Gender Bender

Gender Bender

At my age, having a large circle of friends means being exposed to all the various forms of living situations afforded by those rapidly approaching (or departing) their late 30’s and 40’s: married, single-and-ready-to-mingle, divorced, divorced with benefits, roommates, roommates with benefits, married with extracurricular benefits, abstinent (not many in this category, admittedly) and the oft-dreaded (but rarely avoided) “it’s complicated.”

Needless to say, I’ve been in many a friend’s home, and after years of careful observation, I can say firmly and without a shadow of a doubt, that despite age, ethnicity, social background and/or love of pets, nowhere are the gender lines more clearly drawn then when it comes to interior decor.

I know, grand revelation, right? Not to mention grossly stereotypical?

Look, I’m not saying that ALL men can’t decorate their homes and living spaces with an eye for both style AND comfort, nor am I saying that ALL women can’t sacrifice their love of the aesthetic for pure functionality. I’m only saying that from what I’ve observed over the years, most men care more for comfort and utility in terms of home décor, whereas most women seem to focus on beauty and aesthetics.

This was proven to me yet again in the past month, where the wedding anniversary of one friend, and the divorce of another, clearly illustrated the gender divide on home décor in the form of choice of window dressings.

For Val, a former colleague and ultimate Frisbee teammate, the first year anniversary of her blessed day was to be marked with a complete redecoration of her living and bedrooms, of which her choice of window dressing was crucial. (Ostensibly, this was to give her husband a more pleasant environment upon which to “de-stress” after a hard day, but I suspect ulterior motives at work here). Her choice of living room drapery was the Foresta Panel Sheer curtains, that although look stunning in the newly renovated room, don’t provide the extreme coverage needed to satisfy her husband, who has since retreated to his home office with a glass of Johnny Walker Blue every evening to “de-stress.”

Compare that to Dan, my significant other’s college drinking buddy, who used his divorce as the pretext to, “finally furnish my home the way I’d like it, instead of giving in to what she wants.” His choice of window dressing? Roman blinds in his living and bedrooms, that “block out the light in the morning so I don’t have to wake up with the sun.”

So there we have it. Beauty or utility? Form or function?

I’d like to take this opportunity to make an impassioned appeal to both sexes on this subject.

Ladies, gentlemen! Can we not move past our petty, gender-based differences to find the common ground between our choices in home décor? Can we not bridge the gap between the sexes with arms outstretched, ready and willing to listen to each other’s logical and impassioned pleas for mutual satisfaction in furnished surroundings? Can we not live in harmony, in a beautifully decorated home that is both aesthetically pleasing and practically functional?

Yeah, I didn’t think so….