Sep 23, 2010

Interior Design for Men

[As seen in this month's CHILL magazine. Available at any Ontario beer store with a magazine rack.]

Why would a guy spend a good chunk of his hard-earned dough just to jazz up his crib? Well, as a man who’s been married nine years, the truth is, I haven’t had to make aesthetic decisions for, oh... about nine years. (The fact that I use words like “dough”, “jazz” and “crib” should also tell you that you might be better off asking Grandpa Simpson.)

But, think about it. Why do guys do anything? Usually, to increase the odds of waking up with someone other than Derringer in the Morning. If you’ve mastered the basics of clothing, hygiene and not making women want to shut your trap with a miter clamp, you may want to take a stab at burnishing that 10’x 10’ chick-repelling hovel you call an apartment. You know why George Clooney could get away with that spartan crash-pad in Up In The Air? It’s because he’s George Clooney. You—as it turns out—are not. So, let’s start from the ground up...

Blast your triceps while diminishing your ego.

Three words: Dirty floors bad. If it’s inherently dangerous for your date to walk barefoot in your apartment, she ain’t takin’ off anything else, Shrek. So, if you don’t have carpet, make sure you’ve at least got a working mop. And, provided you’re not dating Pamela Anderson (sorry, was I laughing?) you might think about grabbing some kind of rug—Ikea’s Liönskiin is affordable. Anything stylish to throw in front of the fire / radiator / oil drum, where you can both enjoy...

...your killer art collection!  Posters don’t have to involve the Delta Tau guys, or various grades of hot sauce to make an impression. 

I think the words were reversed.
There is perfectly viable art out there that’s man enough for your bros, while making you appear semi-intellectual to the ladies. 

Ignore the clichéd stuff like Starry Night and Bulldog with a Busted Flush, but do go retro. Bonus points for anything foreign—especially obscure art films. Russian might seem cool, but every word looks like “Kaopectate”, and you should avoid anything from Germany, circa 1933-1945. My advice? Go French or Italian, and make sure you get the words translated, because you will be asked. 

Limited budget? Hey, less is more. Remember why Europe appealed to Vincent Vega? It’s the “little things”. Example? You know those Petro Canada towels in your bathroom? By all means keep them as shammies for your ‘92 Cavalier. But when a fine guest arrives, even for coffee, you’re going to quietly pull out the good stuff. Soft, plush terry cloth—white as a Rush concert—that will pamper her hands and face while she’s deciding whether or not to stay over.

So simple, even Beavis can use it.
For the same reason, pay attention to your bed sheets. Say you’re innocently showing her your complete Power Rangers Pog collection while she sits on the edge of your bed. If the only thing running through her mind is, “Dear God, please don’t let me get the pneumonic plague from this filthy, queen-sized sheet of grit,” how likely is it that she’s unpacking her toothbrush?

So let’s tally your design acumen with a little quiz. Picture your current abode, and grade yourself accordingly.

You have:
A room divider made of Japanese paper.
A room divider made of empty two-fours and fruit flies.

Scented candles. (+5)
Scented pine trees. (-5)

John Wayne poster. (+5)
John Wayne Gacy poster. (-50)

Shag carpet. (+10)
Shaq carpet (-10)

Describe your everyday eating surface:

Hardwood table, place mat. (+20)
Card table, some poker chips. (+6)
Upside-down KFC bucket on the floor (-10)
Right-side up KFC bucket on the john (-30)

 A place in your house where three people can sit is called a:
“Chesterfield” (+10)
“Sofa” (+7)
“Couch” (+5)
“Thing you picked up off the curb that was smouldering a little” (-10)
The lighting in your bedroom is best described as:
Warm, subdued, and easily dimmed. (20)
Clean, energy efficient, yet slightly cool. (5)
Fruit cellar in Psycho. (-10)

60-80 points: Looking good, sport. Consider a zen garden?
40-60 points: Might want to snag a few issues of Real Simple.
0-40 points: Please never contact my daughter.