The Significance of Chintz Curtains

Many years ago, when Mr. Blandings and I were first married, we went out to dinner with his father and step-mother.

Mr. Blandings the elder is old school. He mostly likes things the way they are, or rather, the way they have always been.

In a cozy restaurant on a winter evening we began to discuss a club to which the elder Mr. B belonged. I made an off-hand and stinging comment about the policy of having a separate dining room for women during the lunch hour.

As often happens, small sparks start large flames and he and I were heatedly engaged as our spouses stared quietly into their soups. In a firm voice he finally proclaimed, "When I am eating my lunch I do not want to sit next to a table of damn women talking about chintz curtains!"

As my Mr. Blandings felt my muscles flex to rise he put his hand on my knee and leaned in to say, "It's cold and they drove." We stayed. No one ordered dessert.

After seventeen years I better understand the roots of tradition and the minefields of dinner conversation. I am, however, still mystified that someone would not want to join in a conversation on chintz curtains as I find them irresistibly divine.

Images of Cecil Beaton's home, Reddish House, from Architectural Digest Celebrity Homes, 1977; photography by Beaton. The Aesthete posted on Reddish yesterday. I had already written this and should probably have pitched it. Sadly, I'm too lazy.

Labels: ,