Sunday, May 30, 2010

House Hunters. What?! No Granite Counters?!

Reading the extensive story about Mr. Krasev in yesterday's Bulletin, I suddenly realized something.

There is a limit to my interest about this guy, and I just passed it. I'm officially finished with him.


Watching Househunters last night, and a guy comes on with the two day old stubble look. I don't think anything of it, until at the end of the show they show wedding pictures, and sure enough, they guy still has the two day stubble. In his wedding pictures. I don't know, I just thought that was funny.


Speaking of beards, in another week or so, this baby is getting trimmed.

Apparently, some people thought I was going to be in the beard competition, but no. I was doing this more or less as 'cover'; an excuse to grow my beard as long as I could stand it. I passed that point a couple of weeks ago. Definitely looks old fartish.

The competition? No way would I get up in front of people. And no way is my beard weird or spectacular enough.


Speaking of Househunters. This channel has become our 'fail-safe' channel. If the T.V. has to be on (and don't ask me why The Infernal Contraption has to be on because there is no good excuse) we tend to turn to these house shows.

It used to be Law and Order reruns, but Linda knows I'll leave the room and I tend to stick around for the Househunter shows, so that's become the fall back. (Me? I leave it on C-Span or MSNBC or CNBC -- yes, I'm that wonkish...and Linda will leave the room.) HGTV is the compromise.

Anyway, for me, these shows aren't really about the house -- they're about the people, and our culture.

I'll bet you anything that a marriage expert could tell right away which couples are going to make it and which aren't just by watching a half hour show. Beard stubble guy, above, was being treated as an extra appendage by his fiance -- and sure enough, the house she liked was the house that was picked.

You can tell which house will be picked, or which spouse is really in charge, by the subtle interactions.

I think, most of the time, if I like the couple in the show, they'll pick the house I would've picked. If I don't like the couple, they'll pick the worst house...

It also reveals a whole lot about our culture, and even about regional differences. Some things seem universal -- wanting the walk-in closets, the granite countertops, the wood floors. Sometime, to the exclusion of good bones in a house -- they'll pick houses for the most cosmetic of reasons.

I think I'm more interested in privacy, and about a surrounding space, than most of these people. (Or most of the people in N.W. Crossing, for that matter.)

Property Virgins is also a real cultural touchstone, especially about our expectations and our Keeping Up with the Jones attitudes.

They'll announce some modest amount of money available for a house, and then ask the couple what they 'want.'

They usually pick an exclusive neighborhood, every amenity, and huge space. The three car garage, the wood floors, the granite, the ....well, you get the picture.

The lady shows them the neighborhood they like, and then.....ta dah! the price of the cheapest house is usually at least twice their budget. Their faces fall.

Then she takes them to a cheaper, older house nearby the exclusive neighborhood, and it has almost nothing they're looking for. They start looking alarmed and confused.

Finally, she shows them a non-exclusive neighborhood, newer homes, but many of the amenities they want if a bit smaller. Or an older home with bigger lots. They are relieved.

And, of course, that is the starter home.

Kind of what Linda and I did. Williamson Park is a nice neighborhood, I think mostly retired folk, and nicely kept up. The lots are bigger, the landscaping mature, and I like it a lot. It's a little enclave -- surrounded by neighborhoods with newer, cheaper housing and apartments. But on a day to day basis, we simply aren't impacted by that. And the houses in Williamson Park are nice, and at least a third less expensive than westside houses (and, like I said, have bigger lots and privacy and landscaping.) Also, it seems to be way more stable -- an average of maybe one house for sale at any one time, and no abandoned houses.

I do see the appeal of the N.W. Crossings houses, but even if I had the money, I would want houses farther apart. A bungalow style, sure, but someplace with breathing room.

Our house is 1600 sq. ft., which is great for a couple: a master bedroom, and an office for each of us.

So it's interesting to watch couple buy these enormous, cavernous (usually they even echo) McMansions. Especially in Texas. I'm telling you -- huge houses on dried up prunes of lots and lots of big white rock and strange decor -- and they LOVE it.

Texans are weird.

All in all, these shows reflect how utterly spoiled we Americans are -- and I include myself. Linda says it's inevitable -- "It's nesting!" she says. Still, nothing is more disorienting that watching the devastation in Haiti, say, and then turning to a program where a couple is whining, "But it doesn't have hardwood floors!?"


blackdog said...

Where the hell have you been? The two-day-stubble look has been all the rage for quite a few years.

Looks like shit, IMO. If you're gonna grow a beard, grow a frickin' beard; if not, shave.

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