Showcase House of the Male/Female Divide

My kids are all home at the same time so I’m taking the opportunity to step out of BeckyLand for awhile and play with them. But while I’m staycationing, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share another of my very funny writer friends with you.

I was going to introduce George, but he does it so much better than I could. I’m stepping away now, and closing the door ever-so-gently to give you some privacy.

Hi, I’m George Waters.

George copy
I’m what they call an “award winning” humor writer. I write a weekly humor column for newspapers, as well as funny freelance essays for other publications and Web sites. I live in Southern California in a flat, baking valley named for San Gabriel who, by all appearances at least, was a saint. I have a wife, a school-age daughter and son, and a rat terrier (rhymes with “rat Perrier”) named Skipper. He is not named Skipper due to any nautical expertise (although he knows his way around a jib), but rather because when he walks at high speed his hind legs actually skip like a happy, recently-promoted middle manager. Some day I will post a video of it here.

I invite you to visit my full-on column-oriented Web site. I built the whole site myself using my mad html skills, some Javascript and an adze. Even if for no other reason, you will want to visit the site because it has a page where you can give me back the hair I had in high school. Do it now, it’s not like you’re getting any work done anyway.

Showcase House of the Male/Female Divide by George Waters

Interior decoration has never been one of my interests, probably due to a genetic deficiency I have, called “gender.” Chicks dig it, though.

For proof, just sit and watch the droves of well-groomed ladies pouring off the shuttle buses at the Pasadena Showcase House. This celebration of state-of-the-art interior design, held at a different spectacular mansion each spring, boasts a women-to-men visitor ratio, based on my unscientific observations, of about 100 to 1, and the one is inevitably a septuagenarian in a salmon-colored golf shirt. Or me.

Women invariably tour the house in pairs, because dishing the dirt over a designer’s choices with a man is basically a monologue. That is because women and men see interior design differently; women see infinite possibilities, while men see a very long summer kissing drywall. But I agreed to attend with my wife out of a morbid curiosity over what the new “black” is.

Plus, Brownie Points never hurt when you are thinking about buying a new car.

You enter the mansion through something called a “port cochere” (“costly porch”). Before entering, however, since nature was calling, I was glad the event planners had also placed a row of “port au potties” off to the side of the house.

Each room in the manse has been completely re-imagined and decorated by different designers, some of whom stand amidst their creation to answer questions, and are very proud of their work. Therefore, based on my personal experience, I do not recommend phrasing your question like this: “So what’s up with the big ball of moss?” It might be taken as mockery, when intended as good-natured ribbing, which some artistes apparently just don’t “get.”

“Concept” is the main idea of interior design, I know, but please do not tell me that it is necessary to stifle a heartfelt giggle when I see, in a tiny bathroom, a chandelier hanging over a toilet. I’m sorry. That is just funny.

I am clearly a bad audience for “concept,” and I blame my parents for not endowing me with ovaries.

The breakfast room had lovely china plates mounted to the walls just below the ceiling, to give a clue to anyone with any doubt about what a dining room is for. This made me curious, though, just what I would find hot-glued to the bedroom walls.

Outside I came across a little bonsai tree inside a birdcage, but there was no one to explain, so I was left to assume it symbolized man’s enslavement of nature. Or a love of quiet pets.

The sun room ceiling appeared to be paneled with tan fur of some kind, which was striking, but made me feel a bit like I was inside a pony. The library’s most intriguing feature was the stack of books in its fireplace. I have to admit I do this too, when I run out of shelf space, except I doubt if the designers ever light theirs.

In the laundry room, sitting atop the giant, gleaming dryer were four petite vases, each with a tiny orchid, a nice touch, but I have to say that has so been done to death on my dryer at home.

As I left the mansion, the only other man at the place, Mr. Salmon Shirt, caught my eye pleadingly, as his wife led him into the big-decorative-arts-shop-under-a-tent in the garden. I looked away. There are some things a man should never watch another man endure.

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