How To Brainwash Your Man

Program your plasma to HGTV and lose the remote. From House Hunters to Cousins on Call to Love It or List It, your couch potato (your man) will be inspired and itching to show you how handsome his version of the handyman can be. It’s like the movie Inception — but with decorating.

J. has always been the fixer-upper-starter-not finisher type. There were at least five half painted walls/projects abandoned with their frog tape wilting and flapping with neglect. But during the holiday break, the channel surfer landed on HGTV one night and never left. And then it happened. He began to actually finish what he started!

Tonight, it’s past 10pm and he just asked me to make him a pot of coffee. “Waat? Cawfee…now?” But when I saw him pry open a paint can instead of a beer bottle, and grab the brushes and rags from the utility closet, I knew it was go time. I quickly rushed to grind the coffee beans.

Ladies, just ease into it…slowly. Start with an episode of House Hunters which is always interesting because you get to play a sort of “Choose Your Own House” game. Last night, there was a couple that was in the market for an island. Then try those cute Property Brothers twins — one finds the house, the other remodels it. Every girl’s fantasy. And don’t turn the TV off, ever. Even when he starts snoring. By morning, you will have your own Bob Ross in the bedroom, albeit much younger, and hopefully a hell of a lot better looking.

Happy Home Improvement!

HGTV Inspiration


Plastered in the Bedroom

After a few weeks of living in a shroud of tarps, frog tape and clouds of dust, J. finished. The East Village has staked its claim on the Upper West Side, or on my side of the bedroom, at least. Painted in dark blue, the skyline is still masculine, but the dusty blue twilight above it softens the room. Done in a technique J. said was “Venetian Plaster,” the upper wall looks like marble and is smooth to the touch. At night, it bears a moonlit glow when we turn the lights down.

The focal point is the spiral church tower in the middle, a replica of the real thing that sits on E. 12th Street, a reminder of a defunct house of worship that now guards an NYU sky-rise dorm. We plan on putting pictures in the “windows” of the buildings, so we can act as peeping toms in our own bedroom.

What’s on his side? A rendering of Columbia’s sprawling campus and dome-shaped library…it’s coming along, just needs a more few hand-drawn touches.

It’s finally starting to feel like HOME.

After 18 Months of Cohabitating, A Fresh Coat of Paint


It never really feels like “home” when you move into your boyfriend’s apartment. In more ideal circumstances, the newly cohabitating couple will devour Craigslist ads and eventually find new digs that are not a memorial to things past. But when you’re testing things out, as I was a year and a half ago, it was an easy way to dip my toes further into commitment.

18 months later, and with a revolving door of subletters at my studio downtown, I’m still here. Still on the foreign Upper West Side, populated with puppies of all shapes and sizes and those magical pixie dust fairies. So this is where they keep the children?

Yearning to get rid of the “I’m just crashing here for a bit” feeling, I talked/nagged/hypnotized J. into repainting our bedroom. It had been a super-masculine dark green and gold — stripes and remnants of bachelor pad days. The mirror above the bed is still there. It makes the room look bigger. I try not to think about the other images that reflected back before mine.

Of course, J. could never slap on one coat of paint in a solid color. Being the artistic, always-starting-something-never-finishing type he chose implementing frieze — whatever that is, and drawing a city skyline super imposed over the frieze…and 10 days later, there are still tarps and levels and brushes everywhere. It’s like living in the set of the movie, A Beautiful Mind. The walls cry out “Feed me, feed me” waiting for J.’s inspiration to strike. PLEASE strike.

Knowing how much I miss the East Village, he’s drawn and painted the skyline of my old block on my side of the room (yes, we have sides). It’s strangely comforting. Maybe he’ll work an image of the Staten Island Ferry somewhere in those blue shadows, too. I grew up there, but there was nothing more satisfying than running away.

I’ve never picked up a paintbrush in my life. Coming from a somewhat artistic family that’s surprising. But that’s how I’ll get him to finish. With paint roller in hand, I’ll mix in some pink and do a happy skip to HIS side and say sweetly, “I’m just going to touch this up a little bit…”