?

As for the computer stuff, you could simply name the file "(Housesitter's name) don't look" or something similar. Then they can't say they weren't warned.

And if someone does choose to go through your stuff, remember that they will bear the brunt of the embarrassment; they were the ones being tacky and snooping.
posted by runningwithscissors at 9:22 AM on September 19, 2008

Put a big label on the sex toy boxes: "Federal Register Summaries and position papers (vol 7-9)".

Rename your porn folder "Elective Dentistry Notes" or "Tax Records".

It's usually easiest to hide stuff in plain site.
posted by jenkinsEar at 9:26 AM on September 19, 2008 [3 favorites]

Label the boxes "tax receipts 1999-2002." Or something equally dull.
posted by rtha at 9:26 AM on September 19, 2008

Yeah, what jenkinsEar said. Great minds etc.
posted by rtha at 9:27 AM on September 19, 2008

Don't label the boxes with "tax receipts" if you think your friend might be at all nosy about how much money you make.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:42 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

For the toys, you could always get one of those nice old footlockers. They are opaque, have locks and could easily fit most of your toys. They could reside in the bedroom at the foot of your bed and guests could come and go none the wiser.
posted by teleri025 at 9:51 AM on September 19, 2008

As for the computer files, I agree with your approach - set up a completely new username and password for her, and then go to the E:/ drive on your computer and right click to Properties. Then, click on the security tab and you will easily be able to control the permissions.

Just remember to password-protect your own administrator account so that she doesn't log into yours by accident and render all of your precautions futile.
posted by amicamentis at 9:57 AM on September 19, 2008

Inspector.Gadget writes "Get a nice steamer trunk with an integral lock."

This was going to be my suggestion, a trunk at the end of the bed is innocuous.

As for the files the best thing would be TrueCrypt. It's really easy to use and besides protecting your sensitive data from your sitter it'll also protect them from thieves should your PC ever get stolen.
posted by Mitheral at 9:57 AM on September 19, 2008 [3 favorites]

Buy some encryption software. Or get it for free.
posted by jackypaper at 9:57 AM on September 19, 2008

A trunk with a lock sounds reasonable.

As to "snooping", as some people have put it... the last time I housesat I wound up being hella chilly, and needed some extra blankets at night. The first place I looked was the huge chest by the bed, the one with the small lap blanket folded on top of it. Sure enough! More blankets. Housesitters usually end up needing random things, especially over a period of like, a week. Oh no! Spilled wine in the bathroom! Must clean! Are there spray bottles under the sink? Cabinet rummaging commences.
posted by redsparkler at 9:58 AM on September 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't worry about the computer files - honestly, to me it's the height of rudeness to go browsing through someone else's files, and if she does so, she gets what she deserves and you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Now, bookmarks can be hard to avoid, so if you have any, you might want to save them to a file and then wipe your bookmarks and history for the duration of her stay, just as a courtesy to her.

I also like the footlocker idea. They're discreet, and unlike the boxes you have now, they give off a certain "private!" vibe (rather than a "ran out of storage space for t-shirts/shoes/paperwork" vibe). Assuming your friend isn't a snoop, the only way she's going to find your toys is if she's looking for something she needs and mistakenly opens a toy box; a trunk or footlocker doesn't reveal its contents, but doesn't really seem like a place where people would keep their extra toilet paper, so she'd probably leave it alone.
posted by bettafish at 10:02 AM on September 19, 2008

Oh, hmmm. Redsparkler has a good point about keeping blankets in trunks, actually - I'm not a blanket person, so I didn't think about that. Maybe just lock the trunk, then?
posted by bettafish at 10:03 AM on September 19, 2008

There are various not-obviously-storage devices out there specifically for such needs. I am at work, but I would imagine a search for "sex toy furnature", or "sex toy storage" would come up with some storage options. The trunk at the base of the bed works well too.
posted by SirStan at 10:06 AM on September 19, 2008

The computer/porn:

If you want it to be 'properly' secure, download and install truecrypt, a free/open source program that can encrypt your stuff. Also good for business secrets on your laptop.

Alternately, you could create a new 'limited' user account for your friend and put a password on your account (on windows XP, do start > control panel > user accounts). Then right-click your porn folder, select 'properties' then 'security' and make it so your friend's account cannot access it.

The sex toys:

You could fit a lock to your current bedside cabinet and keep them there.

Or you could just put them in a boring looking box under your bed - when guests are about, kick it far enough under that they would have to crawl under the bed to get it out. It is unlikely anyone would be nosy/impolite enough to struggle to get it out, and if they do they deserve everything they get.
posted by Mike1024 at 10:15 AM on September 19, 2008

I really like the file cabinet idea mentioned above. Boring and perfect for locking things away. You can get a two drawer that should be big enough.
posted by pearlybob at 10:24 AM on September 19, 2008

Also, at my parent's house they keep a two-drawer file cabinet in their bedroom closet. I have seen actual files in there but I remember growing up my complete lack of interest in whatever it held. I was a nosy parker, too. File cabinets are very boring.

Just make sure that if you lock it, the keys are kept accessible and nearby. Maybe on a nail in the closet?
posted by amicamentis at 10:27 AM on September 19, 2008

We used to have a fancy Potter Barn bed with a cubby underneath the mattress. So we would lift the middle panel which raises the mattress and exposed the cubby. The cubby was INTENDED for bed linens. It held our various nefarious goods, though.

I second the locked filing cabinet idea or the locked footboard trunk. I'm in the process of building a bed matching trunk for our new bedroom set that has two levels inside and a secret lock so that our goodies can go on the bottom-most level and only be opened by those who know where the switch is.

As far as the files go, if the E:\ drive is a physical drive and not a partition, I second disconnecting the cable. If it is a partition, truecrypt is the best option.
posted by brandoniain at 10:29 AM on September 19, 2008

Definitely lock the trunk if you go that route. I housesat for a friend once and totally went through the trunk at the foot of the bed for some good laughs. For the record, she was the web developer for a sex toy shop and porn site, so I doubt she cared, but still...
posted by thejanna at 11:01 AM on September 19, 2008

You said she's a close friend, so if you got a big storage container for the toys, couldn't you point it out to her when you show her around before you leave? Something along the lines of, "And this box is where we keep our kinky sex toys, just so you don't accidentally stumble upon them," would seem to be appropriate.
posted by coppermoss at 11:08 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Hard drive:
create a folder on the hard drive called whatever you want to call it. Cut/paste all files into it.

Go to View/folder options at the top of the screen. Uncheck the box next to "show hidden files and folders." Make sure all your pr0n0z is dumped there. Right click on the folder. Go to properties, choose "hidden." Now press OK and the folder will be translucent. Go back to view/folder options and check the box again. TEH PORNZ IS SEEKRIT.

For extra security, make a folder called something like "random mumblings" and throw some junk files in there, or even make a real folder and throw some crap in there, and drop the folder in there. Hidden.

No need to encrypt. If she finds that, she's semi-savvy and looking for trouble. Let her find it.

For the boxes of stuff...put them some place boring. Basement? Garage? bottoms of closets under blankets? Attic?
posted by TomMelee at 12:08 PM on September 19, 2008

My 2c on the computer would be to make her a Guest Account on your computer. If you also feel like renaming the incriminating folder to something innocuous, go right ahead. I don't have any "sensitive" material on my own computer, but I've always been in the habit of making Guest Accounts for friends who stay over just as a matter of courtesy. (And also, so I don't have to log out of all "remember password" sites *before* they come to visit.)

As for the sex-toys: I would just simply install a lock on the closet itself and put them *in* the closet when you have guests/whatever. I had a friend housesit for me once who was in AA, and I put all of my booze in a locked closet just so that it wasn't all out there staring her in the face. Works really well as a barrier for people checking out what's in there because hey! They can't! It's locked!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:55 PM on September 19, 2008

You mention that your files are on a secondary hard drive. Why not crack open the case and unplug that drive's power cable?
posted by onshi at 4:42 PM on September 19, 2008

i always thought the gun lockers at walmart would be good for sex toys.

if the porn is all you have on the drive, get an enclosure, put the drive in that, then you can lock that in your sex toy box when company is over.
posted by nadawi at 2:08 PM on September 28, 2008

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