It's Curtains For You

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"It's curtains for you, Dr. Horrible... lacy, gently wafting curtains." - from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

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I was corrected several months ago by a former drapery manufacturer (now a drapery importer) when I referred to their product as curtains. Egad.

Well, never let it be said that I would want to insult someone due to a lack of refinement. From my good friends at dictionary.com:

cur-tain /ˈkɜrtn/ –noun

1. a hanging piece of fabric used to shut out the light from a window, adorn a room, increase privacy, etc.

Just as I thought. But wait! There's more!:

drap-er-y /ˈdreɪri/ –noun

1. coverings, hangings, clothing, etc., of fabric, esp. as arranged in loose, graceful folds.

2. Often, draperies. long curtains, usually of heavy fabric and often designed to open and close across a window.

Well, if that doesn't make it abundantly clearer. Fabric hanging from a window = curtain = drapery. But it doesn't. As I was told, "No one buys draperies anymore; everyone buys curtains." And that would be why the company also imports curtains. I gather draperies are heavier cloth, less functional, more decorative, and perhaps lengthier. These things are important to know, you know.

I had forgotten this episode until recently, when I was driving home to the tune of "Shattered" by the Rolling Stones. It's not a favorite song by any measure, but being part of the soundtrack of my teenage years... yeah, I'll not change the radio station.

Ahhh, look at me, I'm a shattered
I'm a shattered
Look at me- I'm a shattered, yeah

What weird connections the mind makes. Suddenly, it occurs to me that I really don't like seeing the back of homes, which are more numerous than the trees during some stretches on my commute.

Well, what is it that I don't like about them? I mean, my home has a back side, right? Is it the decks? No. Little Tykes play structures? No. Uneven trampolines without safety netting? No comment. Assorted mounds of hexavalent chromium? Well, that would.

Shadoobie, my brain's been battered, shattered, shattered...

Shuttered, shutters... See? I said it was weird. People put shutters on the front of their houses, but not the rear. It makes the windows look smaller and, conversely, the wall area larger. It makes a home look undressed.

Which makes one wonder. In this fine country (and assuming one's house is not prone to hurricanes), we don't need shutters to keep the storms at bay, or to regulate airflow through louvered wood slats, or to shut out light, or to defend against bugs... They certainly don't help with privacy. Why, then?

Take the house pictured below, a fine, stately traditional home.

shutters

Now, imagine it without the 16 shutters. Ugly, isn't it?

Imagine that you're building a home and looking at your line item expenses. 16 vinyl shutters (vinyl because you're cheap and don't want to have to repaint them - but you can spend more if you want), multiplied by $50 per pair = $400 of decorative shutters.

We spend far more on things that last only a short time, so why not put shutters on the rear of a house? Does the rear of the house need to be plain only so that people do not confuse it for the front? Or, why not skip the shutters and install larger windows? It's interesting how our appreciation for appearances is subconsciously influenced by tradition.

I'd rather have larger windows than screwed in adornments on the exterior of my home. After all, my subconscious may tell me that they won't look right on the inside until they're covered with non-functional curtains draperies.

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