What should I keep in my home for overnight guests?
April 29, 2015 7:11 AM   Subscribe

Suppose you're a woman, and you're staying over at a guy's place for the first time. What sorts of personal essentials/amenities/etc. would you like to see in his home?

I've recently returned to the dating world, and it seems likely that I'll soon be entertaining the occasional overnight guest. What sorts of things should I keep handy to make my guest feel comfortable?

I'm a tidy grown-up, so I'm not really asking about cleanliness or furnishings, more just toiletries and things.

In a general way, my personal upkeep is pretty minimal and low-maintenance, so a lot of things that might seem obvious don't even occur to me. Like, a contact lens kit may seem like an obvious unisex basic, but I don't wear contacts, so I wouldn't have one in my bathroom. And I've never used a washcloth or a hairdryer, but I know they're widely considered to be essentials, so I'd like to make sure both are available.

I understand that the line between looking like a considerate host and looking like a player can be a very thin one (for example, I'd be hesitant to keep more than a few unopened toothbrushes on-hand), but if it means not having to make a late night/early morning trip to the drugstore, I'm fine walking that line.

If you've ever seen something in a guy's home and thought "this guy's a keeper," please share! And likewise if there's anything that guys seem to consistently lack.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (98 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Funny you mention the toothbrushes, because I had a guy friend that was always very proud of himself for that idea.

Fresh, clean folded towels that you yourself have never or rarely used.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:15 AM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

--A second set of towels and washcloth
--A body wash that isn't Axe, Old Spice, etc.
--A post-shower lotion that isn't Axe, Old Spice, etc.
--A second pillow with clean pillowcase
posted by blue suede stockings at 7:17 AM on April 29, 2015 [9 favorites]

Please have handsoap and a not almost cashed roll of tp in your bathroom.
posted by asockpuppet at 7:24 AM on April 29, 2015 [23 favorites]

You can buy a 5 pack of toothbrushes and present them with one missing, so that you don't look like a player. Water bottles are handy. Yes, do have wash clothes, but keep them manly. Splurge a bit and buy a really nice bath sheet.

Keeper- We spoke enough before the home visit that he knew some of my favorite things and had a treat basket for me. It was kind of awesome.
posted by myselfasme at 7:24 AM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Assuming that alcohol may be involved in some of your meetings, be sure to keep a variety of pain relievers on hand - if you only use ibuprofen, for example, be sure to also have small bottles of tylenol and aleve in case those are the preferred hangover helpers of your guest.

Likewise, if you have pets, be sure to have a small amount of common antihistamines (benadryl, allegra, zyrtec) on hand in case of allergies.

-unopened bars of gentle soap (dove, etc.)
-travel shampoo/conditioner/body wash from hotels in a basket that you can pull out
-extra plastic grocery bags for the bathroom garbage (guests may want to hide their used tissues, etc)
posted by trivia genius at 7:26 AM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm a woman. What you want is:
- ONE new toothbrush (personally I would see it as "I got it from the dentist and haven't used it yet" instead of "I get laid, like, all the time so I keep them around for my conquests.")
- proper nice full-size towels that are clean and folded
- shampoo AND conditioner. Especially conditioner. I can live without a hairdryer but no conditioner? Hells no. Doesn't need to be super expensive fancy stuff, even just Pantene or Aussie would be great.
- a normal non-super-man-scented soap/bodywash. If all you use is Old Spice stuff please just chuck a bar of unscented Ivory or Dove in there.
- A hairbrush. Some men just have combs and man, with my hair that ain't happenin'
- not scratchy sheets. My husband had what I call "bachelor sheets" before I moved in, which were scratchy and ugly. The first thing I did was get a proper set of sheets and he is all "Yeah, okay, these are better..."
- agree with a pillow and a clean pillow case.
- proper toilet paper. Think Charmin instead of Econo-tissue thin TP.
- I cannot agree more strongly with every person who has said a proper opaque garbage can with a garbage bag in it AND a lid. Sweet Moses, that has been the cause of some uncomfortable awkward moments...

When my husband and I first started getting serious he bought me a brand new pillow for his bed. To me that was a big "OMG this guy is awesome" moment. I wouldn't, like, keep a stack of new pillows ready to hand out, but if down the line you're getting serious with a person purchasing them a pillow to use when they stay over can be a really thoughtful gesture.

Frankly, the single most impressive thing you can do is to just have a clean, tidy, organized house that smells clean. I have no idea why but so many men's apartments I have been to smell... funky. Musty and funky. This does not mean to burn sickly sweet vanilla scented candles or something. Go for something more clean and neutral smelling, like "Crisp Linen" or "Outdoor Fresh".

On a similar note, if it has been a while since your towels/sheets have been washed, just freshen them up periodically to keep them smelling clean and fresh. Musty towels = DARKNESSSSSSSS!
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:27 AM on April 29, 2015 [26 favorites]

A lined, opaque trash can with a lid. Please. Please.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:28 AM on April 29, 2015 [75 favorites]

Non-crappy unisex shampoo and conditioner, if you don't already have it.
Plenty of toilet paper within easy reach of the toilet; splurge for the nice/soft kind.
Standard array of painkillers and antacids in an easy-to-find place in case she feels weird about asking.
Tissues (again, the nice kind)

Also, change your sheets beforehand. And air out your room -- leave the windows and door open for a while. The smell of a man's room can be really overwhelming if it's gotten too stuffy.

I think the key to not looking like a player is to avoid anything that's overtly woman-oriented. So having cheap spare toothbrushes of the sort you might bring on a business trip would be fine, but having tampons could be creepy and weird.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:28 AM on April 29, 2015 [6 favorites]

Hair conditioner. It's not really needed on very short hair and so a lot of guys don't have it on hand. To make it not-sleazy, just get some generic brand that doesn't have over-the-top "gendered" packaging... like a white bottle with a neutral scent. You want to avoid giving the impression that it's your secret girlfriend's product. It should seem like the conditioner MIGHT be yours.

For the hairdryer, I would go one level "up" from folding travel hairdryer.
posted by cranberrymonger at 7:28 AM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

A bedside table of some kind on "my" side of the bed so I don't have to put my glasses/phone on the floor.
Tissues that are not toilet roll and that are available near the bed for hopefully obvious reasons.
A bin with a lid in the bathroom. A bin in the bedroom.
posted by emilyw at 7:29 AM on April 29, 2015 [9 favorites]

Liquid handsoap at the bathroom sink. No one wants to use or see a bar that has shaving remnant stuck all over it.
posted by gatorae at 7:29 AM on April 29, 2015 [12 favorites]

oh, and if it's more than one step from the bedroom light switch to the relevant side of the bed, then that side of the bed needs a lamp. Stubbing my toe in the dark isn't sexy...
posted by emilyw at 7:32 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Are we talking kitchen stuff, too?

- Milk for coffee, if you're having coffee in the morning.
- A pitcher of cold water in the fridge, or a few chilled bottles of water.
posted by mochapickle at 7:33 AM on April 29, 2015 [5 favorites]

Box of tampons, different sizes, box of maxipads. Not all up in everybody's face but under the sink or in the medicine cabinet. I have a friend who keeps these in his bathroom closet not for hookups but just because lots of his friends are women.
posted by Don Pepino at 7:36 AM on April 29, 2015 [9 favorites]

Make sure if there is a window in the bathroom that there is a proper curtain/blinds in there. Same for the bedroom.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:38 AM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Something that can work as a night gown or pajamas. I don't mean that you should go out and buy some feminine sleeping wear, but that it would be good to have, say, a clean oversized T-shirt or something of the like. If she comes over without her own pajamas, it would be nice to have a worthy option available for her.

I understand that the line between looking like a considerate host and looking like a player can be a very thin one

I think one of the main things that separates the one from the other is how the items fit into the rest of your house. Everyone above who suggested clean, folded towels is right: that is a really nice thing to have on hand. But suppose, say, you've got just a pile of dirty towels on the floor, and your towel in the bathroom is clearly just a rag that's been used for a month straight, but then you also have a perfectly pristine set of folded guest towels? That makes you creepy. You want your home to be a place that, overall, is comfortable and thought through.

Keep your place tidy and well-stocked, and whatever amenities you have to provide will seem appropriate and well thought out. (Except tampons. Don't don't don't keep tampons.)
posted by meese at 7:38 AM on April 29, 2015 [13 favorites]

A pack of disposable razors.
posted by treachery, faith, and the great river at 7:38 AM on April 29, 2015 [8 favorites]

It's been mentioned a few times, but having good toilet paper, and lots of spare rolls, cannot be overstated.

I'll also make a super practical and unsexy suggestion for a plunger. Which I'm sure you have, being a responsible adult. But make sure it's somewhere visible in the bathroom and not squirrelled away in a closet somewhere. (They make ones with a tasteful little hideaway caddies.) There's no kind of dread like what comes from wanting to take a discreet poop in a private home toilet of unknown flush capability.

If you have a sister and are slightly devious, you can easily get away with having a small stash of women's stuff super easily. Just get a little purple travel kit and fill it with some half used things (specifically, travel box of tampons with one or two missing) and stick it under the sink somewhere, which you can explain away as your sister having left behind when she visited.
posted by phunniemee at 7:39 AM on April 29, 2015 [9 favorites]

An open box of tampons with a few missing, shoved way back under the sink, so it's plausible that your ex or your sister forgot them there.
(On preview: right on, phunniemee!)
posted by pseudostrabismus at 7:41 AM on April 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

Are we talking kitchen stuff, too?

If you are taking kitchen requests, have coffee and tea things on hand. A decent bagged black tea (as in, not lipton) works.

If you have a dog, your bathroom trash needs to be completely dog-proof.
posted by carrioncomfort at 7:42 AM on April 29, 2015 [10 favorites]

As a contact lens wearer I say oh please God yes to the person who has a bottle of all-purpose solution and a spare case in their house. This is especially good if someone visits you and isn't planning on staying over and then decides they want to, because it sucks to get to that stage and have to go home after all because you didn't think you'd need your solution. Seriously, I can cope with crappy soap and scratchy sheets but if I've no lens stuff then I literally cannot stay.

Also baby wipes. Good to have in your bathroom cabinet because you can use them to take makeup off and they're useful for all kinds of freshening-up purposes, but they're generic enough not to be all "I get all the laydeez".
posted by billiebee at 7:42 AM on April 29, 2015 [13 favorites]

Vacuum the floors once a week (especially if you have a pet), and mop at least once every couple months. Sucks, I know, but do it.
posted by intermod at 7:43 AM on April 29, 2015

Water, preferably a fancy kind, or seltzer. This is a personal preference and obviously a bonus item on top of the basics everyone upthread has mentioned (towels, hand soap, etc.)

The importance of smelling good cannot be overstated. Earlier on the day of, open the windows to air the place out. Don't mess with any of the Glade air freshener-type products unless your type of lady enjoys chemical institutional smells. Invest in a high-quality soy candle in a neutral-to-masculine scent like sandalwood. Check your towels and other textiles for mildew smell.

Bleach your toilet and bathtub. Basically, when in doubt, wash the bejeezus out of it.
posted by witchen at 7:44 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Though to be fair, it would not bother me in the slightest to go over to a dude's place and see that he had a stock of tampons or whatever specifically for ladyfriends. I'd find it amusing and incredibly practical. Depending on what kind of women you want to date, maybe it's not the worst thing?

But I also have a drawer full of spare toothbrushes for gentleman callers so maybe I'm disinclined to hold someone's promiscuity against them.
posted by phunniemee at 7:45 AM on April 29, 2015 [7 favorites]

Nice high quality sheets on your bed
Clean, soft towels

The bonus of these is that you're deriving the benefit of them too!

As someone who wears contacts, I wouldn't expect someone else to have supplies for them on hand. If I'm planning to stay overnight, I bring my own supplies plus my glasses. Of course this means that any unplanned overnight stay is out of the question, but that's not really my bag anyway. I suppose you could keep one of those travel kits that has a case and a small bottle of lens solution and just claim that a buddy left it after a recent visit, but a. I would find this kind of weird and b. I would only use it if it were totally unopened. So it's up to you whether it would be more awkward to try to tell a woman "oh, I don't wear contacts, but I totally have all the supplies on hand" or just to say "oh that's too bad you can't stay over tonight, but I'd love it if you plan to stay over next time." Girls with contacts may also propose bringing you back to their place.
posted by MsMolly at 7:46 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

There's nothing creepy about keeping tampons in your house, tucked away in a drawer or under the sink. The only person who would see them is the person desperate enough to look when in need, and that person will be eternally grateful.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:51 AM on April 29, 2015 [10 favorites]

ExACTly what ThePinkSuperhero said. Anyway, I don't think you need to make up a forgetful sister or ex to excuse having comfort items for women in your house. I think you should make a big, obvious effort to make your house comfortable for guests of all sexes. It doesn't mean you're a big slut, it just means you're thoughtful and kind to friends who are women. What's the problem with that? Here's a good primer: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/girl-heaven-toms-apartment-on-parks-recreation-170057
posted by Don Pepino at 7:54 AM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

I have some single (platonic) guy friends who I sometimes stay with when I travel, and I'd fully expect them to have all of these things available to guests in general. Having clean towels, extra toothbrushes, etc. just seems like part of being an adult who sometimes hosts. You're making these well-intentioned efforts with sexytimes in mind, but you'll find that they'll help in other situations too.
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:59 AM on April 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

Bath mat.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:06 AM on April 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

Haven't seen anyone yet recommend throw blankets. Have one folded up on a chair near the bed, whether it's your bed for a lady-friend or the guest bed for a guest. You never know if your guest is someone who gets cold at night, so having a blanket nearby to use will make a cold middle of the night wake-up much easier to fall back asleep from.
posted by juniperesque at 8:09 AM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

One of the big reasons my current BF got promoted to boyfriend was that he is excellent at this. He knew about my normal breakfast (a fruit punch gatorade and a diet coke), and had them in his fridge the first time I slept over. Such a good move.

I think the most important thing is the place is tidy and the sheets and towels are fresh and clean. A spare phone charger would be great if you have it. Decent toilet paper with extra rolls in an obvious place is also nice.
posted by elvissa at 8:10 AM on April 29, 2015

good coffee and an espresso machine.
posted by waving at 8:12 AM on April 29, 2015

An extra phone charger. Micro-usb if yours is an Apple/lightning charger or vice-versa.
posted by almostmanda at 8:12 AM on April 29, 2015 [6 favorites]

Ooo, I know: good stuff to read in the bathroom. I mean, if you are someone who reads in the bathroom and want to attract someone who reads in the bathroom. Not if you aren't and don't. More than one bathrobe so you guys can stroll around looking like his'n'hers bathrobe models in the morning. In my 20s I had a fling with a guy who had snuggly robes and silly curly straws and made us breakfast beverages to sip with the curly straws while wearing the snuggly robes. I'm still friends with him two decades later because two decades later he is still thoughtful and fun.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:24 AM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Haven't seen anyone yet recommend throw blankets. Have one folded up on a chair near the bed, whether it's your bed for a lady-friend or the guest bed for a guest.

Nthing this. Every guy I have ever dated has had the thermostat set to subzero temperatures. A plush microfiber blanket is a good investment.

Also, shelf-stable, single-serve containers of non-dairy Coffeemate creamer for your lactose-intolerant guests. You can find them at Smart & Final or on Amazon.
posted by invisible ink at 8:26 AM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

It may depend on the woman, because all I require as an overnight guest when I'm dating someone is "room in the bed". Usually, if it's a "new" dating situation then my sleepover was probably spontaneous and I accept that "tee-hee I had to borrow his comb" as kind of par for the course, and if it's an established "we're dating" situation I've usually packed for it.

If a guy had a spare brush, an extra toothbrush, and a clean comb and a clean towel, though, I'd appreciate it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:26 AM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

The first time I showered at my SO's house, they didn't have any shampoo. Apparently since he and his male roommates all had short hair, they just used bar soap. So yeah, shampoo, a bar of soap, and clean towels. Anything beyond that is gravy.
posted by futureisunwritten at 8:28 AM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

From the answers here, the idea of stocking tampons is clearly divisive. (I personally fall on the side of thinking it seems playerish or tryhard, more "aren't I considerate, ladies??" than actually considerate. If I suddenly needed a tampon while visiting a man's house, it wouldn't even occur to me to ask my host or look in his cabinets; I'd just assume he wouldn't have anything.) If you find yourself on the fence about any of these things, keep in mind that women generally won't expect you to have a fully stocked bathroom, and no one will be weirded out if you don't have tampons or contact lens solution or whatever. Keep your place tidy and have the essentials like soap and toilet paper and clean towels, but it's not like you're running a bed and breakfast.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:28 AM on April 29, 2015 [27 favorites]

Mostly I think it's being a regular "grownup with their shit minimally together" stuff. Reasonably clean house, recently-changed sheets and fresh towels available. I feel like if I'm having an unplanned sleepover, I'm not really expecting all the quirky amenities I prefer in my own home. I generally keep an extra toothbrush on hand to offer, just grab 2 when you're replacing your own or something. Definitely an extra phone charger. Basically I feel like all of this is stuff I would normally have, as it comes up when friends are over, too. If you have friends that want tampons in your bathroom, by all means, but I feel like that would weird me out a little. I'm overthinking it in the context of this discussion, though.

Honestly anything above and beyond a normal adult's ability to somewhat comfortably host a surprise guest of any gender is going to be person-specific, I think. What made me swoon about my current friend was his attention to my personal tastes, not anything he had prepared for "generic ladyfriend."
posted by jeweled accumulation at 8:31 AM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh this is a topic that is near to my heart. You are right in guessing that your home is being inspected, however subtly.

Add me to the "yes, please have tampons" club. An opened box with an assortment of sizes (regular through super, they come packaged like this) is good. Every now and then a vigorous romp seems to bring things along sooner than expected. A friend of mine calls this the "plunger effect," and even those of us with well charted perfectly regular cycles fall to it every now and then. If I find myself needing a tampon, it is too late to get to a drug store. I realize this is not the case for most vagina owners, but I am also not alone. (In my defense, I generally carry them with me, so that I can save ladies in need in restrooms, but sometimes a cute purse just doesn't have enough space.)

A lotion that is unscented. I like the Aveeno line, and Target sells a nice knock off version.

Toilet scrubber brush and cleaning fluid for toilet. If I have a disaster poop at your house, I do not want you to know it. I definitely do not want to have a conversation about it. Even if I don't need this, I like evidence that you give a damn and probably clean your toilet every now and then. (Bonus points if the bottom of the brush holder is not full of moldy water.)

Clean hand towels. Do not expect me to dry my hands on the same towel that you use to dry your bits. I can hear you protesting that you wash your bits and they are clean when you dry them. I do not care.

Clean dishes. I will want a glass of water. If your tap water isn't drinkable straight out of the faucet, make sure your water filter is full before you leave the house. I don't mind drinking warm water, but lots of people do. A sponge that does not smell like ass so that when I wash out my used glass for you (I'm a thoughtful houseguest) my hands do not also smell like ass. A dish brush with bristles solves this problem because it dries quickly.

Clean. Just make sure everything is clean. No funky smells in your sink drains, no leaking celery in your fridge, no dirty socks stuffed under the bed.

Please use unscented detergents for your sheets and towels. I am allergic to scented products and will not have told you that unprompted on dates 1-3. Also don't use more detergent than is necessary for a load of laundry. If there is too much doesn't rinse out and it makes some of us itch.

Breakfast options. You might not eat breakfast, or you might grab something at the office. But I wake up and I am hungry. Especially after extracurricular activities. A box of granola bars, some frozen fruit in the freezer. Bagels and cream cheese. Something.

A blanket on your couch. Good for snuggling. This is also good if I wake up cold in the middle of the night, I know where I can find another blanket without spelunking in your closet.

And I know this is obvious, but check your condoms for expiration date. Also maybe try to have an assortment that includes some without spermicide. I am allergic to that too. (I know, I am suuuuuper fun to date!)

Also, I have an iPhone 4s, which I realize is a pain for chargers, but if you had a charger for that I'd be impressed. You can just pull it out of the junk drawer and be like "I knew I kept this for a reason." Because again, tiny purse. If I don't have a tampon, I definitely do not have a phone charger.

If you were dating me specifically, by three dates you'd have already been told that I like tea and hot chocolate. You'd have had some opportunities to find out if I'm sensitive to smells. You'd have a handle on kinds of foods I like to eat (and I'd have joked about eating all the things, all the time), and I'd probably have mentioned that I do not like to be cold. Now, whether you know these things about me or not is the kind of thing I'm looking for.

You're on your own with the tampon thing though. Sounds like a coin toss in this room.
posted by bilabial at 8:44 AM on April 29, 2015 [10 favorites]

You're not alone on the tampon thing! You can blame us if someone gives you grief about it. Feel free to give them my username. They can tweet me anytime!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:52 AM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

+1 to a travel-sized box of multipurpose contact solution (you don't have to get it online - it will be available in the eye care or travel section of your drugstore.) Keep it in the box and under your sink or in the medicine cabinet. If you wear contacts it is REALLY nice to take them out at night. In my early twenties, I could sleep in my contacts, but they get far too dry now.
posted by barnone at 8:52 AM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

I guess it's like bathroom reading material: you can choose to stock tampons or not stock tampons in order to select for the women you want to date. If you want to attract the kind of woman who would be grateful to you for stocking your house with tampons when she needed a tampon at four in the morning, stock tampons. If you want to attract the kind of woman who'd be so weirded out seeing tampons in a man's house that she'd rather bleed on your sheets and ghost before you wake up--or abort the mission and do the walk of shame hours earlier than planned so as to avoid bleeding on your sheets--then skip the tampons. (Actually you're probably weeding out either people who bleed like hogs or people who barely bleed and therefore don't really need a tampon even when they need a tampon. Those of us who bleed like hogs are fun as hell, though, so I'd think hard about this decision if I were you.) My friend who keeps the box of mixed sizes (and all the disposable razors you could ever want, and blankets, and ALWAYS the fixings for hot chocolate and Turkish coffee and every kind of tea) has been my friend for ten+ years and I will always love him because the tampon thing is only one tiny beautiful little chip in the huge kaleidoscope of ways he is sweet and smart and thoughtful and resourceful.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:56 AM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Not a woman, but haven't seen anyone mention this yet-- Hand sanitizer. And liquid hand soap as well please, using other people's bar soap is not the most fun thing in the world.
posted by cosmicbeast at 8:58 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

FWIW if we're having a referendum on the tampon thing, then add me to the "What a thoughtful and mature man who clearly does not spontaneously combust buying PERIOD STUFF" camp. If I was stuck and you had some on hand I'd just be grateful and I wouldn't really care why you had them.
posted by billiebee at 8:59 AM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

There are some great suggestions in here! One I'd add: a clearly visible place where you store the extra toilet paper. It's a common problem that someone will run out and then have to hunt through your stuff to find the spare rolls. We keep one of these (very inexpensive) toilet-side holders for a few spare rolls to stay in easy view of anyone panicking about where to find more.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 9:08 AM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

If it's unplanned, it would be nice to have something you could offer her to wear (one of your old shrunken t-shirts and some boxers, perhaps). Nthing clean towels, a comb/hairbrush (no one I've ever dated has ever seemed to own a comb, regardless of the abundance of their hair), liquid soap in the shower rather than bar soap, shampoo (hotel samples are nice to offer). On the subject of tampons, when I needed something during a surprise period at a new boyfriend's place and he told me to check under the sink, I was a little surprised--I definitely wouldn't have expected anything, and I did sort of wonder why he might have had it at all.
posted by three_red_balloons at 9:20 AM on April 29, 2015

It's important not to make your date feel that she's just one among many. This is a separate issue from whether you're a ginormous slut ;-)

Have one toothbrush in its original packaging in an accessible location. Then you can say "there's a spare toothbrush in the drawer on the right". Keep the rest of your inventory of toothbrushes out of sight. Also, make sure there's floss in plain sight.

A tube of sensitive toothpaste is good to have around. People with callous-unemotional teeth can use any kind of toothpaste, whereas the reverse is not true. Actually, for the same reason, try to make sure your spare toothbrushes have soft bristles.

Contact lens solution, but make sure you have each kind because different kinds of lenses have incompatible solutions. The little travel packs will be fine; ideal really.

A large bottle of Cetaphil for cleanser. This can even be used as shampoo if need be.

Also, plain conditioner, and some unscented SPRAY deodorant. (nobody wants to use someone else's roll-on)

A pack of disposable razors, yes.

In general, keep your sinks clean and your hand towels fresh. Put out spare towels for your guest, and make sure you change your own towels two or three times weekly. Nthing make sure there's enough loo paper. Make sure your loo is always scrupulously clean.

In general, overhaul your household hygiene so that anybody could come by for a visit and not go "ew, gross" - it's just easier to live like that if you expect to have people coming over with any kind of frequency. (Pro tip - change your dishcloths and dishtowels every day; have one cloth for dishes and one for surfaces; vacuum or sweep your kitchen floor every day; promptly unload and reload the dishwasher to avoid log jam; wipe down the surfaces in your kitchen as you go along. Air your bed every morning and change the bedlinen once a week, or twice a week in hot weather. It's amazing how little time these actions take and how far they go to prevent chaos.)

Change your bedlinen beforehand.

Nthing a rubbish bin with a lid in the bathroom, and a wastebasket on each side of the bed.

A pitcher of ice water - with a lid - and a glass is a nice thing to put on a guest's nightstand. A vase of fresh flowers is good too. Don't mix the two.
posted by tel3path at 9:28 AM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Geek ladies (and geek gentlemen) have needs!

You've all seen the diagram of Maslow's heirarchy of needs with "Internet connectivity" as the very bottom tier, right?

Have decent broadband, and be ready to dispense the WiFi password (which hopefully isn't so long and filled with weird characters as to be impossible to type on a small touch-screen device after a few drinks). Advanced class: set up a guest network with unfettered Internet access but no access to your internal stuff.

An Ethernet drop would demonstrate that you are a gentleman of discerning tastes who appreciates the importance of latency on Raid Night.

An accessible and unoccupied power outlet, and perhaps a USB charger (with a selection of mini-, micro- and Lightning cables) would be an elegant touch.

Also seconding the "plunger, easy to find" suggestion. "I just dropped a deuce so righteous it overwhelmed your plumbing" is not a conversation one wants to be forced to have during the first impressions portion of a relationship.
posted by sourcequench at 9:31 AM on April 29, 2015 [7 favorites]

I'm out of town and have extra space and I like having dinner parties, so I have a lot of overnight guests.

I sign up for every free sample offer of everything, and dump the samples in a box in the bathroom. The box has many different kinds of soaps, shampoos, body washes, lotions, face washes, face cream, razors, toothpastes, tampons and pads, plus a big thing of cheapie toothbrushes. People are invited to paw through the box for whatever they might prefer.

You can then easily claim to "just happen to get a lot of sample sizes in the mail" and it won't come off as too planned. (But I am not a player, so I am open about hoarding for guests.) The biggest pack of the cheapest kind of toothbrushes in the dollar stores is always just right; they're crap and would be lousy for everyday use, but they are just right to use a couple of times and toss and relieve your visitor of having to fret over turning a $5 brush into garbage, or taking home a wet toothbrush.
posted by kmennie at 9:34 AM on April 29, 2015 [10 favorites]

I was just happy when the bathroom floor wasn't sticky.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:42 AM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Actually yes. Have a guest wifi available.
posted by tel3path at 9:49 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm also in the Buying Tampons = Mature Dude Who Groks Women camp. If you're the kind of guy who doesn't take to their bed with the vapors just because I'm bleeding, you're well on your way to being a keeper. Every man who's been a grownup about periods has also taken care of me when I'm ill, vomiting, have cut myself badly, etc.; the ones who act like I have cooties get filed under Do Not See Again.

Nthing the trash can with a secure lid in the bathroom. Having someone's pet grab whatever I just put into the trash and run around the house with it — while something to definitely laugh about later — is humiliating in the moment.

Have a spare blanket or two on hand; and also set your thermostat a bit higher than you usually keep it. Once I was over at a dude's place, and even though I really dug him, and badly wanted to get naked, it was arctic. My teeth were chattering while I was dressed. (He'd aired his place out and forgot to shut the windows before I came over. In December.)

Get the nice thick toilet paper, not the wispy thin stuff that disintegrates. If you do nothing else, do that.

I solve this problem for the dudes I see by being lucky enough to have a spare bathroom. I stick all the random sample sizes, trial sizes, extra razors, toothbrushes, extra toilet paper, etc. in there, because it's my overflow storage. So far every dude who's ventured in there has correctly read it as 'extra crap.'
posted by culfinglin at 9:55 AM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm a delicate snowflake with sensitive skin, so some kind of simple unscented soap (Dove or Ivory, I'm partial to Dove's unscented body wash), unscented lotion, hair brush, and clean towels and washcloths. Also shampoo and conditioner, in a gender neutral, not too overly frilly scent, like "ocean breeze" or "tropical rain forest". Extra pillows and a throw for making myself comfortable would be aces, too.

My fiance buys Costco toothbrushes, a big pack of like ten at a time, so to me, it definitely wouldn't seem weird to see a giant pack of toothbrushes or also, a ton of toilet paper in the house. I'd find it kind of practical, actually. But I'm a big proponent of buying in bulk for stuff you use all the time if you've got the space.

I actually hate tampons with the fire of a thousand suns and use pads when I need to, and I'd find it super odd if you had any of either around. I'd love it if you'd have some new hair elastics handy for my massive gobs of hair, but unless your hair was long-ish yourself, I'd really not expect you to have any handy, and might find it weird if you did.
posted by PearlRose at 10:03 AM on April 29, 2015

Team No Tampons. Creepy and weird for men to keep them on hand, IMHO. I don't get the lidded trash can, though -- who do you think you're hiding anything from? That guy will have to eventually empty the trash can, right? You should have no expectation of privacy in a trash can that you are not maintaining, so the lid seems superfluous.

Anyway, yes, clean. I find a whiff of bleach in the bathroom comforting. Also, the ne plus ultra of extra toothbrushes is a freebie from your dentist with his/her name stamped on it. Then you are not just a considerate host, but one clearly on top of your dental hygiene.

On review I see that pets are the reason you want a lidded can. Ok, I get that. But no pet? don't bother.
posted by apparently at 10:07 AM on April 29, 2015

Team No Tampons here too - even if you pass it off as "they were left over by my last girlfriend", that would make me suspect one of the following scenarios:

a) This was a REALLY recent ex, which means "issues ahoy",
b) It was an ex of some time ago, but the guy doesn't clean his medicine cabinet out very often,
c) It was an ex of some time ago, but the guy has been keeping them as some kind of weird sentimental reminder and I'M SORRY BUT THAT'S JUST WEIRD.

Passing them off as "I got them just in case I had female guests" feels sort of like a close cousin to the xkcd "wearing a condom when I teach" analogy, as well. Maybe the only scenario I'd accept would be "my sister used to live here for a while" or something, but since we're talking about something I'm sort of generally accepting the average guy won't have on hand anyway, it may be easier to just not have them and that way you won't have to fuss over the cover story.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:19 AM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Maybe it's just because my circle of friends is really big on boy-girl roommate situations, but I'm really surprised to see so many people who'd be sketched out and looking for skeevy motives about the tampons thing! If I were at a gentleman caller's home and found myself in need of a tampon*, and he was like, "oh, there might be some under the sink," the literal single thing that would go through my mind would be THANKFUCK.

*This would never happen because I carry a giant purse at all times that is stocked like a goddamn post-apocalyptic Go Bag. But the reason I do this is because I was once trapped at a dude friend's cabin with three guys and their ancient grandma (so no nearby drugstore or fortuitous borrowing) for FOUR DAYS with no tampons or pads. I would have accepted literally any "cover story" in the world for the chance to not live *that* particular agonizing nightmare.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:41 AM on April 29, 2015 [7 favorites]

No tampons for me, that would definitely feel like someone else has been around recently / is expected.

+1 to Dove soap (it's the best), toilet paper, conditioner, spare toothbrush, clean towels. Contact lens solution and case would be GREAT. (For me, that would be the one thing that would make the difference between a slightly torturous night/morning and 100% good times, all else being equal.)

Yes to the trash can with lid (apparently - there are ways of being discreet about what you put in there. I doubt anyone's going digging for things under wraps. Other than our shameless animal friends).

As far as generally making things comfortable, just try to notice the little things when you're cleaning. Grimy stuff around the sink is gross (watch your shaving residue).

Oh - inviting, non-harsh lighting makes places feel warm and welcoming. Get a lot of lamps, and avoid overhead lighting. Spend on the nice bulbs.
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:47 AM on April 29, 2015

Tampons: super weird to me (albeit useful).
Hair elastics: same (super useful but I'd be weirded out).
Lotion: very nice.
Hand cream: very nice.
Conditioner: vital.
Spare toothbrush: very nice.
Box of Kleenex: nice, but not in the bedroom, too obvious.
Fresh fruit in the kitchen/fridge: very nice (if she's on a diet she's likely to be able to eat that at least).
posted by Dragonness at 10:54 AM on April 29, 2015

This is a pretty interesting topic for me if only because I have a lot of gay male friends and this whole question has made me confront the ways in which I don't actually feel that all that welcome in some of their spare bedrooms for a lot of the reasons that have been enumerated above.

I've literally suggested curtains for a spare bedroom in a condo that was specifically purchased as a potential vacation rental and been rebuffed. And now - I kind of don't want to stay there despite the entreaties to visit. Curtains aren't that hard! The conditioner thing too has been breached with friends and the idea of retaining a spare bottle for overnight guests with longer hair was also treated with scorn.

So yeah - curtains and hair care are my main concern. I also vote no tampons. I've got a preferred brand anyhow - I wouldn't want to use anything else.
posted by rdnnyc at 10:54 AM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Oh, actually, a really nice touch would be a decent facial cleanser and sunscreen. There's so, so much variance in what people can use/tolerate, but I think you'd be ok with something derm-approved. It'd be better than having to use soap. Personally, I like CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser and this sunscreen.

(People may or may not go for the sunscreen; their makeup, if they wear it, might be enough, or they may have issues with the SS you choose, but going without bothers me and some very sensitive people really can't go out without it.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:59 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Tampons are super-useful as an epistaxis remedy, guys. They have a pretty long shelf life. Keep some around even if you're a male not expecting female company. (Else, there's your perfect excuse.)
posted by sourcequench at 11:05 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

A lot of these things (tampons, conditioner) would be really nice if you're already dating someone. But any guy who had tampons, conditioner and other lady specific things lying around just in case would gross me the fuck out. I do not want to feel like one of many, and I am an adult and I can plan my own showers/bring tampons if I need them.

I have a toothbrush and bunch pads/tampons at boyfriends place, but he's my boyfriend and I know that I'm the only one using the lady stuff at his place.

But have nice sheets, two decent pillows, face wash - just keep your damn bathroom clean, dudes.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 11:26 AM on April 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

i don't think many women would stay the night if they're on their period, so not sure why you'd need tampons... if she starts her period the next day, you can be the awesome gentleman who runs to the store to get her some.
posted by monologish at 11:29 AM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Maybe my standards will go up as I get older?? All I require is:

Condoms without spermicide or ribbing (bonus points for having a couple single use packets of lube around).

A bath towel that is not musty and gross (bonus for actually it's clean).

Coffee in the morning (bonus for ingredients to make homemade bacon and egg sandwiches).

The keeper went out on his bike while I took a shower to buy freshly-baked rolls for said sandwiches, and included an heirloom tomato and basil from his garden.
posted by amaire at 11:31 AM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

If you're concerned about avoiding the try-hard aspect of having extra toothbrushes and such, go with the travel-extras motif. We keep our spare bathroom stocked with a basket in which we throw all the freebies we get from travel (and the extras that we end up not using), so it's full of small bottles of shampoo and conditioner, soap, travel toothbrushes, tiny packs of tissues, small bottles of mouthwash, etc. Plus a few odd-to-us toiletries we swiped from hotels while in Japan.
posted by telophase at 11:36 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I am thinking about this extensively now and finding that really, the "keeper" alarms go off when I walk into a guy's place and think, aha, this person actually gives a damn about his space and (by extension) life. You would be astonished at how many men do not even remotely convey this attitude through their homes.

And really, super-specific lady stuff (or super-specific individual, coffee-vs-tea tastes) aside, just living your life and keeping your home like you give a damn should take care of 99% of your overnighter concerns. I mean yes, have clean decent towels for her, but you should obviously have those because why would you not have clean decent towels for yourself?!? The same with having a reasonably full, non-disgusting hand soap available, or an extra toothbrush (I mean, what if you drop yours in the toilet one hungover morning?) Just stock your home like it's a comfortable, well-equipped place for a human to live and it will be a perfectly cromulent place for a lady to spend a night.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:47 AM on April 29, 2015 [12 favorites]

Liquid hand soap in a pump bottle. I hate when I am a guest at anyone's home and all they have is bar soap. Ew.

For the shower, a travel-sized unopened Dove soap bar. (Check Target's trial-size/travel aisle.) Other bar soaps always leave my screen feeling rubbery and weird. Dove gives you the softest skin, which you will both appreciate.

Having tampons and pads on hand, especially the first time a woman stays at your place, is going to look sketchy as hell, like your place is a revolving door of women. Do not do that. She is a grown-ass woman who will have emergency period supplies with her.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:50 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I went once to a bachelor pad and he had milk in the fridge, a box of cereal in the cabinet and no other food in the house. He was a hobbyist photographer and there was film and batteries in his fridge, but not food (other than the milk for his morning cereal). He apparently never ate at home, other than cereal for breakfast. So I think he also barely had any kitchen stuff beyond bowls and spoons. I was horrified. (No, I was not hooking up with him. He was the boyfriend of someone I knew and we were all dropping by his place together for some reason.)

I would want the place impeccably clean and I would want there to be food and drinks in the place (and like dishes and stuff). If you expect me to engage in vigorous physical activity with you and you cannot supply refreshments, the odds are poor you will see me again. Also, since I have special dietary needs and I don't expect you to have serious amounts of stuff I can eat, if there is nothing in your apartment that works for me in that regard, be quick to go "Oh, well, I just happen to have the number of a couple of my favorite food delivery places on the fridge. Can I call (pizza place) or (other delivery place) for you? They can be here in like 30 minutes."

This holds true even if you just took me out to dinner and wined and dined me before bringing me home for a romp. No food in the place means even if I chose to have sex with you for some reason, I will not stay the night. I will not sleep over if it means starving. Not happening.

Also, supply the condoms. I had the worst experiences with that when I was divorcing. Short version: Men who don't supply the condoms are men I do not see again. I would rather find evidence that you get around but do so responsibly (ie you always have condoms on hand) than to find evidence you get around but aren't careful in that regard. Having an active sex life isn't something I will be judgey about. But being some irresponsible jerk who doesn't make any effort to protect the health of your ladies and doesn't take any responsibility for birth control is a deal breaker. (In other words, if there are other indicators you get around and there are no condoms, I am gone.)

I agree you should have a secured bathroom trash can and adequate amounts of good quality toilet paper and some of those types of basics (and curtains for privacy is something I would think is basic and I would not know you had changed the décor for dating purposes if you had to add them -- same goes for proper trash can and the like). But I wouldn't really expect a lot of the amenities that other people have listed (like conditioner and things like that).

I would tend to read it as Player if you had all these soaps and whatever for guests if the only guests you ever have are actually dates. If I found out later that you lied to me and made up stories about your sister (or whomever) leaving stuff at your apartment, that would significantly undermine my trust in you and be a ding against you. However, I like the suggestion of having a bowl of sample sizes of stuff that "just happened to get mailed to you". If you do any traveling, you can also just keep partially used hotel shampoos and conditioners and the like and that wouldn't look weird to me at all and then there would be a variety of stuff to conveniently choose from.

If you do choose to keep tampons and the like, if I gave you a funny look or whatever about it, I would be okay with hearing something to the effect that "I belong to some forum and there was a discussion there that convinced me it would be the civilized, gentlemanly thing to do." It would not go over so well with me if you framed it as "I was asking what I should keep on hand for dates...."
posted by Michele in California at 11:55 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also, the unopened Dove soap bar can just be in a drawer. When she asks to use the shower or you offer, you can put the soap out with a couple towels. It's not like you need to leave it out displayed like you were expecting a woman to spend the night or like your place is a hotel. Just have it on hand. I never have overnight guests (sigh) but I always have unopened Dove soap on hand.

I think making your place clean and inviting is nice, but don't make it look set up like you are expecting women to sleep over. Just have the toiletries ready to provide if needed.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:59 AM on April 29, 2015

Welp I'm a lady and I hate toilet paper that is so soft it feels like a Kleenex, so maybe don't change the kind of TP you would normally use on the off chance you date someone who prefers expensive TP? YMMV I guess though.
posted by likeatoaster at 12:08 PM on April 29, 2015 [5 favorites]

It looks like people are imagining different scenarios. The question seems to be about prep for the unplanned spur-of-the-moment hookup scenario--where the woman wasn't thinking she'd be spending the night out and thus doesn't have a kit packed. What's everything she might find convenient if it were there? Something to sleep in, toothbrush, etc.

None of this stuff is required, of course! Room in the bed, water, and a place to pee are all that's required. (Okay, coffee is also required.) All the other stuff is just stuff that would be nice to find and would make a guest more comfortable. At least one person thought the contact lens kit idea was a good one, even though the querent doesn't wear contact lenses. Nobody said they'd be creeped out by that. So why the outcreepedness at the idea he might stock tampons and pads for women friends who might need them? I don't use tampons or pads but I keep a box of each in my house in case somebody needs one! Why shouldn't my male friends do that, too, if it occurs to them?

No! Of course nobody'd spend the night with a new man if they were on their period! For heaven's sake! But nobody'd go spend four days in their friend's cabin with no supplies if they realized their stupid period was about to start unexpectedly, either. Horrible, bloody accidents happen. I can't understand everyone telling this guy not to do a decent thing that could help somebody out. The only thing I can think is that everybody saying that must be unable to empathize because they have never themselves suffered the hideous results of sudden, unexpected onset and nothing around to staunch the flow. Well. I do not wish it on you. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. But you should learn to empathize.

Every person in the world who sometimes hosts women guests should have these things. And every man in the world should sometimes host women guests because every man in the world should have women as friends. And nobody should be so creeped out by the whole notion that women under fifty plus or minus bleed every month plus or minus that they can't get their heads around why this would be a good general state of affairs.
posted by Don Pepino at 12:09 PM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

At least one person thought the contact lens kit idea was a good one, even though the querent doesn't wear contact lenses. Nobody said they'd be creeped out by that. So why the outcreepedness at the idea he might stock tampons and pads for women friends who might need them?

Speaking as a woman - it's a hell of a lot easier to pretend to yourself that "oh, this must have been HIS contact lens solution that he is being gallant about and sharing" than it is to pretend to yourself that "oh, this must be HIS box of tampons that he is being gallant about and sharing". There's kind of a weird difference between "I keep my house prepared for guests overall" and "I keep my house prepared for lady guests hubba hubba".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:14 PM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

That is keeping your house prepared for guests overall. Women are part of guests overall. It's not necessarily hubbahubba supplies: that is what I am trying to say. Not all the women who come to the ideal man's house are hubbahubba women. The ideal man has lots of women friends and he doesn't think their periods are "a weird difference." But again: tampons, pads, special wrapped toothbrush--it's all icing and certainly not required. And I prefer Scott toilet paper, the kind that comes in a gigantic bale and is supercheap.
posted by Don Pepino at 12:21 PM on April 29, 2015 [9 favorites]

Contact stuff: "My (gender-irrelevant) cousin was over last month and forgot it".

Tampons: already explained numerous times.
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:28 PM on April 29, 2015

Not all the women who come to the ideal man's house are hubbahubba women. The ideal man has lots of women friends and he doesn't think their periods are "a weird difference."

Again - for the benefit of the OP - this is a somewhat individual opinion, and there are women who I am sure would disagree with me on this point.

But for me, while I acknowledge that men would have platonic female guests, I would still think it strange - as a platonic female guest - for a man to have tampons on hand strictly for the potential use of guests. It falls into a weird medically-intimate area, kind of a like a prescription medication; there are hygiene and medical supplies that you would plausibly expect everyone to have and so you know that they're sharing from their own stash (Kleenex, band-aids, aspirin, etc.), and then there are hygiene and medical supplies that only people who have certain medical/hygienic conditions would have (Prilosec, Flonase, Prozac, Viagara, etc.), so if they offer you one but they don't have the condition themselves, it kind of feels like a weird sort of over-prepared thing. And for me, a guy keeping tampons on hand expressly for guests' use feels like it falls into that over-prepared area.

Which is why when I said that with contact solution, you could more easily pretend that this was something like a guy sharing his bandaids from his own stash, but with tampons, you....couldn't.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:31 PM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Adding: I like to be prepared for my guests too, but not once have I thought to have spare tampons on hand just for guests because 99.9% of the time a woman packs her own anyway. I'll gladly spare one of my own if they're caught short, but it's not like I've gone out of my way to have "guest tampons" or anything. And I'm a woman.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:34 PM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yes, I'm a woman, too, I named myself after my pencil cup, which is a spaghetti sauce can of the brand Don Pepino, which has an amusing logo of a chef, presumably the Don in Q. The name gets me into stupid misunderstandings occasionally. My male friend who keeps tampons and pads has been my platonic friend for more than a decade and never once in all that time did it occur to me to think he was strange or creepy for keeping tampax and pads in his guest bathroom. I thought it was sweet. It is sweet. He doesn't think of menstruation as a medical condition because it's not one, it's just something half the population does every month and is sometimes inconvenient and if you're friends with some of the people who do it, it's practical to have some supplies on hand in case of emergency. I don't use disposables anymore but I'll always keep some on hand because of the summer I was 13 and staying with my grandmother and had to send her to the drug store for me and was utterly mortified. It would have been nice had she kept some around for me, but she didn't think of it. I's just decent and kind to have them for people in case they forgot.
posted by Don Pepino at 12:47 PM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

The tampon issue is interesting to me. I would be weirded out by seeing or knowing a guy had tampons for his one night stands, but I am also the kind who would never tell a one night stand that my period had started and would rather deal with going home right then than asking if he had a tampon. To each their own, neither is right or wrong, but I think it does boil down to personality types. For me, tampons would be a red flag, like too many spare toothbrushes. To others, it's not something to worry about.

So, for me and others exactly like me, I would say no to hairdryers or shampoos or conditioners that are obviously not yours that you use daily. I would only want or ask for a toothbrush and a spare pillow. And a clean spare razor if I decide to stay a second night has come in handy.
posted by umwhat at 1:01 PM on April 29, 2015

Scentless soap, Scentless shampoo, Scentless deodorant, spare towels of various sizes (whole set) spare bedsheets, including pillow cases.

Scentless kind makes for discretion, as you can explain it as sensitive skin or whatever, plus it won't make your guest smell different or get allergies.

I'd avoid fem hygiene products altogether. Each girl has their favorite and you can always run for 24 hour pharmacy if needed.
posted by kschang at 1:48 PM on April 29, 2015

Mod note: Folks, this needs to not be a debate space.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:48 PM on April 29, 2015

If you've ever seen something in a guy's home and thought "this guy's a keeper," please share!

This is way off toiletries but my husband had about ten books on marriage and relationships on his book shelf, instead of, say, The Player's Guide to Bagging Hot Women. Those relationship books really made an impression. I had never had someone be studious about being a good mate. Heh, I think I'll go give him an appreciation kiss now :)
posted by Grlnxtdr at 2:23 PM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Please please please put a (small) trash can in your bathroom. Lined & lid is great, but even a small cheap unlined unlidded one is acceptable - anything can be wrapped up in toilet paper before being put in the trash. In case it's not clear from the other comments, the main reason is so that people can throw away used pads/tampons (some people flush tampons, some don't). It's super awkward to come out of the bathroom holding something and ask where the trash is.

I also nth having at least one extra roll of toilet paper somewhere visible, or at the least under the bathroom sink (always the first place I check!).
posted by insectosaurus at 2:27 PM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Thinking of all the times I have unexpectedly or semi-unexpectedly ended up sleeping over at someone's place, for sex or not, I say absolutely YES on:

*Spare toilet paper in a visible or otherwise obvious location
*Lined trashcan in the bathroom
*Extra clean towels, preferably two--I and many others really like 1 to dry hair and 1 to dry body
*Shampoo, conditioner, and bodywash that isn't MAN-scented (or, really, overly scented at all)
*Spare toothbrushes

And if your place tends to be cold, or you tend to keep the temperature very low, consider cranking it up a few degrees before you bring someone home, or keeping some blankets around.

This is all less about making your partner think, "He's a keeper!" and more about making sure your guest feels as little awkwardness and discomfort as possible. Although knowing that my date's place isn't going to be fraught with minor awkward inconveniences and discomforts certainly helps toward making me want to come back for further overnight dates. :)

I'm assuming condoms are a given, but you might want to keep some non-latex ones on hand if those aren't your regular ones. Most people allergic to latex tend to carry their own anyway, but maybe they forgot, or you need more than they brought, or there's some other reason you'll both be happy that you had some.

And if you don't already have some decent (unscented, unflavored) lube, get some. It can be a little disappointing to get hot and heavy, need or want some lube, and not have any.
posted by rhiannonstone at 3:34 PM on April 29, 2015

In the matter of tampons/no tampons...

If you have such supplies tucked away in a cupboard with a post-it note labelled "please help yourself" that suggests (to me) you are being considerate to any female guests you may have. Perhaps you have female friends or relatives, as is customary among humans.

But a majority of people seem to have said it would squick them out, so I guess if you don't want to squick out the majority of people, don't do it.
posted by tel3path at 3:46 PM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

You know, you could just have a dedicated cupboard for guest stuff, even labelled as such.

You could do the thing of collecting sample sizes and travel sizes and having a cornucopia of them in there. Including travel-size contact lens solution. And extra cases - the optician will usually give you cases for free.

That way, you can provide for all your guests of every demographic, without coming across as Creepy McWeirdly-Intrusive or Slutty McPlayerpants. You just will seem like a good host who thinks ahead.
posted by tel3path at 3:52 PM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

No matter what, you do not want to vibe creeper, stalker or player, so you live like a decent human being that gives a damn about your space. Here are things, from direct experience, that were vagina closers:
  • dirty linens
  • no linens
  • age indeterminate soft goods e.g., pillows, blankets (what color is this, even?!)
  • dirt and squalor
  • refrigerator or freezer populated by the strange e.g., cow reproductive organs or deceased pet
  • decrepit birth control products with a suggested solution of rubber bands, instead
  • porn-a-lanche when I am searching for toilet paper (sweet baby jeebus, I am so going to judge you on your AWFUL taste in porn)
  • too many female specific products e.g., the man is brunette but he also has shampoo designed for blonde, dyed hair; douching products; feminine aerosols or wait for it, a variety set of menstruation products for various sizes.
I want sexy times with no misgivings about hygiene, health or honor. You expect people to be on their "A" game when seducing and being seduced.

Fortunately, I have been with people who have gallantly worked around not having items immediately on hand. No food? Get breakfast or take them out to breakfast. Bath products? Shopping, shopping, shopping. Every lack is an opportunity that can be leveraged to make you look good.

Now as a good hostess, I make sure that people are taken care of in an unobtrusive manner. So I have baskets in each bathroom that are filled with travel sized variety and samples of various products. Heck, places like L'Occitane shove a lot of freebies at you and let us not forget hotels the sheer wealth of those products are not to be scoffed upon, including toothbrushes, combs, floss, odds and ends to rebuild civilization, if you are MacGyver or Tony Stark.

A decent bathroom will have soap, lotion, paper cups and a fingernail brush placed in an appropriate dispenser or container. Do not forget a well stocked first aid kit. If you do not want people to meddle in your medicine cabinet then have traveler packs of pain meds in visible site and in that well appointed first aid kit. Assume that someone may open drawers if they cannot find something immediately, so plan accordingly.

I do not expect a spa, but I do expect a baseline of self respect for your space and by extension, my experience of your space. Welcome the sexy times, don't scare away the sexy times.
posted by jadepearl at 6:00 PM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh man, if I visited a man's home and he had any book by John and/or Julie Gottman on the shelf I'd be swooning unless he referred to it and said they are crazy people. I'd appreciate seeing a copy of the Five Love Languages. Big points for Arlie Hochschild's works.

Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus would maybe get a side eye and I'd keep my ears extra perked for gender essentialism, but hey, that books is an effort at least. Anything related to MRA or pickup lines and I would just turn around and go.

I don't care about fiction tastes, and Kindle is a game changer on the whole books thing anyway. Maybe some magazines. If you have previously mentioned a hobby, I'd be weirded out if there was No Evidence of that in your home. Say for instance, you've mentioned that you play bass, but there are no instruments, no musical anything? Maybe you put it away in a closet every time you practice? But I'd be wondering. Same with cooking. IF you say you cook, and all I can find is a rusty fork, my trust bells are going to start ringing. Loudly.
posted by bilabial at 6:13 PM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nthing the requests for a plunger and extra tp (ideally, better than discount sandpaper 1-ply) readily visible.

I'd also love it if there was a pack (or nicked from a hotel travel kit) of spare emery boards! Apparently too many guys I know just gnaw on their fingernails to trim them and it would drive me crazy if I got a snag when staying over...
posted by TwoStride at 6:30 PM on April 29, 2015

Cotton swabs.
posted by brujita at 6:33 PM on April 29, 2015

I was in college before I realized that not everyone considered a full set of towels to mean: one washcloth, one hand towel, one bath towel (to be used as a "hair" towel, turban style) and a bath sheet (a towel that's about the size of a beach towel). The first time I stayed in a hotel, I was shocked to find that grownups were expected to dry their bodies (and cloak themselves) in "hair towels." So, have a nice, clean, fabric-softener de-static-ified, pile of of a full set of towels to give any guest (girl, mom, cousin, co-worker stuck in a blizzard, whatever). If they are ripped or stained, donate them to an animal shelter and start fresh!

Re: tampons, having things you don't use means you're thoughtful. I don't drink coffee, but I keep a tiny coffee maker and a tin of coffee for when my mom visits every year or two. Keeping a small box/basket of tampons/pads in the guest bathroom (if you have one) says, "I care about my guests." I'd assume any man who had that stuff had female friends, not that he was a player (or creepy). Keep a mini sewing kit, maybe a little canister of cotton balls and Q-tips, bandaids, toothbrush and mini-toothpaste, generic (non-gendered) and low-scent shampoo/conditioner. If you're afraid it will seem like a former girlfriend left the shampoo/conditioner behind, then yeah, hotel size items work fine, but they aren't usually as nice as what we'd use for ourselves, so be nice if a woman's hair doesn't look as nice the next day.

Have actual boxes of tissues; not everyone is cool with wiping their eyes or sneezing into toilet paper, and yes, buy the decent toilet paper, if you aren't already. Dental floss. A small box of those mini Dixie bathroom cups so that if you have mouthwash, the person feels safe pouring a bit into a cup.

A visible mini-pharmacy: aspirin, Tylenol, antacid, stuff for more serious tummy upset…so she doesn't need to ask you for it.

If you have a landline (what? some people still do. I do!), put the phone number on the phone so that in case of an emergency, the person knows where they are. Maybe have a little card on the fridge with the phone number, address, Wi-Fi code and other essential info (like THIS is the light switch, THAT is the garbage disposal switch) so that if your guest wakes up early and wanders around, she isn't afraid to touch things and isn't discombobulated. If there's anything broken or dangerous, put that on the note too, so she doesn't disappear forever because she thinks she broke your long-since-broken microwave.

If you have a pet, be sure to mention it; if you're arriving home late at night, maybe have a picture of the cat labeled with its name, also on the fridge. (After a blizzard and power outage, I once took a shower at a friend's who still had electricity, and she didn't warn me. I opened the shower curtain after putting my hair up in a towel and a huge cat jumped off a high bathroom cabinet and I almost broke every bone in my body -- and did pull down the shower curtain right off the rod -- in panic.)
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 7:34 PM on April 29, 2015

Breakfast. I would bring anything else I needed with me in my bag, but inviting any guest over and not feeding them the next morning seems extremely rude to me.

Oh man, if I visited a man's home and he had any book by John and/or Julie Gottman on the shelf I'd be swooning unless he referred to it and said they are crazy people. I'd appreciate seeing a copy of the Five Love Languages. Big points for Arlie Hochschild's works.

This is where we learn that there is no such thing as a generic 'let's impress women' kit - I'm afraid to say that if I saw relationship self help books on a new guy's shelf, I'd be worried he's one of those people who is absolutely desperate to be in a relationship with someone, doesn't matter who. I'm not American, though, maybe we tend to be more embarrassed about our self-help reading here.
posted by mippy at 7:46 AM on April 30, 2015 [4 favorites]

Most important factor in "keeper" status is a guy who considers it normal behavior that he would keep his place reasonably clean as a matter of course. Doesn't need to be immaculate, just swept, surfaces wiped down, sheets washed regularly, minimum of old dirty dishes hanging around.

Household considerations for guests: trash can in bathroom, extra TP and plunger are findable, painkillers are findable, trash can in bedroom, bedside table of some sort on the other side of bed, a couple of clean towels.

As for drugstore items, a spare (wrapped) toothbrush is great, but I would find menstrual supplies a little odd, at the very least in a trying-too-hard way.

I would be totally fine using whatever soap and shampoo you use for yourself, and if you've got facial cleanser that you use sitting there in the shower, I'll be happy to borrow it. But I do not expect -- nor even want -- someone to stock a bunch of extra grooming products that they do not themselves use in anticipation of female guests' potential preferences in moisturizer or whatever. However, clearly, a lot of women feel differently about this. So...alerting guests to the presence of small bin of hotel toiletries in a cabinet or under a sink is a really nice, easy, non-awkward way to have some stuff on hand.
posted by desuetude at 8:26 AM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Regarding the tampons: put them in a cabinet (such as under the sink) where no one would have any business poking around unless they were desperately looking for them. This both provides a solution for people caught out without one (and there are few good alternatives when you’re in need…) and goes unnoticed by women who want to pretend you’re a virgin.
posted by metasarah at 10:56 AM on April 30, 2015

Am I the only woman who doesn't use tampons? I really don't care for them, but I also can't use them because of issues, so, I mean, had my boyfriend had a pack when I slept over, they'd have been wasted on me, and unnecessary. So I mean, there's that.

I also think it's kind of odd for a man to buy tampons for a woman he isn't involved with yet. If you meet someone, and your sleep overs become more frequent, and you know her habits-- go for it, it's a nice gesture. To buy them now before any women are actually on the horizon is a little... pre emptive. It would be like me buying mens boxers or something, just in case I had a male guest. I also feel it would be trying a little too hard, and may possibly be misconstrued, if this thread is any indication.

When I slept over my boyfriends, and I inevitably woke up to a period, I did what any self respecting woman does in that scenario: I made him run up to Walgreens and buy me feminine hygiene products (and my painkiller of choice). He listened to my 5 minute explanation as to what type he had to get, then went to get them without hesitation and it took him all of 10 minutes. That's partly how I knew he was keeper. He bought me the right kind, too. And some juice. And a heat blanky.*

As for the other stuff, nthing extra towels, hand towels, face washers, etc. An extra shower poof/loofah thing would be great. If it hasn't been mentioned already, keep tissues handy near the bed. I also feel a small pack of wet toilet wipes are good to have on hand, either in the bathroom or the bedside cabinet. You know, for spillage. Liquid hand soap is good too, because it's more hygenic than a soap bar. When I stayed over a male friends apartment, he had soap all right, but ... well, I didn't wanna touch it.

*In case anyone misses the tongue-in-cheek there-- I didn't actually 'make' him go get me those things, he offered.
posted by Dimes at 11:27 AM on April 30, 2015

pain killers and some cold medicine. an extra pair of warm socks. Put some books or records or dvds or artwork on shelves or something.

AND DON'T FORGET A VISIBLE PLUNGER. Once I woke up as a guest in an apartment while my host was at work and guess what I did that day? Correct! I walked 3 miles each way to a hardware store to buy a plunger and washed every towel the dude had because I needed them to mop up overflowing toilet water. I was then faced withthe second embarrasing dilemma of what to do with the plunger because if I left it in the bathroom then it would be obvious that I dropped a pipe clogging duece and got the plunger, so I found a utility closet and his it behind the water heater before ghosting. I did learn that Atlanta is a pretty city though.
posted by WeekendJen at 2:15 PM on April 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

1. Clean washcloths. If you get dark ones, they can used to take make up off and it won't scream, "I am trying too hard!" because lots of boys have dark colored towels.
2. Clean sheets. If you want to go all out, then NEW sheets, even.
3. Clean towels.
4. Clean home.
5. I like the metallic trashcan with a lid idea. Because it really is awkward to throw away tampons in a new boyfriend's home. Go out and buy one if needed because it won't be obvious like, "This new trashcan, just for you!"
6. Gender neutral body wash and gender neutral conditioner. I wouldn't go all Strawberry Breeze on this one.
7. Tissues, near bed.

Things that would weird me out a little or a lot:
- tampons (this seems either like it belonged to an ex-girlfriend or kind of oddly intrusive)
- chocolates on pillow
- personalized toe nail clippers with my initials monogrammed (or any other personal hygiene item for which I would have already took care of the hygiene task in advance of our date)
- contact solution (and I am a contact wearer. Unless you are also a contact wearer and/or live 20+ miles from Walgreens, they can fend for themselves. If I were coming to a love interest's house I would have considered in advance whether I wanted to had sex with them and planned accordingly w/r/t eye care. On the other hand, if you ARE a contact wearer, that's a good reason to have solution and a case and that would be considerate).

It's nice that you want to go all out. If that's your intention, seriously, clean your home up and down because it makes a great impression. And if you really want to go all out, buy some candles because it's romantic and kind of nice :-) That's what my current boyfriend did and it made me swoooooooooon. But in a nutshell, new/clean linens, new/clean towels, immaculately cleaned home.
posted by mermily at 4:27 PM on April 30, 2015

Clean, clean, pillow cases and soft sheets.

I'm on the side of "extra toothbrushes are not creepy" (just say your friends shop in cosco and you share? I know of 5 people who do that, and none of them are bulk-buying for visitors, just sharing for themselves).

Tampons would be magical and totally unexpected and ... would be surprising (and probably raise some questions?) but if I'm in the state of needing one, I woudn't care. So, overall a "yes, get a spare box" and use an excuse (any excuse).

+1 for conditioner, and clean towels. (and especially clean in context)

+1 for candles, swoon.

+1 for contact lens solution, although I think that's a date 2+ type of thing? Like, you'd "have it on hand" just in case for *me* rather than a generic - I'd be very, very, uncomfortable re-using someone else's contact lens case. Like, I probably wouldn't. If you wear contact occasionally it's great to have a travel sized solution+case that you can just give away - that would make a stay incredibly comfortable and not creepy.

+1 for plunger and extra TP, cause that's definitely in the "do not want to ask" zone.
posted by olya at 9:16 PM on May 1, 2015

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