A friend invites you to his new apartment. As he cues up an old jazz record, you look around his cluttered room for somewhere to sit. Works of literature and philosophy are stacked waist-high next to the desk. Thumbtacks anchor a colorful Picasso print to the wall. His collection of foreign films and documentaries topples out of an unpacked box. His housemate’s digs—which you spy across the hall—are a different story: a framed Monet poster hangs over the neatly made bed; top-40 CD cases and box sets of TV sitcoms line the shelves; carefully arranged gossip magazines fill a nearby rack.