Mother: Why didn’t you date that cute boy in San Diego who was so crazy about you?
Me: Did you see his house? It looked like a Taco Bell. I wouldn’t have been surprised if a Sinaloan drug tunnel was beneath it.
Mother: Lindsay Lohan has a drug tunnel?
Me: Same difference.
The topic of interior design is a touchy one — especially when your mother is a talented designer. You learn to say things to your friends like, “If you love it, it’s perfect,” and that’s the absolute truth because you should a) always surround yourself with the things you love, and b) if you know yourself and you are choosy then the things around you reflect you and they are perfect. Sound like relationship advice? Well the same applies.
Both choosing your mate and choosing your sofa are easier said than done, I know, and the latter is especially difficult for the male species who, for the most part, at least until “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” thought a recliner, a ballcap collection and street signage was décor. That got me thinking about some of the boys I’ve known over the years, across this great nation and how they choose to live. So I give you a few regional delicacies of dyspeptic design distortion to chew on from the Eastern seaboard as far as Texas and column space will allow. They probably won’t help you find a boyfriend — or a sofa, but here goes.
He comes with what appears to be a starter kit from the hipness protection program: ironic upholstery, bird art, mid-century modern bits and pieces and enough terrariums to start an ecodome. His beard-maintenance products are crafted from the feces of field mice and smell like formaldahyde. His books veer from Bukowski to Eggers, Foer to the requisite David Foster Wallace, and his closet is reserved for flannel and beer making.
Whether from Charlotte or Charleston, this Southern boy likes his home to reflect the manly activities in which he participates or follows. If he’s into NASCAR you can bet there will be some racing remnants strewn on the living-room wall. If he’s a hunter, there is sure to be another set of eyes staring at you while you make out on the couch. His furniture is either leather and the size of a Buick or mama’s boy hand-me-downs that add a disturbing pastel element to the mallard and plaid patois of the room.
The New Yorker
Comes with the requisite New Yorker magazine shower curtain, Oriental rug, Eames chair, tastefully worn sofa, one good painting and bookcase replete with a who’s who of the New York Times Book Review from at least two decades. There is good white in the fridge, hallucinogenic mushrooms from at least a decade ago in the freezer, mediocre red on the counter and stinky old leather jackets and moldy trenches in the coat closet.
This guy lives everywhere but evidence of his everyman perviness is in ever fiber of his being — and apartment. He likes his toys and they veer from Star Wars figurines to anime collectables all the way to back-of-the store items. He has an astonishing comic collection and probably a curated selection of vintage, modern and experimental porn if you get that far into his closet. A breast man with mommy issues out the wazoo, I’d avoid sitting on any of his furniture for the sticky factor alone.
The beauty of boys in Texas as that they all know how to dance. Interior design is another story. They like their sofas and chairs big — like everything, and the more cow in the room the better. I’ve nearly pierced a new vaginal hole from sitting on awkward furniture adorned with horns during my tenure in the Lone Star State. And Remington himself would be sick of his own sculpture if he had to see so many knockoffs of it. If only their taste in furniture could be as simple and elegant as that Lone Star.
The Virginia Gentleman
There’s an old joke about FFV (First Families of Virginia) that goes, “He went to ‘the school,’ then he went to ‘the college,’ then he got married in ‘the church,’ then he went to work for ‘the firm,’ and then he went to ‘the bottle.’” And it’s all true. Just ask his navy knee-socked mom if you have any doubts. She’ll also tell you that he got ‘the furniture” — meaning a horsey set of antiques that Thomas Jefferson probably schtupped Sally Hemmings on.