Few Filipino friends back home have asked me about how clean Americans are in the house. I could not give an answer straight to the point, because the term “clean” is relative. Cleanliness in the Filipino perspective could be a far cry from from the American viewpoint. If cleanliness is the absence of dirt or offensive odor, then based on the number of American homes I have been into since 2006, Americans do maintain a clean surrounding.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Some Americans (mostly the younger generations) do not know how to maintain tidiness in areas of the house that are supposed to be shipshape. This is not specific to one culture, however. Although Filipinos are known to be really clean in the house, some are deficient in this area of household responsibility as well.

Except for those living alone, most students share a house or an apartment with others. Americans who happen to live with international students know very well the difference between “cleanliness” in one culture from “cleanliness” defined by another. How habitually neat and clean your housemates are? Do they live up to your expectations of what a clean house should be like?

The kitchen for instance must be kept clean. Nobody wants to cook in a greasy, off-color sink with unwashed utensils. The living room is where most of the house members gather for a nightly TV viewing or conversation or a short playtime. Thus, it must be clean too. No one wants to sit on a couch full of books and personal belongings.

This is my perception, ladies and gentlemen. I really do not care whatever people do inside their own rooms. Plant a tree, raise a monkey, interbreed insects, act like Tarzan – I do not care a fig! It is your room and you have all the rights to transform it to whatever sci-fi scene you want. Just leave the “common” area free of your ‘cultured bugs’ or your ‘monkey’s hair’. This advice goes to anyone, by the way, and points not to a particular nationality only!

I had lived in Europe for two years and luckily my Dutch friends were not that messy in their homes.

As a final note, I am agreeing to what my friends say about other culture’s idea of cleanliness. I have high regards for other people not of my nationality, especially for women; perhaps they could change this ‘messy’ perception. After all, they are women, the torch that gives light to the household. Let that torch shine, therefore, to see which is clean and which is not.