I’m no fool.
(I’ll let that laughter die down for a moment…)
I know that all advertisements are, essentially, lies. I know that the perfume, the Michael Kors satchel, the pricey face cream won’t change my life, make me any more attractive or bring me sexual satisfaction. I know that those actresses on magazine covers don’t really look like that. I’m aware that I’m being sold a bill of goods.
I pass over ads in magazines with pouty and enhanced women selling all sorts of items I don’t think I would ever consider buying. Tag Heuer ad? Yawn. Coach purse? Please. Designer frocks? Get.Real.
(Nevermind that advertisers are hip to the attitudes of me and my ilk. Practically everything in any magazine you touch is an ad – almost every column writer has a book they’re selling, and every ‘Look What We Found!’ segment is just a more wordy version of a photo spread for cosmetics and accessories.)
All this to say that I’m savvy about this reality-twisting up to a point. What gets me every time is a picture like this:
Humunah, humunah, humunah. Hellloooooo, gorgeous.
The self-flagellating reaction that some women have to a picture on a magazine cover (Why can’t I look like that?), is what I have to these home photos (Why can’t my house look like that?).
There are as many (if not more) blogs and magazines out there devoted to making your home a picture-perfect, gorgeous haven as there are blogs and magazines devoted to making you picture-perfect and gorgeous. Since I’ve gotten over the illusion of perfection for my body, I find it interesting that I can’t let go of the illusion of perfection for my home.
I lurve, lurrrrve the pictures above. The colors, the light-washed rooms, the feeling of richness and ease… Ahhhhh. And I’ve actually been foolish enough to think, ‘Yeah, if I buckle down and save 20% of our income over the next year and somehow change all of my cleaning habits, and get rid of the black-haired dog – I can have rooms in my life that look just like that! YEAH!’
This is as logical and as likely to happen as pigs gaining wings, but every few months, I find myself staring at the rooms in our house and thinking, hmmmm, how expensive would it really be to reupholster our couches in vintage distressed leather…? And the kids rooms really are a disaster, in spite of my attempts to decorate them – wouldn’t they be so much more classy if they looked like Gavin’s Winning Woodsy Nursery?
When the ‘perfect home’ fever passes, it’s my turn to laugh. I have dark-colored rugs and upholstery because I have two kids who spill stuff and the aforementioned black dog who sheds a lot. (Some women wouldn’t let that slow them from owning light-colored furniture, but those women are much, much more devoted to cleaning than I am.) I would love that light-filled bathroom, but my husband is a bit paranoid about privacy, so our windows stay shuttered most of the time. And I would rather die a thousand deaths than try to keep a white bathroom in pristine condition.
And honestly, those rooms are just as made up and Photoshopped as that Ralph Lauren ad where the model’s head is bigger than her hips. You know what every single one of those rooms that I sigh over is missing?
People living in them.
I don’t need a model’s body – I don’t need a model home, either. But I won’t give up a portion of dreaming – I’m still looking for juuuust the right thing to hang on that blank space on the wall behind the couch.