| What the male bowerbird can teach us about home furnishings|
|The male bowerbird has one dazzling bachelor pad. His nest, woven around a tree and carpeted with moss, takes years to build. Each bowerbird has his own exquisite taste in decorations; some prefer neat arrangements of blue and purple flowers while others enjoy the classic minimalism of dark seeds and glass. Common embellishments include leaves, coins, nails, shells and even live insects. This elaborate ritual is sacrosanct, because the bowerbird knows that if his bower isn't beautiful, he will not seduce his mate.|
But not everyone is as insightful when maintaining his or her nest. For many singles, home is less a place to build a life and more a place to store life's leftovers. Nobody blames you for being busy, of course, but most dates won't take that as an excuse for a filthy or out-of-date apartment. You may be manicured, neatly dressed, and intellectually together – a complete package, really – but on the fateful day you invite them over you could be in trouble.
Usually this happens in one of two ways. You put off having them over for weeks or even months, probably due to embarrassment. In this case they are likely prepared for the worst. But more often, and far more disarming to your mate, is when you believe your dreadful living situation is absolutely normal. An unhip flat with piles of clothes, crusty dishes and a nose-wrinkling aroma may cut your future as a couple short.
Like humans, bowerbird females flee at the sight of a home that's not to their liking. But if she is impressed, she will inspect the bower and, once satisfied, indicate to the male with a soft cooing that she is ready to mate. Intercourse takes but seconds, yet the male bowerbird does not seem to mind. The female will fly off to build her own nest and raise yet another generation of future architects.
Some creatures live in tunnels in the dark, damp earth, while others prefer the sunny view of a city skyline. At this very moment there are tiny hunters crafting shelters from delicate strands of silk right alongside human males sweating over which curtains match their new duvet covers. A home can be a place to rest, store food, spring a trap, woo a lover. Taking care of your home means that you care about yourself and, well, the bowerbird isn't the only animal that takes notice.