The Luv Doc: Crap Taste
The sweet deliverance of blissful apathy
Dear Luv Doc,
My husband and I dated for two years before we moved in together, and then another two before we got married. Last October, after five years of living in the same apartment, we decided to stop paying rent and buy a house because we both finally landed decent jobs. We settled on a nice fixer-upper in South Austin and since then I have been finding out that my husband – who is the love of my life – has crap taste. Yes, I know there were signs. He shops almost exclusively at thrift stores and the furniture he brought when we moved in together was stuff he had inherited from old roommates, so I just figured he didn't care. Now that we have a new house, we are trying to decorate and buy new furniture to make it nice and we are fighting about everything. I had no idea he has such strong opinions about interior design. I want him to be comfortable with what we choose, but if I give in and let him have his way, our house will be full of rustic pine furniture and bookshelves full of thrift store bric-a-brac. Oh, and the house is midcentury modern. What do I do? Is divorce the only option?
I have it on reasonably good intel that if you just stick it out for roughly 80 more years, you won't have to file for divorce. Now, I'm not saying that people's taste will have evolved enough to suit your elevated standards by then, but rather that when you're on a morphine drip in hospice, you probably won't care. To paraphrase the King of Punk Funk, "Morphine's a helluva drug!" (No, really. It's a total fucking godsend for people who feel too much, which is why you should avoid it at all costs unless you've just been fragged by a mortar round.)
There have been plenty of times when the sweet deliverance of blissful apathy would have been just the ticket for me. For instance, if I could have dropped out for the entire decade of the Seventies design- and fashion-wise, I wouldn't have complained. The whole aesthetic of the Seventies was, "Whatever you want to do, just as long as it doesn't show dirt." You can whitewash/sugarcoat it all you want, but beauty and symmetry took a decadelong smoke break in the Seventies.
Crazily, that nauseating decade continues to hump the leg of American design to this day. If you don't believe me, just take a look at the paint job on any new apartment complex/chain hotel in the last 10 years. It always looks like some painter with ADHD went to a fire sale on earth-toned paints and passed the savings along. One wall is mustard, another wall is babyshit brown, and then there's an inexplicable strip between those two that's either a horrible khaki, rust, or that unholy union of gray and green that just started showing up on certain cars and trucks sold to people who are colorblind.
When you see the outside of one of these shitstacks, you think, "Well, maybe they redeemed themselves with the interior." Fat chance, my friend. Nine times out of 10, they go all in. The bathroom tile in my last hotel room looked like someone saved a lot of money by unburdening themselves of the task of matching tile colors. To their credit, at least the grout was a uniform brownish gray, which was the only visual respite from the clusterfuck of dull earth tones and brutishly simple geometry. One bright note is that I am sure the housecleaning staff feels greatly relieved that when a guest smears shit on the wall, the next guest is unlikely to even notice. The pièce de résistance at this place was the use of a rock as a soap dish. No. Not making that up. Somebody actually sold that fucking idea.
The point is, it's a scary world out there, design-wise. It's bad enough that your husband wants that stuff, but it's even worse that people are out there actually making it. Those people are preying on your husband's bad taste like a dealer on a junkie. It's unconscionable, but here's the thing: There is probably no one on the planet in a better position to lead him to the light than you. Slowly, gently, with love and compassion, share with him the true beauty you see in the world. If he still clings insistently to his crap taste, divorce him. It will cost you way less than a heroin habit.