Wednesday, October 19, 2005

My Molly Ringwald Moment

If you were at all breathing during the eighties, you'll remember the scene: Molly Ringwald on the library floor in The Breakfast Club. Judd Nelson taunting her about her sexual status, and her finally giving in (to telling, not doing) and shouting, "Okay! I never did it!"

I am about to have a similar moment.

The other day, I walked a friend through my house to show off some changes. As we ascended the staircase, she noticed I'd added to my collection of gold framed prints and asked if the new ones were newly bought. I said no, that I'd always had them, and just added them to the wall because the frames matched.

"I don't care much for gold frames," I added. "But I already had them."

She responded with suggestions for spray painting the frames and I shrugged it off. "Too much work."

Okay. Here goes. While I still think it would be a lot of work, after much introspection I realized: I don't mind the gold frames as much as I think I do.

This is a big moment for me. Bear with me.

I love to decorate. I buy a lot of decorating magazines, I switch furniture around constantly. My husband says living in our house is like playing musical chairs, because he never really knows where the chairs will actually be at any given moment. Anyway.

I buy the mags, I discuss it with friends. I surf the net. Hell, I married my husband. I keep seeing and hearing these words: clean, modern lines. Not chenille; cotton. Not gold; platinum (or, if you really must slum, silver). Contemporary. Crate and Barrel over Bassett. And then there's me.

I don't like it! I don't like modern! I don't want a tassel free life!

I prefer silver frames, but I like gold ones. I like braided trim. And Persian rugs. Silk curtains...no, excuse me: draperies. Give me fringe on the edge of my carpets, and a table with turned legs. Does it come from a thrift store? All the better. I'll take your grandmother's lace edged napkins and love them properly.

While I strongly prefer clean lines (furniture should have limited swooping and swirling. To hell with Queen Anne), I like to play dress up. I am, I'm afraid, traditional.

I don't know why this surprises me. I've never been able to carry fads (although I still defend the existence of the poncho). My hair looks best in essentially the same style it looked good in ten years ago, as long as I make the applicable, up to date tweaks. My pants were long and boot cut way before that became the 'in' thing, and I'm rarely found in sneakers. When it comes to style, I am tennis whites. Always appropriate, never really shocking.

I've fought this. I want to be original and shocking. Not in a Marilyn Manson kind of way, but perhaps a Gwen Stefani type. I want to embrace my own sense of style and run with it, but when I try to deviate from the first thing that catches my eye, I make mistakes.

There was the time I decided that the long boots/capri pants look was something I should try. I looked ridiculous. The resident gay man at work told me I looked ridiculous. "Go put on a suit," he said, dismissing me with rolling eyes.

There are the multiple times that something in TJMaxx's Home Decor section will catch my eye, and I will bring it home to find out it sticks out like a hammer smashed thumb. I have slowly learned to stick with what I do best: building a home in the Ralph Lauren vein, and enjoying the Kate Spade look when I do my window shopping.

The official name for my style is Transitional. Transitional means "a person who likes traditional items married a person who doesn't." There is, thankfully, a whole slew of products to choose from to live in this fashion (and avoid divorce). If you come to my house, that's what you'll find.

And if you open the closet or go into the attic, you'll find everything else. :)

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