Or maybe you don’t… maybe you’re one of those people who can live with hideous wallpaper and not want to die from the psychic pain of contrasting pastel florals.
I confess I’m hideously domestic. Bad wallpaper gives me seizures. I’m the sort of person who insists on cloth napkins and organic butter. Please don’t compare me to my mother (Mrs. “Are You Wearing That?”) or my grandmother (who had three houses and changed furniture the way other people change socks). Because I’m not THAT bad. It gets watered down through the generations.
I just have… certain rules. Like you can’t hang anything on the wall that isn’t original art. (No framed posters after age 30. Never giclees.) You can’t buy conventional dairy products. (Or if you do, I’ll tell you all about the time I spent covering the dairy farming industry, and about rBST and manure lagoons, until your eyes glaze and you capitulate “Fine! Whatever! You’re in charge of groceries!”) Hardwood over particle board. You know, little things like that.
Okay, I sound insufferable. My poor husband lives with Texas art apartheid, where every oil painting of a desert tumbleweed (“Hey! It’s original!”) is confined to his office… several blocks away.
To his credit, our Venn diagram of tastes overlaps more than it differs. He likes old stuff. I like old stuff. He hates Ikea. I’m indifferent to Ikea. (I can’t assemble those things.) And he pretty much backs off on the rest, God bless him.
But I have lived with and was married to total assholes before, and their character and their chaos was reflected in the crap they kept. One of the most liberating things about divorce, that no one tells you, is that you can throw out the damn ceramic duck collection.
Okay, for you maybe it wasn’t ceramic ducks — it was their great Aunt’s lace doilies, or their fucking carburetors, or their 500 pairs of cheap shoes. But there is something that after they’re gone you immediately think “HELL YES! I don’t have to LIVE WITH THAT ANY MORE!!!”
… And then you replace it. With your things. With your better taste.
I remember when I finally got my first husband to move the hell out (the longest six months of my life… co-habitating while “separated”), I stared at these two closet doors across from my bed. He’d been promising to paint those doors for years. And of course, like everything else, hadn’t done it. (But would get righteously pissed if I mentioned it or offered to do it myself.) And the first thing I did was PAINT THOSE DOORS. Because it was the first thing I saw when I woke up! Then I got pretty, girly, mercury glass knobs to go with.
And I felt elated.
It wasn’t a huge investment, but this one little act of paint and hardware defiance made me feel better than months of therapy.
So what was your act of consumer defiance? What did you buy? What did you try that you always wanted to try, but couldn’t before? What did you change?
And if you say you hung contrasting pastel floral wallpapers, I don’t want to know!