My question is decor-oriented. I recently started my first full-time job after waaay too many years in grad school, and with it will soon come my first adult home. During my extended college years I lived in many an apartment decorated with Target/Ikea specials, but I gladly dumped most of that stuff when I left college. Frankly, the thought of buying more flatpack particle board makes me slightly ill. But as an impoverished academic with many student loans, I can't afford to furnish an entire place in anything else.
My question: is it better to buy a bare minimum of good pieces and risk having my place look like the repo men have been in residence, or, to sacrifice dignity and go back to cheap and cheerful? I'd really appreciate your opinions.
Too Tired From Teaching Freshmen To Come Up With A Clever Name
A GayBoy Credo: It is always better to go without than to go with crap.
Having said that, we think you should take a page from the world of fashion, darling. Most editors and stylists and fashionistas will tell you that true style comes from mixing the high end designer pieces with the low end retail pieces. A 40-dollar pair of jeans will look smashing with a 300-dollar pair of shoes. Alternately, a 200-dollar pair of jeans looks great with a 15-dollar t-shirt from The Gap. Mix and match, darling. Start off slow and buy good pieces that will last you and won't go out of style. Invest the money in the show pieces - the dining room table, the sofa, the bed. Pair them with lower-end stuff like an Ikea coffee table or Target side tables. There are plenty of decent mid-range furniture stores like West Elm where you can buy solid, stylish furniture and it won't break your bank.
Also, don't forget the thrift stores. A good 1/3 of our furnishings were bought at places that still sold 8-track players. Before 1980, most basic department store furniture was made of solid wood and still holds up well. Go mid-century and get some kicky kidney-shaped end tables in formica or go classic and find a solid oak dresser from the 1940s. You really can't go wrong with vintage.
One other bit of advice: as you take your time to build a decor that makes you happy, invest in some original artwork. It doesn't have to be high-end gallery canvases. You can find nice, small canvases or original photographs or even sketches at coffeehouses, student art shows and yes, even thrift stores. Keep an eye out for them. Nothing bumps up a room like original artwork.
Also, don't rule Ikea completely out. You'd be surprised what you can do with that crap.
Is there a way I can wear red fishnets without looking (or feeling) like a hooker?
Little Red Stocking Legs
Dear Little Red,
My Dear Gayboys, Hi, I am a straight, married girl and my best friend in the world is a gay guy. We have known each other for awhile and have helped each other through some very serious times. A little over a year ago, my friend moved about 2 hours away, met a guy, and entered into his first ever gay relationship. I was really excited for him and hoped that we could all be friends. It is definitely not turning out that way, though. It seems the boyfriend doesn’t really like me too much. I have been to visit and he either ignores me or argues with me anytime I say anything.
Recently, my friend and his boyfriend decided to visit me. I made a conscious effort to include the boyfriend because he always complains that my friend and I “ignore everyone when we are together.” We went out one night and I made a conscious effort to talk about the boyfriend’s life, things he was interested in, etc…I thought we had a good time. The next day, my friend tells me that his boyfriend doesn’t like the way that my friend and I act towards one another. He also said that I “hang on him” and that I would never act that way if my husband were around. I was so angry; I almost pulled his hair! My best friend and I are affectionate to one another in a “girlfriend-to-girlfriend” way, but he’s my BFF! My husband loves that I have such a good friend and completely supports our friendship.
I know that there is obvious jealousy going on, but what can I do? My friend wants me to visit soon, but he lives with his boyfriend. I’m worried that it will be awkward. Any advice? Thanks in advance for your help, kittens!
~Sharpening my claws
Oh, honey. We can't even begin to tell you how distressingly common this sort of thing is. Gay men tend to develop some rather sharp claws themselves as they navigate through a sometimes-hostile world and they tend to not know when to sheath them.
First, ask yourself this: Is your friend being a friend to you? Of course we don't mean that he has to choose one of you over the other one, but did he defend you at all to his BF or did he just let him say those things about you? If it's the latter, does he deserve your friendship?
If you think he still does, then - excuse us, we need to put on our Abby and Ann wigs - you need to talk to him about it. Tell him that you're thrilled that he's found someone and that you want very much to get to know his paramour better, but also tell him that you're not going to sit there and be treated like shit. Reiterate that you're not asking him to choose one of you; you're just asking him to remember why you're friends in the first place.
Then, if you decide to go ahead and visit them and the BF still treats you like shit? Oh, honey. Claws out. Don't leave one inch of that bitch unshredded and go find yourself another gay boyfriend.
Keep those cards and letters coming, boys and girls! Email us!