From offering to get you an Uber home to chewing way too loudly, first impressions have a lasting effect on how we judge the people we date — and whether or not we choose to continue dating them. Just as telling and much less talked about, however, are the clues about their life and personality that we find as soon as we start inhabiting their space. These are not to be ignored, because your future may not be written in the stars but rather in what you find under their bed.
1. He has Amazon packages addressed to another woman.
Don’t fret. Your boyfriend doesn’t have a secret, middle-class sugar mama— but he does have an overly attached, regular mama suffering from empty-nest syndrome. Even though he graduated four years ago, his mom still sends him weekly care packages, and he doesn’t have the heart to tell her that he’s accumulated over 32 razors and 15 bottles of shampoo, and is too lactose intolerant to eat any of the whey protein bars she’s ordered. Good news is he’s a sweet guy who doesn’t like to let the people around him down. Bad news? He might be dating you because you look eerily like his mother.
2. There are business cards for various hair salons all over her room.
She’s been through a bad breakup…or five. Ask her when the last time she impulsively got bangs or dyed her hair was, and that, divided by how many exes she has, is how much emotional pain she’s in right now (an equation definitely not backed by the principles of mathematics). If the hurt is still fresh, she might not be ready for anything serious. Take it slow, and do not — and I cannot stress this enough — mention how much better she looked as a blonde.
3. They have multiple toothbrushes in their bathroom.
Either they have a lot of friends stay over when visiting from out of town, or they use separate toothbrushes for each tooth. Let’s pray they’re just really popular.
4. She has a ring light for her iPhone.
Congratulations, you’re dating a vlogger/influencer. Your relationship is likely to be broadcast to millions of teens on YouTube, and your breakup will definitely be the topic of her most-viewed video in six months time. You’ll be expected to act as a tripod surrogate, summoned to take photos in Instagrammable locations and act as if they’re totally candid. Say things like, “wait, don’t move!” to make her feel like a star right before you snap 400 shots of her eating an açai bowl.
5. They have ripe avocados in the kitchen.
They might be your soulmate, and I guarantee you they have both almond and oat milk to offer you for the latte they inevitably bring you in bed. They can’t wait to be a parent, and it’s only a matter of time before the two of you and your first baby boy, Astro, are eating avocado toast together in your beautifully furnished home in the suburbs.
6. They have hundreds of take out ketchup packets in their pantry.
Sorry to break it to you, but this person has commitment issues. Despite using ketchup for almost every meal (they stand by their conviction that it is the superior condiment), they have never been able to commit to buying a 12-ounce container of Heinz. They’re stubborn, and there’s a high chance they’ll emotionally breadcrumb you without ever agreeing to DTR.
7. There’s dog hair all over their apartment, despite no signs of a dog.
Sure, it’s possible that the apartment is being haunted by a ghost dog, but it’s more likely that they occasionally dog sit for a friend (cute!) and have just never vacuumed (gross!). My suggestion? Get them a Roomba for their birthday and offer to take the dog out (fun!) while they learn how to program it.
8. He has feminist literature on his bookshelf.
Best case scenario, this man is woke as hell. He loves Roxanne Gay, treats his girlfriends with respect, and, if you’re really lucky, gets pleasure from giving pleasure. Worst case? He took one gender studies class in college and now touts himself as some sort of feminist hero. Tread carefully as you figure out which one it is — let his actions speak louder than his words, especially if his words begin mansplaining “Bad Feminist” to you.
9. They have photos of their ex all over their apartment.
10. There’s no toilet paper in the bathroom.