There comes a time in every man's life where he has to stop behaving like a disgusting rat human. That moment is usually sometime after moving in with a significant other, because if we want them to continue having sex with us it helps that they know we're capable of running hot water over a dirty plate, rather than ignoring the pile of dishes in the sink and eating tuna off a frisbee.
I had a look around some of my bachelor friends' homes and took a few photos to document the squalor – or, in some cases, actually quite pleasant surroundings – they live in.
TAYLOR, 19, BENFLEET
VICE: How often do you clean your flat?
Taylor: Once a week, maybe.
Do guests seem to mind it when it's in a mess?
Some do. But not really. It's chill, really.
Do you let your mum visit?
What's the worst it's ever got?
I don't really know. I threw up on my bathroom floor and didn't really clean it. I was like, "Oh, I'm done with that."
That's pretty grim, yeah. What's your justification for when the flat is in a mess?
Normally, I'm not really here – I'm in and out and I just wing in here to get shit, then I'm out again. So I don't really clean up.
Cool, man. So I notice you collect bits and bobs. Do you want to tell me about some of them?
Yeah, it's just cool shit. I like the older generation of things. I like things to do with the war and stuff.
You showed me a bottle of toenail clippings and one of hair. What's the hair?
It was all out of my hairbrush. I was just peeling it all out, and then I put it in there.
Do you still put hair in there?
Sometimes but not always.
And what's the story with the toenails?
I would always cut them and leave them in a pile, then I got a jar, so I just put them in that.
Do you ever show girls the bottles?
What do they think?
Thank you, Taylor. Pleasure talking to you.
More photos of Taylor's flat:
IKE, 25, CHELMSFORD
How often do you clean your flat?
Ike: Once a week, if you're lucky. Probably more like once every couple of weeks.
How often do you change your sheets?
Once a week. That's one thing I do keep on top of.
What's your justification for the mess?
I don't give a shit, to be honest. It's my space. If I don't want to tidy, I won't.
What do you think of clean and tidy people?
It's their choice. They're entitled to have their place the way they like it.
But isn't it convenient having clean dishes and stuff, so you can eat? What's the longest you've left the washing up?
I've literally created extraterrestrial life in my kitchen when I haven't done the dishes in so long. They start talking to me.
Have you eaten off one of those plates again?
Well, yeah, it made me sick when I had to clean that off.
What do girls seem to think about your flat?
I don't really care; it's not their flat.
Fair enough. Thanks, Ike.
More photos of Ike's flat:
CHRIS, 25, DALSTON
VICE: How often do you let your mum see your flat?
Chris: I've lived in London for three years and she's never visited. I'm from up north, like Harrogate.
How often do you clean?
Once every three weeks, properly, with a scrub and everything. But every Sunday I get rid of beer cans and stuff.
How often do you change your bed sheets?
I just bought some new ones actually, from Ikea. But up until two weeks ago – and I've lived here for four or five months – I didn't have any bed sheets at all. I just had a cover and a leopard skin rug, and I just used to put it on a mattress.
And you've never washed that?
What's your justification for the mess?
Having a piece of shit for a housemate. I live with my good friend Charlie. Nicest guy, but the messiest bastard I've ever met. I normally huff and puff about the mess in my room, but I don't say anything.
How many days is it alright to wear a pair of boxers in a row?
One. If I've ran out, I just don't wear them. I've gone two or three months without wearing boxers.
So how often do you change your jeans if you're not wearing boxers? Because doesn't that kind of make your jeans your boxers?
No. Say if you go for a wee and you wiggle your willy to get the drips out – in boxers it would just sit there and it'd all fall out of the same place and your bockies would just smell. But if you're wearing no bockies at all then it'll just drip somewhere down your leg, therefore it's not coming into contact with the same surface area.
Fair enough. Do you think having a girlfriend would change how you guys are in the flat with cleanliness?
Yeah, probably. I guess when you start seeing somebody you want to impress them. The more relaxed you get...
Do you do that standard thing of tidying the flat as quick as possible if a girl's coming round?
Yeah, I jam pack my wardrobe full of everything and lose my favourite T-shirt or jeans for a month and don't know where they are. I shouldn't really say this, but I sometimes strategically place things, like things I think are cool or make me look like a nice guy or something. Like, I won't bother cleaning up, say, a present that someone at work gave me for Christmas because it'll be like, "What's that?" "A person got that for me at work." "Oh, what do you do?" and then I'd tell them. I probably sound like a dick now.
So you try to impress them with your job?
You're taking words out of my mouth and you've chewed them up and spat them out.
Too right. Cheers, man.
More photos of Chris' flat:
ROBERT, 26, WATERLOO
Hey Rob. Do you ever bicker with your flatmate about the mess?
Robert: No, not really. Only in jest. Like, we know that if someone's made a mess from partying then it's our responsibility to clean it up, and it usually won't stay messy for more than one day.
What's the grimmest state it's been in?
The dog had a shit in the house once and I had to clean it up. I guess that's not really grim, is it? Nothing really that grim has happened in the house. Just cleaning up normal mess.
You're quite tidy, so I guess nothing too bad is going to happen.
No. Partying, maybe. Booze, food on the floor. That's about it.
Here's the true test of cleanliness: how many days in a row is it OK to wear a pair of boxers?
My friend once told me it's OK to wear boxers four times – forwards, backwards, then inside-out forwards and backwards. But I only wear them once.
More photos of Rob's flat:
LEE, 35, IPSWICH
How often would you say you clean your flat?
Lee: Pretty much all the time. I'm quite OCD and I think it's embarrassing if it's dirty.
What do you think of messy people?
Lazy most of the time. I tend to find they're not really intelligent, either. I don't know why, it just seems to come hand-in-hand with it. Lazy people, lazy mind.
How many days is it OK to wear a pair of boxers?
I guess it depends what you're doing. I change mine every day, but I've been known to wear them three or four days in a row because sometimes you're in a position where you don't get a chance to change them.
How often do you eat off dirty plates?
Never? What's the grimmest thing you've done?
Probably left a cup or a bowl underneath the bed, or something, and it's grown an inch of mould.
Good job. You have a lot of skulls and stuff around your flat. Why's that?
I like dark things, I guess.
You're a bit of a goth?
Yeah, a little. But a lot of the time, when people see symbols of evil stuff, you can also see it as a symbol of strength, because it's taken from the most vital organ in your body apart from your heart, which is your brain.
More photos of Lee's flat:
LUKE, 33, CHELMSFORD
How often do you clean your flat?
Luke: Once or twice a week.
Oh, that's quite clean. What's the worst it's got?
I dunno. I guess coming home really trashed, having a shower and basically shitting myself and being sick at the same time in the shower.
Oh yeah, that is very bad. Did you clean up that night?
Yeah, it was all bleached and sorted out, but I was in a bit of a mess. I was sick for days after that.
More photos of Luke's flat: