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EST. May 2000 (AD)




Giving Yourself Away: What Your Dryer Lint Trap Says About You

By Pamela Miller

Entertaining in the home is one of life's great pleasures. You welcome friends, club members and business associates into your home for a lovely meal, good conversation, and socially appropriate chitchat. It's only natural that your guests will become a bit curious about you. The well-prepared hostess has an innate sense of both housekeeping pitfalls and soufflé timing. Sure, you took the time to white glove every exposed area, with the understanding that, yes, you are being judged. Filth is filth; dust, grime and bloodstains are never just an accident. You also knew to hide the more incriminating pharmaceuticals from your medicine cabinet, and you are well aware that everyone looks under the bed for sexual paraphernalia.

However, there is one area that even the most discreet hostess might miss: the dryer lint trap. Don't question why a guest might be skulking around your laundry room. Perhaps they were looking for the powder room and were entranced by the heavenly scent of liquid stain remover. It doesn't matter. What does matter is the evidence you thoughtlessly left behind, and that memory will linger longer than even the most buttery pear tart, the most lively conversation, your exquisite taste in sconces.

Here is a partial list of lint trap clues:

White Confetti: You had a cold and were too lazy to empty your pockets of used tissues. This is a major offense. Now the guest will wonder if she will be exposed to your lingering viral or bacterial infection. Perhaps someone with your health issues should not be entertaining. The remedy is to switch to cloth handkerchiefs.

Overflowing Fluff: You're a rebel, and not in the good way. You went ahead and washed the chenille throw despite instructions clearly stating "dry clean only." Switch to fleece blankets if you have so much trouble following the rules.

Dingy Colored Lint: You need new clothing. After twenty or so washes, your clothing is tired of being worn anyway. Drop off the old clothes at the thrift shop and hit a few boutiques.

Bright Pink Lint: You're sexually indiscreet and impulsive. Your 1200 thread count white sheets are now sullied because you were in too much of a hurry to fish out the red thong and bra set from your hamper. Why were you in such a hurry? Who were you trying to fool? It's simply not worth risking decades of financial security and a timeshare in Bali for an afternoon's hijinks.

Sunny Yellow Fluff: While you probably should have remembered to empty the lint trap, your fluff signifies you as a winner. Not only do you separate your towels, blankets, and whites, you also color code the rest of the wash. Perfect yellow fluff is the mark of a perfectionist who knows better and follows the rules to the letter. Good for you!

Multi-Colored Lint: You're not just a little forgetful. You probably are in the early stages of cognitive decline. Please make an appointment for a full battery of neuropsychological testing. In the mean time, place a Post-It note on your dryer door to cue you to add the dryer sheet, empty the lint trap, and hang up your clothes after the dryer stops. (Disclaimer: Does not apply if your college-aged son or nephew is borrowing your dryer. They need a Post-It just to remember to close the dryer's door.)

By remembering to lock your valuables in a fireproof safe, by utilizing every attachment on your vacuum cleaner, and by removing all telltale signs of your intimate life, you can avoid the after party gossip. Your lint trap will keep your secrets if you remember to empty it after every load. Better yet, invest in a velvet rope. Let your guests know where to tread and which areas are off-limits. This will give your party an air of exclusion that will only enhance your standing in the greater community.

Copyright © 2006 by Pamela Miller




Pamela Miller saves the world by day, writes by night, and wishes she could find a hotter place to live than Phoenix. The world is simply too cold.

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