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A lady’s boudoir exposed

Nov. 2, 2009

by Ivan Raconteur

A lady’s boudoir is the one room in her home where she tries against all odds to preserve a shred of romance in her life through carefully chosen décor.

This may not be true for all women, but it must be said that the female of the species seems much more predisposed to this type of behavior than men.

This is not to say that women don’t make their mark in other rooms throughout the home.

They might install whimsical decorations in the living room, fancy trinkets in the bath, and even populate the garden with gnomes and plastic birds.

It is in the bedroom, though, where a woman really tries to maintain the illusion that the pot-bellied, malodorous lout to whom she pledged her troth is still a white knight on a steed, and the romance has not flown out of their relationship like the swallows heading for Capistrano.

Some women attempt to create this romantic atmosphere by introducing rich fabrics and colors, and turning the bedroom into more of a gallery than a mere chamber in which to catch 40 winks.

If they are doing this for the men in their lives, they may be missing the mark.

Men have very simple requirements when it comes to bedroom décor. It was probably a man who invented the sleeping bag. That is really all we need to get us through the night. As a matter of fact, I knew a bachelor who used a sleeping bag on his bed up until the summer he got engaged.

Generally speaking, in the bedroom, we men enjoy a comfortable bed, and maybe a hook on which we can hang our britches at the end of a long day.

If we are sharing a closet with a woman, we are accustomed to being allowed only a small sliver of space in which to stow our gear.

Anything beyond that is superfluous.

Some women’s ideas about bedroom decorations harken back to a mythical time around the period when King Arthur was conducting business around a circular table.

It should be noted that this was an age before central heating, and living in a damp and drafty castle requires different accoutrements than are needed in the average suburban rambler.

In Arthur’s day, cold stone floors made rugs essential.

Drafty windows invited the installation of drapes made of heavy fabrics.

A multitude of blankets on the bed helped keep off the chill after the fire died down.

These things were not romantic notions at the time, they were practical ways for people to deal with their environment.

I was recently passing the time with some acquaintances when I heard a report that revealed how one couple handled the bedroom decoration issue.

The chairman leaned back in his chair and began his narrative.

“My wife went to an auction and picked up a load of fancy bedding,” he began. “She brought it all home and had the place all decked out like a palace or something.”

The wife in question had explained her good fortune, noting that the gear she purchased would have cost more than $1,500 if she had purchased it in a store, and she only paid $100.

She set to work installing dust ruffles, duvet covers, and pillow shams, all things that men know nothing about.

Then she installed the fancy bedspread.

The finishing touch was a collection of about seven or eight pillows in assorted shapes and sizes, which she placed strategically on the bed.

“At first, it was like a showplace. She would have all of her friends over, and she would parade them through there and tell them all about it, and about what a good deal she got,” the chairman commented.

“Every night we had to clear all this stuff off the bed, because, of course you couldn’t sleep with it on there,” he added, with a touch of what might, in a less devoted husband, have passed for exasperation. “It was made of some fancy material, and it was all dry-clean only.”

“Every night we would throw it all in the corner of the room,” he went on. “And, then, every morning, she would get it all made up again the way she wanted it.”

Apparently, this cycle lasted about two weeks. By that time, the wife had given tours to all of her friends and several of the neighbors, and even she was growing weary of the twice-daily removal and replacement of the bedding and all those pillows.

“Now,” said the chairman, “the stuff is all piled in the closet, and it takes up about half of the space. I think her plan now is to take it out only when she knows she is going to have company. Then, she’ll haul it out and display it, and take people through there and show it to them. The rest of the time it will just be stuffed in the closet.”

The chairman’s story is not unique.

One suspects that similar battles have been waged in bedrooms across the country.

For whom do these women do it? Is it for the husbands? Their friends? or, are they doing it for themselves?

If they are doing it for themselves, and the goal is to preserve their romantic dreams, they might just be better off curling up with a good book.

Books can be more romantic than fancy sheets, and they are less work than moving all those pillows around.