AWKWARD ISSUES: Is it weird to give people a tour of your house, even when you’ve lived there for years?
Yesterday I re-published an older post with the title 16 Things I Do That My Husband Finds Weird, and this, my friends, was a not-so-subtle attempt at foreshadowing, because today? Today I’m getting my revenge. Well, sort of.
See, I came across that post again a couple of days ago, and as I read it, I was like, “WAIT. I let Terry list no less than SIXTEEN DIFFERENT THINGS he finds ‘weird’ about me – even although he’s totally wrong about all of them – and I didn’t list a single ONE about him? Well, we’ll see about THAT!”
Because, the fact is, there are LOTS of things that Terry does that I find odd. Opening every single cupboard door in the kitchen, for instance, and then LEAVING them all open until I come along and close them. Carefully arranging all of the dirty dishes on the worktop directly above the dishwasher… and never quite managing that crucial, final step. (Seriously, though, JUST PUT YOUR FREAKING DISHES IN THE DISHWASHER! IT’S NOT THAT HARD!) Owning 15,876 pairs of identical black socks. You know the kind of thing, I’m sure.
“I will write a list of things Terry does that I find weird!” I thought excitedly. “And then everyone will agree that Terry is weird, except all the people who think I’M weird instead, and who are just plain WRONG about that!”
Before I pushed ahead with this plan, though, I thought I better run it past Terry first, just in case he thought it was weird that I was accusing him of being weird on the internet.
He didn’t. (I mean, he’s a blogger husband – he’s used to this kind of thing by now. Also, he finds it impossible to believe that anyone in their right mind would ever find him weird, so there’s that.)
“While you’re at it, though,” he said, “I’ve thought of another 8,655 things YOU do that are totally weird!” And then he listed them. And then we spent the rest of the day arguing about who was weirdest – him or me. (SPOILER ALERT: IT’S HIM.)
The upshot is that there are far too many things we each find “weird” for them to possibly fit in one post. Or even two posts, really. (The other upshot is that I’ve now written the word “weird” so many times that it’s started to look a bit… well, weird. Is it is just me?) Instead, then, I thought I’d start a new series, in which I will present you with something either Terry or I find weird, and you guys can be the ones to decide who’s right. And I’m starting off with one we’ve spent a fair bit of time bickering about lately, and which I will refer to simply as The House Tour…
(This is not my house. My actual house is not fit to be photographed right now. This is part of the problem…)
So! Terry and I moved into our current house almost 6 years ago, and for a few weeks/months afterwards, we had a steady stream of visitors, all of whom were given The House Tour.
That wasn’t the weird thing, by the way.
It was, however, just a little bit cringey for me, so I mostly left all House Tour business to Terry, who was presumably an estate agent or something in a past life, because he really enjoyed showing people around the house: so much so, in fact, that he has NEVER stopped doing it.
(That IS the weird bit, just in case you were wondering…)
Yes, almost 6 years on, Terry is still conducting house tours for all and sundry – and I mean that literally. At this point, there aren’t many of our friends and relatives who haven’t had a House Tour (So, it would mostly be people we’ve gotten to know since moving here, then, or ones who live far away and don’t make it to Scotland all that often…), but that’s OK, because the thing is, you don’t really need to KNOW us in order to be paraded past our dirty laundry: and I mean THAT literally, too, because when you don’t know your house is going to be on display to strangers, you maybe aren’t quite so quick to pick up that pair of knickers that didn’t quite hit the laundry basket, you know?
(I jest: I mean, AS IF I’d just throw my dirty laundry on the floor. You get my point, though…)
Seriously: one time Terry gave a House Tour (And yes, it DOES deserve the capitalisation, btw, because it’s kind of a Big Deal…) to the Tesco delivery people who brought us our groceries. I wish I was joking about this. I am not joking about this.
“But, when they brought in the shopping, the woman mentioned that she and her husband had come to view the house when it was on the market, and had thought about buying it!” Terry explained later. “So I thought she’d be interested in seeing all the changes we’ve made since then!”
And, I mean, maybe she was, who knows. You can understand my mortification, though, as I sat in the office that day, listening to two random strangers offer a running commentary on the contents of my dressing room, can’t you?
OR CAN YOU?
Because this is the thing: I think it’s bit weird to give two people you’ve never met before a tour of your house, and especially of places like your closet, say, or bedroom. Terry doesn’t – which is how it came to pass that one day I was sitting in the office, minding my own business, when, all of a sudden, the door opened, and an elderly couple wandered in.
“This is Bob and Sheila!*” (*Not their real names) announced Terry happily, materialising behind them. “They live round the corner! I met them while I was walking the dog, and they said they’d always wondered what these houses were like inside, so I thought, why not just show them!”
Why not indeed.
ER, BECAUSE IT’S WEIRD. THAT’S WHY.
I mean, Bob and Sheila might have been serial killers, for all I knew, but hey! Here they were in my bedroom! Because why the hell not?
(They’re not serial killers, by the way. Honestly, Bob and Sheila are lovely, and I attach no blame to them for any of this: like, if someone offered me a tour of their home, I’d go too, because I’m nosy like that, and I LOVE seeing round people’s houses. So, I should probably clarify here that I don’t think it’s weird to WANT a house tour, or to accept one if it’s offered: it’s just weird to assume that every single person you meet is dying to see your kitchen, amiright?)
“It’s just… it’s WEIRD,” I attempted to explain to Terry later. “Because, I mean, sure, the living room and kitchen are public rooms, but our bedroom and my closet are private areas of our home – I don’t really expect to find random strangers in them, you know?”
Terry did not know.
But, for me, there’s a difference between showing someone – even a LOT of someones, as is the case for bloggers, say – a photo of your newly-decorated bedroom – which you’ve tidied up especially for the photo – and bringing them into it in person, then inviting them to lie on the bed, so they can admire that particular view out of the window that can only be seen from that angle.
MY BED, PEOPLE. WHERE I SLEEP.
BECAUSE, YES, THIS HAS HAPPENED: HE HAS GOTTEN THE PEOPLE TO LIE ON OUR BED TO SEE THE VIEW FROM THE WINDOW. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
Terry’s position on all of this, meanwhile, is that this kind of behaviour is totally normal, and, indeed, exactly what visitors to your home – even, I guess, ones who are just there to deliver your groceries – will be expecting. Furthermore, as all of the changes we’ve made to our house since buying it are ones he’s made personally, he feels that it’s not odd for him to want to show off his handiwork: this is why he’s always offering people tours of my closet (He made the shoe shelves in it himself, custom building them to fit the space), and I’m always telling him that, dude, why so weird? Because closets – like bedrooms – are surely private parts of your home, no?
Er, NO, says Terry, who maintains that his shoe shelves are a thing of beauty, which he WILL show people, including the postman, the DHL delivery driver, and next door’s cat.
(OK, that’s an exaggeration: neither the postman nor the delivery driver have seen my closet. Elvis the cat, on the other hand, IS an occasional visitor, but that’s at my invitation, to be fair…)
Anyway, we’ve been having the occasional disagreement about house tours for years now, but matters finally came to a head a few months ago, when we’d invited some out-of-town friends round for drinks, and, just before they arrived, I came upstairs for something, only to find Terry in the act of staging the house for a Tour – which he does by switching on all of the lights, raising the blinds to allow the maximum amount of light in… generally behaving as if he’s about to try and sell the place, rather than just show people around it.
“Are you preparing for a House Tour?” I asked suspiciously.
“Well, OBVIOUSLY,” came the reply. “Because they haven’t seen the house yet, have they?”
Well, no, they hadn’t. But we’ve had the house for almost 6 years now, so it’s not like it’s some new, shiny thing that everyone’s interested in: which is why it wouldn’t have occurred to me to take our visitor’s coats and then be all, “Now, let me show you the inside of all of our closets!”
Terry thinks this is weird of me.
I think it’s weird of him.
Neither of us thinks it’s weird enough to make a huge deal of it, obviously (I say that because it’s just this second occurred to me that, now that I’ve written about it on the blog, some people are going to leap to the assumption that I lie awake at night fretting about it, whereas this was really just supposed to be a random talking point…), but we WOULD like you all to settle the matter for us once and for all, by telling us who you think is right?
So, if someone invites you round for dinner, say, or drinks, do you expect to be shown their bedroom (Um, assuming it’s not THAT kind of party, here, obviously…), plus the content of their closets? Or are you a normal person?
JOKING! JOKING! Settle down, people!
(For the record, I don’t EXPECT a house tour from anyone, but I do appreciate one if it’s offered, and if I know the person’s had work done to their home, I might ask to see it. That’s kind of beside the point, though…)
OK, to put it another way: are you still giving people guided tours of your home years after you move into it, or is that just a little bit … weird?
(Usual caveats apply: post is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, no one is actually arguing about this, and while Terry and I may well be weird, we are still real people, so please be gentle!)