Sea captains refer to their ships as “she”, but I wonder what they call their houses? Without a doubt, home décor will always reflect which set of chromosomes is making the household decisions. Some places swing wildly from side to side; others walk the middle path. Take a good look at your house.
Is it a boy or a girl?
To understand what I mean, watch a couple shopping for a new house. Aren’t their priorities different? Which features are their hot buttons? It’s important to know because it affects the home-buying decision as well as the décor.
A dead giveaway of male gender is leather furniture. Men love leather … preferably distressed leather. Show a man three or more metres of leather sofa and you’ve got his attention. I personally own more than one leather sofa roughly the size of aircraft carriers. For a man, the big leather sofa “anchors” the house. Oversize leather chairs are also man furniture-candy. And a big leather lazy-boy recliner … kryptonite!
Persian or oriental rugs are also a man thing. Have you ever seen such a rug look effeminate? Even in pastel colors, the pattern and design is usually regimented and uniform … male. Most oriental rugs are in bold masculine colors like red. Not surprisingly, they look good with leather furniture.
Many times you’ll see said leather furniture in a “man-cave”. That’s the modern vernacular for a “big boy tree-house”. My grandpa used to call it his “den”. Bookshelves … big TVs … pool tables … video game consoles … these are the telltale signs of a “man-cave”. If a home has a bar, it is a boy. Said bar will normally be located in the “man-cave”. Wine cellars are by definition man-caves. For many bachelors living here in Pattaya, their entire domicile is a man-cave.
A spillover from the man-cave is the “media room”. That’s what we now call the place where the audio-visual penis-extenders are located. Watch a couple walk into a house and see where they go first. Invariably, a man will walk to the spot designated as living area and figure out where the TV will go. Most men want to visualize themselves enjoying sports or action movies on a gigantic flat screen with movie stars running away from explosions … preferably while reclining on their big leather couch.
Unlike the man-cave, the media room is a place all visitors will see. The electronic equipment needs to be displayed properly and given its due respect. If a house has a built-in entertainment center, it is a boy. Tastes change from wood-tone media storage facilities to slick high-gloss mini-theatres, but make no mistake the entertainment center is man’s domain. Houses with no TV are either girls or eunuchs.
One household I recently visited boasted the ultimate male media extravaganza … two big flat screens in one living room. The head of the household rationalized this approach by saying he and his sons needed two screens. I actually witnessed him watching his favorite rugby team while the boys were playing video games; male bonding at its best … no girls aloud in that room.
Female traits in a house usually revolve around practicality; rooms that “work” for the family like the kitchen or bathrooms. Just like men claim the living room as their realm, women will always take it upon themselves to evaluate and dominate the kitchen. It doesn’t matter if they can cook or not … it is wired into their DNA. Most women visualize themselves preparing food in the kitchen, or entertaining in a dining room. Mostly they seem concerned about the size of the kitchen and eating area relative to the size of the house. Is the kitchen too small? Is it too big? Again, it’s the functionality gene.
Similarly, women will always scrutinise bathrooms more than a man. Show ten couples the same house and ask the man later if it has a bathtub; I’d estimate that only two will remember. Show a woman a master bathroom that has two sinks and she starts smiling. Combine it with separate showers and vanity areas and she starts mentally placing her beauty products. Women will tolerate a man in their bathroom, but they prefer separate facilities. Walk into an en-suite bathroom of a master bedroom and you’ll immediately know who is running the show.
If a house has a walk-in closet, it is a girl. This trait is part practicality and part extravagance. Women worry about storage and they notice when there isn’t enough. Again visualization plays a role. When a woman sees a stand-alone wardrobe they instinctively know it won’t hold all their clothes. When they see a big walk-in wardrobe, they envision filling it with more stuff.
For the ladies, a “wardrobe dream” is where they can see all of their clothes at once. But, if you want your house to sell to a woman, I’ve got two words for you … “shoe cabinet”. A well-made high-volume shoe cabinet is to a woman what the lazy-boy lounger is to a man.
Some features of a home can send mixed signals; take a Jacuzzi for instance. Men like Jacuzzis because they evoke playboy-esque images. One can only imagine the visualization that goes on in their mind. For men, it’s all about the size of the Jacuzzi, the power of the jets, and the lighting. For men a Jacuzzi is equivalent to a sexy power boat. Women also love this feature as a personal extravagance. They envision themselves sipping on a cold glass of chardonnay, bubbling away with some exotic bath salts and listening to Sade. For women, the Jacuzzi is all about intimacy and view. Both sexes are attracted to this feature for different reasons, so it is hard to draw any conclusions about a house’s gender when you see a Jacuzzi.
One household feature that will most certainly have a gender is the bed. If you see a leather headboard, it’s a boy. The same goes for waterbeds, beds with ball and claw feet and big four poster wooden beds.
Brass beds are girls; as are any beds with canopies or materials draped above it like mosquito netting, silk, etc. A big masculine wooden bed with a canopy is still a girl. Beds that are high off the ground are preferred by women while men prefer to be closer to the floor. Murphy beds are boys … daybeds are girls.
Visitors to my first home in Pattaya were often confused about its gender. I had tons of leather furniture, an oriental rug, a ridiculous audio-visual system and a sea view Jacuzzi. On the other hand I had a giant American kitchen, his-and-her showers, two walk-in wardrobes and a big shoe cabinet. Nobody could tell if my place was a boy or a girl.
Then again, we’re used to that sensation here in Thailand aren’t we?
By Bart Walters