The truth is, that like it or not we are innately judgemental creatures. If a book looks interesting we’ll pick it up for a quick perusal, and in a very similar way, if there’s dog hair all over the throw covering our host’s settee we might well continue hovering around the bookshelf for as long as we can.
Time was, for our mother’s generation, when the judgement stopped at the issue of cleanliness and that was all there was to it. Nowadays things aren’t so straightforward. Not only are we judged on the quality of our housework – no-one ever puts this down as a male preserve! – we are also held up to account for the quality of our fashion consciousness and our good taste to boot. Again, this is only a masculine concern when things have gone well and someone is keen to muscle in for a share of the credit.
As if having a job wasn’t enough to stress you out!
There is a chicken and an egg aspect to this, and like so much else it comes down to our old friend the internet. On the one had it means we can window shop and hoover up inspiration from a zillion different sources. On the other it has fostered a consumer acceleration in all things domestic so that the same short term fashion cycles that were once restricted to the clothes industry are now nigh on ubiquitous (remember when it used to be called the fashion industry?).
Critics point to a sell-out commercialisation that is all about driving conspicuous consumption in the interests of nothing more than boosting sales. Its defendants are typically too busy voting with their credit cards to have that much to say on the matter.
But in the meantime, whether we’re actually judged or not, it is undeniably healthy to live in a home that you feel comfortable in. And feeling frumpy, out of date and on the wrong end of all the critical evaluation that goes on is not a great way to feel good about yourself. It’s the great consumer conundrum from which there really is no escape. Like it or not, we are in the grip of the fashionistas.
In truth, the likes of Wayfair, Papaya and Icon Homeware etc are great at what they do. Their Facebook and Twitter accounts produce a never-ending stream of bright ideas and cheery suggestions as to how we can funk up, dress down and be ever-ready for the changing of the seasons. And if there is anything you’re thinking of adding to your domestic ensemble, where else would you think of going for ideas or a price check?
Then of course there is the next wave of evaluation. “Where did you get that lovely settee cover?” your guests may ask as they step away from the bookcase.
Nobody would ever judge a book by the shop that sold it would they?