Decorating With Dudes, Or “Could A Man Poop In This Bathroom?”

Did you see Emily’s post about trying to decorate her kitchen while her husband looks over shoulder at rugs on It took me back instantly to a decade ago, standing in a Bed Bath and Beyond aisle with Erik, fighting over the godawful brown plaid duvet cover he wanted to buy.

I have no idea why I thought it was so important to include my husband in all of the decorating decisions, way back when.  I mean, I guess maybe it is important, but the truth is – I am sort of good at this sort of stuff, stuff like duvet cover buying, and my husband is sort of not good at this stuff.  Also, I care about it a lot lot lot lot more.

Anyway.  We did not buy that plaid duvet cover (thank Jesus) but I did spend an incredibly large amount of time trying to find a duvet cover that we’d both like.  Something manly but something that I wouldn’t hate.  I bought one that was ok, but I didn’t love it, and then I found the duvet cover of my heart, and it was incredibly girly, and I bought that one and every time I see it, it makes me happy, and that is when I realized that my husband really doesn’t care that much about any of this stuff  He didn’t much notice the duvet cover, except to crawl under it and snore like a lumberjack, and so our bedroom is pretty girly, and I think it looks nice, and I think he thinks it looks nice too.  I mean, if I were dead, is this the room he’d create on his own? Doubtful, I’m sure.  But it is nice.

What it really comes down to, honestly, is the amount of bitching I’m going to end up hearing in the end. I bought Kate Face a white crib because I liked it and I thought it suited the style of the house and her room, and even though I knew that Erik probably would have picked something boxy and brown, he just doesn’t care that much.  He won’t notice it anyway.  I’ll never hear about it.  So I bought it, I love it, and it’s done. On the other hand, we once had one of those scratchy sisal rugs that we bought from Target and HOLY GOD I still haven’t heard the end of it.  Maybe when you wear a SIZE FOURTEEN SHOE all that surface area makes your feet extra sensitive or something.  I don’t know.  All I know is that now when I buy rugs, the first thing I ask myself is “is this going to be soft enough for the biggest feet in America to walk on?” because the sisal/jute rug bitching is just not something I can handle hearing any more of.  Ever. Again.

I do TRY. I try.  I saw this episode of Northern Exposure once where Shelley decorated a bathroom in nothing but solid pink, and her husband couldn’t poop in it.  I’m not lying at all when I tell you that sometimes I have to ask myself “Could a man poop in this bathroom?” when I am about to make a big decorating decision, and thus we scale back on the pink bathrooms and I think we’re all generally happy.  Sometimes I get some crazy ideas that Erik isn’t too happy about, we have an orange file cabinet that he really doesn’t want me to paint even though it is so! freaking! orange! and if I were to buy another one today I’d probably buy a boring neutral brownish file cabinet, but I do respect his opinion, sort of, so the file cabinet is orange still.  For now.

Most of our decorating conflicts arise because I skew hard towards form and Erik skews hard towards function.  I like to call this “big plastic trash can.”  If Erik had his way, we’d have a big giant plastic trash can, the kind you put out on the curb on trash day?  Right in the middle of the kitchen.  Because it holds SO MUCH TRASH and it barely ever has to be emptied and it’s a big plastic trash can! I don’t even know the justifications.

I don’t think that I need to tell you that there ain’t no way I’m living with a big plastic trash can in my kitchen.  We used to have a silver step can from Simple Human, but when we moved it took up too much floor space and it was SO hard to empty, and I replaced it with a trash can that is attached to the inside of a cabinet door.   I LOVE this trash can.  It can’t be seen when the door is closed. It uses grocery bags as trash bags and it stores them right in the trash can!  It is easy to take out the trash and it doesn’t take up any kitchen floor real estate and dogs and kids can’t get into it.

Do I need to tell you that Mr. E HATES this trash can?  Well, he does, obviously.  He hates it with a fiery passion, and this means we have a lot of super fun fights about it where I yell “BIG PLASTIC TRASH CAN!” at him, because that’s just how we party in the Central Valley.  LIKE ROCK STARS.

Hey.  At least the man can poop in our bathroom.



11 Responses

  1. Ohh this is so interesting to me. I too fall on the function side of things so a part of me could get down with a big plastic trash can, ha ha. And it’s something I struggle with when looking at a lot of style mags/websites. I am like WTF lives in this space? What with all the pillows and perfectly placed knicknacks, I can only imagine what happens when the actual junk of daily living gets introduced to the room as well.

  2. I don’t let Daniel have much of a say in decorating, for the main reason that i am decorating around his giant, expensive, bachelor furniture. Which he shopped for for two years, then suddenly ran out and bought RIGHT when our relationship was starting to get serious, but still before we were serious enough for me to have a say in his furniture choices.
    Overall though, I don’t think he even really notices or cares about our home decor. I’m the one home all day so I’m the one that lives with it most and if I’m happy, he’s happy.
    Love the garbage can conflict part of this post- made me laugh 🙂

  3. (Hi, I’m bucking for the Longest Comment Ever Award. I guess I had lots to say on this topic.)

    This is such a UNIVERSAL DEBATE! I went to a BBQ full of couples last night and there was a very heated group discussion about how decor must change when men and women move in together that created this instant boys vs. girls vibe. It was actually quite hilarious.

    All the men (practically in unison) bemoaned at once “Yeah my black leather couches had to go first thing…hahahah” What is it with men and black leather couches signifying the epitome of bachelorhood? I will never understand that. I mean there was almost beer drenched fist bumping going on about the topic over the pain of THE WOMAN coming in and eradicating these wonderful couches.

    But then the women starting chiming in about how moving in with a man meant that never again could they have the duvet cover of their dreams. This seemed to be the ultimate female compromise.

    While I admit, I wasn’t super fond of Garrett’s couch when I moved in, I let it slide because it was orange leather and not black leather. I’ve learned to love it but it has taken time. The duvet issue is still something that plagues us though. We are using a crappy Ikea duvet that should be burned it is so ratty, but we have been searching for one for 2 years and still can’t come to an agreement. If we don’t find the Holy Grail soon, I’m going to take your advice here and just get one I like because when Garrett and I met he had a Laser Tag blanket on his bed. OBVIOUSLY, from that moment forward he gave up all real say in decorating decisions.

    • Um, excuse me, but WTF is a laser tag blanket?

      • Oh, you know, just THE COOLEST TREND OF THE 80s…if you were a boy. And subsequently his dream bedspread when he was a child. Though when Garrett and I met it was actually 2004, so the blanket was a bit dated. 😉

        It was hideous and nubby and gray with this logo on it:

        Apparently he had just returned from visiting his parents and they were going through old stuff and Garrett was like, “Cool, a blanket. It still works. I’ll use it.” While I understand every man’s love for function, I had to draw the line at putting a freaking Laser Tag blanket on your bed as a grown adult. We went to Macys the next day and bought him all new bedding. It was right then that he gave up his rights to future input about our bedding, I think.

  4. When we redid our kitchen 18 years ago, we made room for the giant plastic trash can. Our builder was able to get a false cabinet front, mounted it on hinges, and the trash can fit behind the door, under the counter and OUT OF SIGHT. I actually learned to love it, especially when I could pull it halfway out and scoop a whole counter full of trash straight into the can. We have now moved, have a smaller kitchen trash can, and I actually kind of miss it!

  5. I used to do this too– consult my husband that is– until I came to the same realization as you did. I mean, if pushed, he has an opinion, but once that duvet cover is purchased and placed on the bed, he doesn’t think of it again, whereas I think of it each and every time I see it. So if I love it, it makes me happy, and if I hate it, it makes me crabby…

    I think my motivation in asking him was part wanting to respect his opinion about the space we live in together, but the other part was that I’m a talker-out-louder. I made decisions by processing things verbally and he was the one that was closest to me to listen. Inadvertently this involved him in the process of CHOOSING, which was a mistake. I am now better at making decisions. And if I need an opinion, I ask a friend more often than I ask him.

    • Yes! This is totally it. I want someone to say “YES! That duvet cover” and I was trying to make that someone be Erik, so he could help me decide. But we never agreed, so now I just email Maggie with my design dilemmas.

  6. LOVE this post. I am you, and Mr. E is Rob to a “T”.
    I, too, have learned that most of the time, JUST DOING IT works best. Like tonight when I went all stencil-ey on our hall wall and Rob said, “Huh. Are you having fun?” in an almost supportive way! But had I ASKED him what he thought of me stenciling the hall wall… well, we’d be debating that through next week. 😉

  7. AHHH!!! I KNOW!

  8. i LOVE the thought of you yelling “BIG PLASTIC TRASH CAN!” in the middle of a fight! awesome.

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