Thursday, August 30, 2007


Robert Redford and Paul Newman, from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"

The Subject is Decorating (sorry ladies)

In my humble experience, straight men can't decorate. And they don't care. But if they do, it involves leather, heavy wood beams, electronic things, cigar humidors (and/or wine fridges), hockey jerseys, Wild West paraphernalia, beer coasters and plenty of dark colours.
This look might work in a TV room, but isn't so appealing in, say, the bedroom. Or anywhere else really. What baffles me is that men can be genuises - launching space ships to the moon, deciphering tax laws, removing brain tumors- but they can't understand taupe. Words like pinch-pleat, faux bois, and finial will never enter their vocabulary. If you're lucky, your man understands words like wainscot and beadboard, as a minimum. Carpentry somehow makes vague sense to them.

Good Enough

You'd think this lack of male decorating savvy would make life easier for us decorating goddesses. Well, it doesn't. What I've learned is that even if they don't have taste, men are destined to thwart any suggestion that you do. My darling partner has excellent taste (praise the Lord). He appreciates craftsmanship. He likes historical and old-fashioned things. Luckily, these qualities can be leveraged to my advantage in our home. He also isn't about waste and excess, and these values coincide with mine too. However, what he does suffer from is Good Enough syndrome.

Me: What do you think about replacing the mouldings and trim with something nicer?
Him: Why?
Me: Because they're ugly. They look, um, cheap.
Him: They're Good Enough.
Me: But that's what people do - they UPGRADE their homes. They make them beautiful!
Him (staring at me like I have two heads): You are so vain.

My partner, really, is very supportive of my decorating dramas, but I secretly think that occasionally he sees me as a horrible materialist simply because I want to replace the ugly, cheap, generic baseboards in our house. Or get rid of his itchy old sofa.

Many things in our home are deemed Good Enough. And since I am a proud and modest woman with good taste but an aversion to wanton consumerism, I kind of sometimes agree with him. Gradually, the longer I look at it, everything in the house is becoming Good Enough. This is foiling many big decorating plans...


Men always have ugly stuff they like to leave sitting around. Stuff that doesn't match the decor. Now, I do not believe in hiding all evidence of human life from my house, but I do find the following things offensive/ugly/best hidden:

1). Antlers. Even if you found them lying on the forest floor.
2). 300 year old shoes that simply MUST sit at the front door.
3). Bar towels and coasters. Oh, and shot glasses.
4). Spare vehicles (crumbling, rusted). Especially when parked out front.
5). Sporting equipment left hanging to dry around the house.
6). Black furniture from bachelor days. Includes leather sofas.

Still Good

I think this one is self-explanatory. It involves things that are quite likely Ugly and possibly broken but Still Good.

1). Furniture your buddy gave you back in 1985.
2). Electronics that came over on the Ark (this VCR is Still Good).
3). Tennis rackets with holes in the strings, board games with pieces missing, and Readers Digest collections from 1983 and 84 are Still Good.

You get the picture.

Will Do It

I know some women who suffer with men who promise they Will Do It, something, but never do. Many women are fortunate to have a handy man who takes direction, has great ideas, and works diligently to make his home beautiful. These are Blessed Women who should procreate readily with these men to increase their dominance in the gene pool.
However, for every one man who is handy and ambitious, there are 400 who promise they Will Do It when they have time. The reality is, these men don't enjoy shoveling, cleaning the eavestroughs, moving that pile of rusty junk, or fixing that creaky step any more than we do. But we expect them to because, well, they are men. I think this one is our problem. But don't tell me you Will Do It if, in all honesty, you Never Plan To.


Of course there are exceptions. I love my partner and wouldn't trade him for the world. He is a phenomenal cook, ambitious and reliable, takes great care of the yard, does laundry, does many chores and is learning how to do fixer-upper stuff around the house. He is almost perfect except for that nagging bit about everything being Good Enough that I want to change. He is practical and sane. But he just doesn't get my Posh Country Estate decorating tastes.

I'm sure your guy is perfect too, except for that nagging bit about....


  1. Your writing is so great - I was chuckling right along while reading the whole entry. Unfortunately, I have to admit that right now, in the apartment we're in, my boyfriend and I are in the "good enough" state of mind. We know we're not going to be here much longer so that's the problem. Also, we have a lot of random furniture (stuff from my fam, his fam, etc). That poses a problem when it comes to, you know, MATCHING.

    Once we move and get settled wherever we go, I will be looking into slipcovers or something of the like for the couch I am currently sitting on... It really doesn't match anything, and is quite old. Comfy, but fading.

  2. Well, you know from my post today which man I consider to be the perfect side-kick to my decorating obsessions...!!
    My real hubby also suffers from the good enough syndrome but also the "we're not buying that...I can make it" syndrome. Now, I do have a very talented, handy husband who actually never sits around, but he also is too busy with his work and business to build me anything lately. So, I guess I'm like you...wrestling with the "Good Enough" reminders and my own feeling of not wanting to be wasteful when there are others out there with so little. Now, if I could only get my man to stay home long enough to drag the tablesaw out of the garage...!!!
    Great post by the way!!


  3. I understand you completely. Of course, I am a woman so that makes perfect sense to me.

    My husband has great taste, but he doesn't have vision until he sees something in front of him. That makes it difficult for him to "flow" with my ideas created in my imagination.

    Worst of all though, is they seem to feel they have the inside track on decorating at the oddest moments. Like when you are talking to your contractor communicating what you envision, and all of a sudden they are proclaiming vast knowledge in what choices to make. Suddenly, he knows it ALL. Even though YESTERDAY he didn't care whether you put in a shower door or a shower curtain. Today, he is all about shower doors and their contribution to the decorating scheme.

    Whatever! :-)

    As long as he takes the spiders out of the room when I yell, I'll keep him around.

    Have a great day Terri!

  4. This is a hoot! Loved it and it's sooo true. I have one of those "I can build that" ones as well - the only problem is, by the time he'd get around to it - I'd be too old to enjoy it! (he's not lazy by any means) just busy...
    My nightstand: (pretties and small photos of the grandkids, vintage finds and flowers)
    His nightstand: old receipts, carpenter's pencils, crumpled gum wrappers, various nuts & bolts, and a huge neon green tape measure. Oh, and don't move a thing - he might just want it and would not know where to find it!
    Ah well, whatcha guuna do?
    Anyway, loved finding your blog - I'll drop by and visit often.

  5. This is a hilarious post and I truly enjoyed it. And yes, my man is guilty of "Sporting equipment left hanging to dry around the house" - his huge sails from the boat tend to take over our bedroom and hallway.
    AND...the Black furniture from bachelor days. Includes leather sofas. - yep, I asked him to get rid of all of the black furniture before we moved in together.

    But he is wonderful and quite the Mr. Fix it so I really can't complain :-)