I'm the first to admit that my bachelor apartment, other than the days when I was entertaining a guest of the female persuasion, was not a shining beacon of cleanliness. Pizza boxes, gym shorts and empty beer bottles were as much a part of my decor as a sign of my apathy. So it comes as no surprise to me to see that a recent study "confirms" that single guys' apartments are dirtier than bachelorettes'.
What is a little shocking, though, is just how much scuzzier: On average, a single guy's apartment harbors 15 times the amount of bacteria than do the homes of bachelorettes.
Whatever, you say, bacteria schmacteria. Well, consider this: Seven of every 10 coffee tables researchers checked in guys' apartments were covered in coliforms, a type of bacteria that lives in the feces of warm-blooded animals.
"They have poop on the coffee table," study leader Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, told MSNBC.com. "I would suspect the guys probably put their feet up on the coffee table. About 90 percent of shoes have fecal bacteria on the bottom after you wear them for three months. My wife never puts her feet on the table. I do, and I keep getting told to take them off."
These fecal bugs — excellent indicators that such surfaces may also contain cold and flu viruses plus other squiggly microbes known to cause diarrhea — also were detected on many of the bachelors' TV remotes (30 percent), nightstands (62 percent) and doorknobs (13 percent).
Gerba's study, sponsored by Clorox, involved swabbing the four selected surfaces at the homes of 30 bachelors and 30 bachelorettes. Overall, Gerba said, the homes of the single women were cleaner than the average American abode while the bachelor pads were more germ-laced than the typical U.S. residence.
To be fair, coliforms were discovered on the same surfaces in some of the bachelorettes' homes. The bugs just weren’t quite as common — or plentiful — at the ladies’ digs. Except for one spot: 33 percent of the women’s front doorknobs harbored colonies of coliforms.
Again, though, the bachelors — and their grubby hands — may be to blame. "The entrances into the women's homes — we haven't quite figured out yet," Gerba said. "But I assume that’s why women always expect guys to open the door for them."