It came as a bit of surprise to me when I got married and my wife and I moved in our first home together that my opinions on arranging the furniture were not needed. Or desired, to be quite frank. Up until that point, I had never doubted my furniture arranging skills -- skills I had honed to a keen edge as a bachelor.
I remember moving into my first apartment. Standing in the living room surrounded by my possessions, I gave the furniture placement due consideration -- nearly a full minute. Following time-tested guy tradition, I set up the TV first, carefully positioning it for maximum viewing performance (i.e., anywhere within the cord's reach of an outlet). Then I carefully put the couch against the wall across from the TV. The coffee table -- an up-ended cable spool made of plywood that had been "acquired" from the phone company and was the source of great bachelor pride -- went in front of the couch. This classic set up is, of course, in strict accordance with "guy feng shui" and maximizes the guy-harmony in the room.
The stereo went next to the TV on what I like to think of as "post-industrial/pre-contemporary" style shelving: cement blocks and a sawed-off plank. My speakers, which were another source of great pride and were each roughly the size of a Shetland pony, went in the corners of the room precisely 2.5 feet from each wall for maximum sonic presence. I'll admit that "technically" they got in the way because they stuck out so far, but a guy has to be willing to accept some sacrifices for the sake of ultimate stereophonic sound.
I didn't have enough speaker wire to follow the floorboards so I just ran the wires across the floor, but I duct taped them down for safety. A guy should always think ahead and I knew at some point it was inevitable that I'd be stumbling around intoxicated -- probably within the next hour or two.
After that, I filled in the rest of the room with whatever furniture that was left over. The milk crate book shelves were pretty heavy so I just shoved them against the wall closest to wherever they had been set down. Occasionally, I had to draw upon my innate guy ingenuity to complete the furniture arrangement: Hmm. No reading light near the chair? I'll move the fish tank over a bit -- it's got a light built into it!
So given the amount of expertise I had displayed in the past, it seemed odd to me that my wife didn't call upon my extraordinary furniture deployment skills in our new home. Especially because she'd been in my old apartment and had seen what I could do first hand.
And it's clear that arranging furniture isn't her strong suit, either. She told me that no matter how hard she tried, there just wasn't enough room in the living room for my cable-spool coffee table ...
Dan writes a weekly humor column called Tomfoolery & Codswallop. You can visit Dan's website where he welcomes your comments and suggestions for future columns.
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