Thursday, October 30, 2008


Interior decoration

On Morning Edition the other day, NPR reported that as the housing market has softened, so has the market for new furniture:

If the tumultuous economy is this year’s top “kitchen-table” issue, that isn’t good news for people who sell kitchen tables, coffee tables and other furniture. The furniture industry is experiencing a tough year — September sales were down about 10 percent from a year ago. The mood was glum at the world’s largest furniture industry trade show in High Point, N.C.

Nothing surprising here, but one thing was said that I want to comment on. A minute or so from the end, they say that companies are pushing “accessories” to people who are shying away from buying new furniture:

NPR: Nan Feldman’s company, Badash Crystal, imports vases and other decorative accessories. She promotes them as a way to freshen a room if you can’t afford to refurnish it.

Feldman: This is a piece that I call my cheap and good. Even at $10... feel the weight.

NPR: This is a $10 crystal bowl.

Feldman: Right. A woman can put that bowl with bath soaps in her bedroom, so that it adds a little inspiration to your furniture or to your home decor.

A man, on the other hand, such as I... well, you’d better keep that bowl away from us or we’ll likely wash our feet in it, or use it to pee in when we’ve had too much beer. Maybe it’d be a good place for us to put our used socks.

To be truthful, I’d probably not put bath soap in it if I were using it to decorate the bedroom. Some dried flowers instead, perhaps, possibly mixed with some aromatics (cinnamon is always nice). Or in the dining room I might toss in an assortment of small, colourful citrus fruits — lemons, limes, and tangerines might look and smell nice.

How about layers of coloured sand? Depending upon the shape and depth of the bowl, that could be very interesting, and could be changed with the seasons.

Some men are interested in nice decor too. And some of us are even straight.


While we’re talking about sexism, let me mention a slogan I saw a lot of in rural Virginia last weekend: “I’m voting for the chick!” Great. How about that?: a slogan that in one breath both supports the Palin/McCain... uh, sorry... McCain/Palin ticket and belittles Ms Palin as “the chick.”

I do wonder what people are thinking, sometimes.


Call me Paul said...

The part I keyed in on was the complaint that sales were down ten percent this September vs. last. I work in retail. If their sales were only down ten percent over last September, they should be dancing for joy. Most of the retail sector was down far more than that.

Barry Leiba said...

Maybe they are jumping for joy when they're not giving NPR interviews....

lidija said...

Reminded me of another election story I read recently:

(sorry about the long URL)

Lisa Simeone said...

I don't know. I can't stand Palin, but I use the word "chick" all the time. As a longtime proud loud-mouthed feminist, I don't get hung up on stuff like that. "Girl," "chick," "lady," "dame" (very old-fashioned), whatever ("hon" in Baltimore) -- it's harmless.

(And you are certainly a rare straight man to give a shit about decorating, as you surely know, which is why that woman in the interview directed her suggestions to women.)

Katie said...

Are you sure you're straight? Don't go messin' with a bowl with "aromatics" at my house.

Barry Leiba said...

Lidija: I thought about pointing that out, as a comparison, but decided against it. It might be that some people are actually saying that amongst themselves, but I can't imagine seeing posters declaring it!

Lisa: It's not the "chick" thing by itself, but that by saying it as they are they seem to be saying that there's nothing else there. Now, I think that's the case, but I guess her supporters aren't supposed to. It's like when Lidija questioned my calling Palin "Almost-Ms-Alaska". I did that with the intent of belittling her other accomplishments.

And I don't know: I think there are lots of men out there who like a nicely decorated place. There might be fewer who care to do the decorating, but surely not all men would be happy to still have the old Led Zeppelin poster peeling off the wall, and bookshelves made from unfinished boards and cinder-blocks?

The Ridger, FCD said...

I think the intent of "I'm voting for the chick!" is to argue that I'm not sexist if even you think I would be, so haha. I'm not sure it works, but I *think* that's the rationale.

Or maybe it's to say I am indeed sexist but my chick is better than your boy.