Much has been made of the “metrosexual” male in recent popular culture publications. Such a man, while heterosexual and unabashedly so, gives much attention to traditionally feminine categories such as dress, appearance, and decoration. Now, I give some attention to the first two (sometimes too much), but I can happily say that I rank terribly in the final category.
I have searched far and wide within my DNA and found no trace of a decorating gene. It simply does not exist. I have no propensity for adornment of my living space. In fact, I have the opposite tendency. I desire to not adorn. Want proof? In my bedroom, the only space I control, I have a total of three decorative artifacts. All were sent to me by my wonderful mother, she of the would-be domesticizing department, and all are calendars. Sadly, all are from 2005. One is a small hand-size monthly calendar from my hometown savings bank. One is a “Maine Snapshots” calendar, set to some month that has a particularly beautiful shot of a Maine lake. The last is a calendar from my beloved alma mater, Bowdoin College. It reminds me to pray for my school. So this is the full substance, the glorious dressing, of my abode. I’m actually surprised that I took the time to put these particular calendars up.
What motivates my failure to decorate? Perhaps I can explain by looking briefly into the male psyche as personified by me. In terms of living space, I have no gene for form. Instead, I am focused totally on function. At this point in my life, namely, singleness, all that matters in terms of living space is that it enables me to do what I need to do: find clothes, store tax documents, and attain some measure of rest each night. This is all that matters to me right now. There is no one to impress, few guests to entertain, and my quality of life improves very, very little if I put up a picture of some scene or person. There is so much else that actually matters, that actually needs attention, that the coverings of my wall matter not at all. For all this, I am unapologetic. I am a man. Men do not decorate. In their living space, men do things. They don’t gaze at things or coo or cluck. Of course, many of us await a civilizing influence, a decorating impulse. We’re happy to have it. But we don’t need it. We’re spartan, we’re focused on functionality, and we’re unapologetic. That, friends, is beautiful. Do let me know if you have old calendars that might make good wall coverings, though.