Is That a GOOD Naked?

Randy and I got together nearly five years ago. (By "got together," I suppose I mean that we started spending time together and couldn't stop talking, so decided to make the conversation lifelong. It has been an awesome idea!)  At the time he owned a fairly large house, and I lived in a small apartment but was renting a storage space for the belongings I had kept from my previous ownership of a larger home. So when he and I moved into our 900-square foot fixer-upper together after our relocation, we had an issue: The nearly 2000-square feet worth of my home furnishings and decor and the nearly 3000-square feet of his were vying for very limited space. And it isn't as though either of us were pack rats. Accustomed to moving frequently, I made sure each time to be selective and only keep those items that I really cared about. And Randy's house had been tastefully furnished in an almost minimalist style. Fortunately, we were temporarily able to keep most of it in our (very) unfinished basement space at the time. Even more fortunately, three years and many renovations later, our home now houses closer to 2000-square feet and is just about complete, so we finally have the ability to start getting settled. We have been enjoying dusting off and arranging our long-stored belongings in an effort to personalize our new spaces.

BEFORE:

AFTER!
 

I am thrilled to be at the details stage! I love making a house a home. I so enjoy picking colors and art and just the right touches to create a restful-yet-invigorating, intimate, restorative setting. But now we are challenged with something we have been wondering about and delaying for several years: How can we possibly combine our different styles into a coherent one? While Randy's style is almost completely contemporary, mine is what I like to call... Hmm. What do I like to call it, again? Multiculturally-inspired, updated classic, I suppose. Which can also be considered eclectic, it turns out… and the word "eclectic" makes Randy nervous. He even dared recently use it synonymously with "cluttered." (This did not go well.)  I insisted that my style is not cluttered, it is sensual!  I use lots of fabrics and different textures, a balance of elements according to Feng Shui (thanks to a very thoughtful coffee table book gift from my friend Jamie several years ago!), a broad palette of colors, and I never forget aromas (candles, incense, essential oils, etc.).  I would find trying to rigidly fit every object that I consider beautiful and meaningful into one specific stylistic category incredibly stifling.  But I will admit that having to "filter my decorative choices through" (translation: "get permission from") Randy before making them semi-permanent does maintain a bit more aesthetic order than we would have otherwise.

But if having to spend months explaining to Randy the difference between cluttered and multicultural/casually classic/sensual earns me patience points, Randy has had opportunities to earn some as well.  He was very reasonable when I called his expensive, oil-rubbed bronze, Art Deco-style statuettes “porn chicks.”  He calmly explained that they are not “porn chicks,” they are expensive, oil-rubbed bronze, Art Deco-style statuettes! Me? “Cool. Can I please make some little sarongs to cover up their boobs?”  I actually do like their style - they inspire images of Greek or Roman goddesses - but their legs are quite intimidating in length… And, exactly as Randy did when I wanted to buy a painting of a mermaid for the Peter Pan nursery, I was able to ask, “Is that an empowering image for our daughter?”

After discussing it, I decided that because we reject the fact that our culture demonizes nudity while embracing violence, we can display art that contains a certain amount of nudity, as long as we are comfortable that it is not doing so in an overly-sexualized manner (it must be child-friendly!) or in a way that objectifies women. Because while the human form can be portrayed artistically, I do not like the popular idea that the female body is inherently artistic; women are individuals, not art or objects.  Another thing I am going to have to do to be comfortable with keeping these too-expensive-and-nice-to-part-with ladies is display additional art that portrays beautiful women who are not quite so thin, for balance.  So I am currently seeking a painting that similarly portrays at least one extremely full-figured, beautiful woman. But then, the house is going to be full of naked women! Which could quickly get weird...

As if these were not enough details (Did I say I love details? What was I thinking?) to arrange, we then moved on to my next concern: Are these statuettes going to make guests uncomfortable?  Nudity is often - however unintentionally - automatically associated with sex.  And I do not want new friends, who I would like to feel comfortable in our home and with Randy and I, to walk in and think, “Why are there porn chicks on the fireplace mantle?” Randy’s response was, “How uptight do you think our new friends are going to be?”  I don’t think someone has to be terribly uptight to feel confused when, immediately upon entry into our living room, the Ancient Goddess of Time (or the Naked Chick Clock, depending upon your perspective) unavoidably displays her obnoxiously trim butt directly at eye level.
 
Despite the traditional interpretation of the act, when Randy and I got married we didn’t believe we were two becoming one.  We still gladly see ourselves as two separate individuals.  Two separate individuals who really dig each other and want to share our lives or, although worded more crassly then I would have put it, like Mac from the movie Juno said, “Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out your ass.  That's the kind of person that's worth sticking with.”  That’s the kind of person worth sharing a life with!  For me, that person is Randy.  Sharing a life means sharing a home, and finding ways to artistically represent our separate personalities, interests, and experiences as well as our identity as a couple and our family memories is a fun and never-ending project.  I have no desire to rid our house of the things that have always made Randy cool and unique even if I would not have chosen them myself, and he is just as respectful of the things that matter to me.  Actually, eventually even items that used to feel entirely like the other’s develop some personal meaning as well; several years into this journey, the Dia de los Muertos-style skeleton that I once considered morbid now seems life affirming, and the china cabinet I inherited from my grandmother – that Randy originally declared as being in contrast to the style he had in mind for our new home – I recently spied as having been thoughtfully included in his sketched plans for our future kitchen.  The little things – the "details" – really do matter.
 
- Sarah
 
 
Sarah Grace shares simplification, parenting and other lifestyle insights at lifeflipping.net

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