This is a trout.
More specifically, this is my husband’s prized trout. Weighing in at 10.85 lbs, it was caught on a Penn 610 reel with 30 lb. test, which, by the way, is heavier line than one would normally use for trout. You see, my husband had actually intended to catch a snook on that particular day, and ended up with a monster trout instead.
OMG, Tammy, why on earth do you know all this?! I know all this because Snaggletooth here has been hanging on my wall, in every home we’ve lived in, for the last fifteen years. I am part of a group of women friends whose husbands are avid fishermen, divers, and surfers, and who have learned to live with and yes, even love (sort of) (but don’t tell anyone that) the fish stories and the taxidermed trophies of humongous fish and giant crustaceans (that’s a fancy word for lobsters) that go along with them. For most of our marriage, I have lovingly referred to it as “every interior designer’s worst nightmare.” But I have a slightly different and more forgiving take on it now.
Agh! You say. Why don’t you put that thing out of sight? Put it in the Man Room!
The Man Room. You know, the Man Room. It’s that running joke between you and all your girlfriends. It’s that room in your house where you put the not-quite-ready-for-primetime accessories, the leftover wall décor from your college dorm room that you just can’t part with, your partner’s collection of… (Fill in the blank with all that ugly kitschy stuff that you thought was so cute when you first met but now that you’re respectable won’t dare show in public). It’s that room in your house where your husband’s personality resides, along with his balls.
Remember that movie Juno? The married couple that was supposed to adopt Juno’s baby, played by Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman, lived in a beautiful home. It was truly lovely: manicured lawn, located in an affluent neighborhood. Every room was so elegant, classy, and tailored. And also sterile and lifeless. The most fascinating and authentic room in the house was the husband’s “room”, where he kept his guitars and music collection and obscure movies, and the only place where his wife allowed these things to exist. It was a little grungy, but it was where he felt the most at home and at ease in his entire house.
Shouldn’t every room of your house make you feel that way? (Not grungy, but at home and at ease.) You may always have your favorite nook, spot, or hideaway in your house, but it should be because it contains a higher proportion of all your favorite things and not because you were banished there. And a little “quirky” combined with your really awesome (and all grown-up) furnishings goes a long way to keeping your home authentic and real.
Now I do have my limits. (Hmmm, maybe I should create a list?) Autographed and framed-for-display sports paraphernalia, for instance, does not belong in your dining room, or your bedroom for that matter. If there’s no sensible and tasteful way to work it into your décor, put it in storage or bequeath it to your favorite 10-year old. (In case you think I have no experience with this, I will make an embarrassing admission. I had a life-size cardboard stand-up of Boba Fett from Star Wars- The Empire Strikes Back- an original one from 1981- that I just couldn’t part with until pretty recently. And yes, it was mine, and I am still a very proud Star Wars fan. I finally did gift it to a wide-eyed and astonished-at-his-good-fortune 10-year old son of a close friend. It is now enjoying a second life in this boy’s Star Wars-themed bedroom, and I can visit Boba Fett whenever I want.)
It’s best to get an objective third party to help with combining you and your partner’s furnishings and belongings, whether you’ve just gotten married and are setting up a new household, or even if you’ve been together for a while and need to reassess your living quarters. Just not your mother. Or your partner’s mother.
Anyway, back to Mr. Trout here. I’ve found ways to work it into my décor, willingly and gladly. It takes moxie, and some confidence. It’s not because I love mounted fish. I don’t, but what I do love is seeing my husband’s eyes light up whenever someone asks where it came from and how he caught it. That, my friends, is what makes a house into a home. So bring your husband out of exile. Let your home show off the personality traits that make you and your partner the really cool people that you are, and ask for assistance if you’re not sure where to draw the line between “quirky and cool” and tacky.
What crazy thing have you incorporated into your décor that breaks the rules, flexes your moxie muscle and just seems to work? Be brave, and share it. If I can own up to Boba Fett, you really have nothing to fear.