Strange People

On home design TV shows, people keep saying that they need this and that space “to entertain.” It’s a constant, “yeah, but where will we entertain? Is this enough space to entertain? We really love to entertain.”

I wonder, do people really do all that entertaining and, most importantly, what possesses them to engage in such an activity?

Please don’t get me wrong, I stoically bear every opportunity for sociability that comes my way. I took Klara to a birthday party last Saturday and bravely socialized with people there. I still haven’t completely recovered from the effort but I know I will eventually. But to actually modify your house in order to facilitate people coming at you – or to you, whatever – this is beyond my comprehension.

26 thoughts on “Strange People

  1. Some people genuinely do enjoy hosting people at their homes. Personally, while I love going to parties, I don’t like “entertaining” any more than you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I tend to associate the desire for entertaining with holiday get togethers? Not an every day occurrence but really nice when it happens. You seem to enjoy having your family over for holidays etc? I personally love having a dining room table that’s big enough to host family holidays at my house and I frequently wish I had more room.


    1. Yeah, but I don’t entertain family members. I exist alongside them without any additional effort. If anything, they are the ones who entertain,cook, clean, etc when they stay over.

      My dining table is really huge. It stands in the middle of the living room and sits 3 times more people than we have living in the house. But that’s not on account of guests. It’s on account of me being Ukrainian. 🙂

      What people normally use as a dining room, I use as reading room / my study.


      1. Yes! “Entertaining” is… some alien activity. I’m not even sure what it consists of. Impressing your boss by inviting him over for cocktails while angling for a promotion? Or is that just in movies?

        On the other hand, my family regularly invades my house for holidays and random weekends. That’s not “entertaining”… it’s just visiting. That’s different. And why would you need an extra 500 square feet in your house for that?

        Liked by 2 people

            1. The way I know when somebody becomes a true friend is that when they come over I don’t need to do anything special or alter my behavior in any way. If I can simply exist normally alongside them, without feeling forced to be always in the same room or make conversation when I don’t feel like it, then it’s real friendship.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. No. We do not entertain. But in our social circle, “space to entertain” means you open up the garage (or use the carport), set up folding tables and a couple of large fans, and have a shrimp boil or a cookout. I have no idea why you’d need HGTV-levels of indoor space to “entertain”. Maybe it’s a cold-climate thing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Maybe it’s a cold-climate thing?”

      Yes, open-garage entertaining in January works better in Arizona than in New Jersey!


  4. “do people really do all that entertaining and, most importantly, what possesses them to engage in such an activity?”

    Oh… sweet, summer child….. HGTV and the like are less realistic than most science fiction and less “real” than professional wrestling…

    The goal of all these shows is to make viewers unhappy with their own housing situation. Part of that is presenting the ‘real’ participants less as real people and more as what you might call icons of “capitalist realism”.
    “HGTV” is capitalism’s version of “Кубанские казаки” and saying you want lots of space so you can entertain is like repeating a party slogan.

    “Space to entertain” means “consume more”.


    1. The year before we moved, every time I had to take someone in for a dental appointment, there’d be the same HGTV show, involving a photogenic young couple doing minor renovations on gigantic houses. She always painted the walls of these places some banal shade of gray.

      This year, when looking for a house to buy, we saw her dingy gray fingerprints EVERYWHERE. I guess people trying to sell a crappy house watch HGTV, too. I remember one house that was dark gray on the outside, gray marble-ish tiles on the inside, light gray walls, different gray trim, yet another gray for the kitchen cabinets… when discussing house prospects, we took to calling it the “50 Shades of Gray” house.


        1. IKR? The best kitchen I have ever had was in the student-ghetto rental I had in college. Little 50s or 60s- era galley kitchen, designed by someone who actually cooked. Everything just exactly where you needed it. The house I just moved into has almost that exact same kitchen– definitely 50s– and they ruined it sometime in the 70s by turning the existing dining room into a kitchen, the old kitchen into a laundry room, and mashing the dining room into the living area, making it all cramped. And wall-to-wall carpet where you have to put your table! Ugh! This should be prosecutable under Crimes Against Architecture, because there’s so much else that’s delightful about the house, from the mostly-original apricot-and-jade bathroom to the very 50s corner details on the cinderblock exterior and the casement windows.

          But hey, why make a house that’s still delightful after seventy years because of the weird little details that someone thought through ahead of time and executed beautifully, when you can make a house that’s bland, gray, drab, and will definitely be remodeled in ten years or less because the kitchen is useless and the bathrooms with their flat shiny black marble tile surfaces just make you feel like you’re stuck living in a hotel.


          1. “a house that’s bland, gray, drab, and will definitely be remodeled in ten years or less”

            The whole idea is to constantly remodel…

            Last year I had the bathroom remodeled after (mumble mumble) years. It’s much better now but it wasn’t a fun process…. Why someone would want to be involved in it constantly is… beyond me.

            i think a lot of modern home design is the same as the internet… just a few years ago I was able to do everything with a single browser, now I have to have at least two and a bunch of “apps” (god, do I hate “apps”) and it’s not like it works better at all with all this inconvenience…

            “galley kitchen, designed by someone who actually cooked”

            sounds wonderful, these HGTV kitchens seem built by someone who hates those who cook and wants them to constantly be uncomfortable and suffer….

            “wall-to-wall carpet”

            I hate wall-to-wall more than I hate bubonic plague… “Gee! Let’s put a dirt and bacteria trap everywhere that you can never ever really truly clean!”

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Yeah, the carpet thing is even nastier in a rental house, where no matter how thoroughly it’s been shampooed… it still smells like stale cigarettes forever, and now and then a random whiff of cat litterbox. And not a darn thing I can do about it, either. Maybe once we get properly settled, I will send a friendly inquiry to the homeowner and offer to chip in on modernizing to hard floors, in case he’s been thinking about it. It’d make the whole house smell better.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. I want to rip the carpeting we have and destroy it with ritualistic fury. Back in Ukraine it’s cold so we always had carpets. But these were removable carpets. We’d take them outside twice a year, roll them in the snow and beat them with carpet beaters to get the dust out. This immovable carpeting people like around here creeps me out.

                Liked by 1 person

            2. I’m so glad my favorite readers hate the carpeting as much as I do. When my friend was looking for a house, she was shown one with a carpeted bathroom. “How great is that?” the agent enthused. “You’ll never feel cold after taking a shower!”

              To think that some people actually wanted that. Incredible.


    2. Gosh, this is exactly what N says and I always tell him he’s too cynical. I can’t believe you think this, too! Where is the faith in goodness and light? Where, I ask?



      1. “too cynical. I can’t believe you think this, too! Where is the faith in goodness and light? ”

        My faith in goodness was torn down so an island could be put in (and then they discovered water damage and things went over budget and that was the end of my belief in light).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “I’m a kindergarten teacher, and my husband breed specialty hamsters and plays in a garage band. Our budget is $1.5 million….”

        Yes, this is a fantasy television show.


        1. “Our budget is $1.5 million…”

          I wonder how many of those houses ended up being repossessed and then featured on one of the house flipper shows….. where they dutifully dig out all of the ‘improvement’s made earlier in order to make their own ‘improvements’….


  5. I’d written up something resembling a description of my living space, but it was far too long.

    The shorter version then: my front door opens into my main library and writing room, there are several bedrooms that include a master bedroom that holds a second library plus a bed, and what little entertaining goes on happens in the Florida room.

    Also, no big table like yours, and instead we use folding tables and chairs.

    I have a very specific chair I pull out when someone I don’t want to hang about shows up for something, and it’s immediately identifiable by having a fifteen degree downward pitch when fully opened.

    Having tolerated but essentially unwelcome guests plant themselves backside first on my office floor is just one of the things that’s entertaining when you don’t have a TV.

    If anyone at HGTV saw my living arrangements, they would be at once confused and convulsed.

    How dare someone spend all of that money on books and storage for them without doing much of anything to improve on the previous owner’s aesthetic choices!

    Chorus: All that beige! All of that horrible beige! Even the beige accents are beige!

    Which of course is mostly covered by the bookcases.

    We did put in two sheds that have aircon and electric mains, what more would they want? 🙂


    1. You can’t have too many books. But good shelves are so hard to find!

      I lucked out yesterday exploring the local thrift scene: found a perfectly good maple bookcase for $9… because it was missing all its shelves and a couple of the brackets. That is easy enough to fix!


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