Sunday, December 8, 2013

"Quick and Easy Room Updates", they lied. "Ombre Paint Your Bedroom", they cried.

I just listened to Jean Kilbourne speak intelligently about women and their unrealistic portrayal in advertising. And while I never tire of seeing how many ways we can airbrush murderous scenes of  naked women drinking beer from a cock while being lanced with a stiletto heel to the neck, I have to say, I've noticed a more disturbing trend, in the trafficking of unrealistic house porn to those who lay in bed, predated upon by Pinterest and Buzzfeed.

Cheerfully recommending that I ombre paint is not that different from sex trafficking. Both prey on the innocent, the gullible, the naivet√© of it's victims.  Both lead to the demoralization of prey for predatory profit.

If I were to Ombre paint my bedroom, as they suggest, using shades of the same color from darkest to lightest, first I'd have to clean it. Which is not, in itself, unreasonable. But in my case, it involves the solving of too many little problems that I have neither the money, nor the creative mojo to solve.

We're all stupidly busy. Who gives a shit, am I right?  Indeed. But then don't talk to me about Ombre painting my bedroom as if the only thing that stands between me and it's painterly perfection is the nourishment of an organic kale salad. There is no Amish family of helpers awaiting my call to bucket and brush.

Ombre paint the bedroom, they mock.

I would have to detangle the cords, and look under the bed. Wipe down my bedside tables, move the dog crate and find a place for that burg of papers. I'd have to locate a proper light source, and in the meantime fix the vacuum to get up all the dust, which collects like mohair on the edges of the rug. There are cups that need to go downstairs and probably a cereal bowl under precious' side of the bed.

I'd have to drive to Home Depot, probably with my kids, who will squabble and want things that are bad for them, but I'll have to buy them in order to have the time to pick out the eight or ten shades this project requires.  Nothing could go wrong there. Needing to pick five chromatically gradated shades of a color that will look good in the very poor lighting of my bedroom is definitely in the wheelhouse of someone pressed for time and away from home without their reading glasses.

I'll have to move the king-sized bed, with the too many wrong-sized blankets, probably without help,  dragging it and leaning it against a wall in the very narrow hallway. When everything is out of the room and my paint shades are lined up, each with their designated pan, roller and brush. When all the tarps that I've remembered to purchase are laid out on the floor, then I will begin the painting and edge-blurring of the darkest color, nearest the floor. That will dissolve, no doubt beautifully, into the next color, which I will have picked like a suburban Renoir from the Martha Stewart collection - her collusion continuing with the sadistic proffering of false hope.  All these colors will blend and morph like clouds being blown apart by a gentle zephyr. And then, my too hastily purchased matchstick shades will miraculously turn into perfect window treatments and my bedding will respond in kind.

When I have humped every dilapidated, overused piece of shit from the hallway back into my bedroom, and I've touched every rubber band, orphaned penny and broken bit of headphone. When I've heaved four bags of trash into the already overfilled can, then I will be at my leisure to make dinner for everyone while the paint dries.

The ripple effect of this project will have resonated throughout the house and the kids will have taken the opportunity, while my attention was diverted, to use every dish from the cupboards and leave them like a derelict easter egg hunt about the house and in the sink. Chocolate-milk glasses and petrified cereal will make it impossible for me to make dinner without first drill-sargeanting the children through a clean-up or angrily cleaning it up myself. Both options equally disheartening and momentum killing. I will be exhausted by this point and my weak back will begin to moan in despair. I will be cranky. Really, very cranky and un-fun. My sense of humor will have been abandoned somewhere in the checkout line of the Home Depot hours earlier. The guilt of being the un-fun one will begin to seep into my cell structure. I will steep in regret.

By this time I will see what a horrible mistake I've made in paint colors, the winter light having anemically petered out of my bedroom, revealing the harsh borders, the garish blending of my misguided paint-choices.

To suggest airily that this is a room "fix" is the meanest, most mocking, finger wagging hoax I can imagine. The fix is in, that much I know. The "fix" for this room is to make it a room belonging to someone else entirely. Someone who has control over their environment, either with money, or personnel, or lots and lots of free time. And the only people who really, truly deserve such rooms are the people who have none of those things and probably never will.

I am old enough and formed enough to see beneath the veil of sexism.  But the promise of symmetry  and order in the home is a reckless pimp whose false betrothal lures me still. I'm am drawn to the airbrushed beauty of fruit bowls and thoughtful display, repurposed filing systems, boots at attention and hats all in a row on up-cycled hooks made from doorknobs.

The bedroom is a sanctuary. Insofar as it receives my wrecked, humiliated body in a tangle of ancient pillows and yellowed sheets at the end of the day. In its humble, familiar embrace I can rely. With its arms around me I can further peruse the images that make me resent it more deeply, as I sink into a drooling slumber.


  1. ALWAYS happy to see a new post from you. Fantastical reality!

  2. After an endless brutal day of shopping with her children my grandmother rested a moment against the elevator wall, eyes closed. One of the children kept nagging at her. An elderly passenger remarked, "I always think it's nice to answer their little questions." Ombre that!

  3. Pinterest is worse for my self-esteem than any fashion mag. Mason jar chandelier, anyone?

  4. how did I miss this one?? I am roaring in my cluttered, hellish mess of an office. love the image of being pecked to death by hens. but all of this is perfect. you are a genius, as I have said many, many times. xoxoxo

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