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Don't Talk Smack About Our House

Want to find your way onto my shidt list? Say something bad about our mid-renovation home.

You know how women can extract subtext from a conversation that men would never notice? Need a sample scenario? Here it goes: We run into an acquaintance of Holly's on the street. The two exchange pleasantries. As the other woman walks off into the sunset, Holly explains, "Yeah, I know she complimented my hair color, but what you don't get is that the way she said it meant she hated it." Cut to me doing that head-tilt thing dogs do when they hear an unidentifiable noise off in the distance. In other words, I'm never able to hear what Holly heard. But I take her word for it (because the only alternative would be to conclude that she's crazy).

And recently, I realized that this is exactly how I am with our house upstate. Holly and I have been DIYing the hell out of the place for a few years now, and it's nowhere near done. But I'm very proud of (and pretty damn sensitive about) what we have completed. So when someone comes in and starts looking around, I scan their face for signs. If they say that the place is amazing, but their eyes say, "Holy hell, this place is a dump," I find myself breaking it down like this to Holly later: "Did you see that condescending facial expression she made? Banned. She's banned. That's it!" Holly thinks the whole thing is hilarious, because nine times out of 10, she didn't pick up on what I picked up on. But she says she believes me (because the alternative would be to conclude that I am crazy).

The process has taught both of us to be more positive and encouraging when touring friend's apartments or houses, whether they’re undergoing a renovation or have just bought a new plant. In the past, we might have thought nothing of giving suggestions here or there, but now we know that even mild criticism can cut deep. Holly sent me this link from The Frisky to let me know I'm not alone. Turns out most people get pissed if you dis their pads. What about you? Have you ever been housesnarked? And did it piss you off?

-- Jack