Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Psycho Babble About Furniture

This is absolutely the last time I will ever write about IFA (Intermittent Furniture Anxiety). I promise. I’m finally over it. That’s because IFA has now evolved into FGS (Furniture Guilt Syndrome). After the not-at-all-gently-used furniture fiasco of a couple of weeks ago, B stepped in and took the matter in hand. I know that does not sound good, because A) it makes me seem helpless and blithering, and B) the last we heard, B was of the opinion that a good place to look for furniture for me would be the Children’s Department at Sears (or similar).

We have very different approaches to buying furniture. My approach is to wander into all furniture stores I happen to stumble across and hope that the ideal chair will present itself to me and that some sort of epiphany will occur and I will know--without a shadow of doubt--that I have just found the perfect chair. So far, this approach has not produced results--at least not good ones. B’s approach involves intensive Internet research to determine which style of chair would be suitable and in which local furniture stores such chairs can be found. Very systematic and male.

Over the past two weekends, we spent a lot of time furniture shopping at places I would have previously never even considered. We spotted filmmaker Gus Van Sant at one of them, just to give you an idea of how out of place I felt. But gradually I came around to the idea that we were going to have to spend some rather serious money to get what I wanted. (Ugh! I just hate the way that sounds. So materialistic and consumerish!) B’s totally fine with spending the money, even though the chair will be almost exclusively sat in by me. I, however, have a major problem justifying it.

B and I are actually fairly frugal people. For example, we have only one car between us, a seemingly immortal 1989 Honda Civic. Because I'm self-employed, I almost never buy clothes. And until now, we’ve never spent much money on furniture. Our house is sparsely furnished with furniture from flea markets, garage sales, and discount furniture warehouses.

But last night we actually went ahead and ordered an actual piece of grown-up furniture. I know I’ll be 100% happy with it, but after we walked out of the store, I was in such a state that it was necessary to immediately go eat some BBQ ribs and pecan pie so I could collect myself. Even after the eating the therapeutic ribs, I couldn’t stop babbling to B about all of the justifications and rationales cited above (and more that I needn’t bore you with). B told me not to feel guilty about it, remarking that he knows my mom drilled it into me that one shouldn’t spend money on oneself.

And I think that’s what’s at the heart of all this FGS. Without ever saying it point blank, my mom believed that and she set an incredibly nonhypocritical example. All her clothes were from garage sales, she stopped driving a car sometime while I was in high school and got around town in all weathers on a beater of a bike. She always bought marked-down produce and discounted dented cans. When she could she’d harvest windfall fruit from the neighbors’ yards and can it. She couldn't bear to see food wasted. It was actually pretty admirable of her, but it was extreme. Right? And even though I believed I hadn't really bought into that line of thinking, I guess, subconsciously, I have to a certain extent.

B jokingly told me to try to be more like my dad, the quintessential early adopter, who always pays top dollar for technology that has not yet been perfected and never thinks twice about it. I’d like to think that I could find a happy medium between the two extremes of my parents. Surely consumer habits aren’t really genetic.

6 Comments:

Blogger Sharon said...

Wow, you found "the" chair and got out of a comfort zone. Three cheers!

I spent a year "finding" the right sofa. When I did, I called home to tell the hubby when it was to be delivered. A friend of his was there and could not believe I found a sofa (and the shop was out of town), bought it and never asked my ex if it was O.K.

8:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We do become our mothers don't we?
Chilling thought.
~Kismet!

8:49 AM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

Sharon,

Getting out of my comfort zone--that's a good way of putting a positive spin on it. I used to never consult B on purchases of home stuff (shower curtains, lamps, etc.) because in the past he hasn't cared much about it. But after all this, he's developed an interest in it. We were watching a movie set in 19th century England the other night and he kept commenting on the furniture and how it would or wouldn't go in our house. I never thought I'd see the day!

Kismet!

So true! I can only imagine I'd be even more like her if we had kids. She never let us watch much TV or eat sweets. At the time, I thought those were horrible, unfair rules, but now I think she was right!

9:26 AM  
Blogger Rusty said...

My wife doesn't feel furniture guilt syndrome. When we bought our house, she promptly engaged in yet another round of furniture acquisition, and out of it we got a new Pottery Barn bar, a Dania leather chair, an "antique" (read "crappy used") picnic table from House Dressing (as well as a photo of Venice my wife loved too much to pass up), and a dining room table and chairs.

I wish she were able to feel guilt about new furniture. Or that I was less of a tightwad.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

Sharon,

Getting outside my comfort zone--that's putting a positive spin on it! I like that. I don't think there's anything wrong with not getting a spouse's "permission" to buy furniture. Some spouses just don't care that much about those sorts of things. B was more or less that way until recently. Now he's totally into it. We were watching a movie set in 19th-century England the other night and B kept making comments about the furniture!

Kismet!

Too true. I'm sure my resemblance to my mother would be even more pronounced if I had kids. My mom didn't let us watch much TV or eat many sweets. At the time I thought she was being cruel and unfair. Now, I think she was totally right.

2:49 PM  
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11:25 AM  

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