I don’t know how it happened. I was always the person who didn’t understand the HGTV craze. Why would anyone spend time watching people pick which way overpriced house to buy and discuss the many changes they planned to make with the tile in the bathroom? Didn’t people know there are sports on, like, all the time?
But then one day I was sitting in the dentist chair, basking in my cavity-free life (not to brag). This was the first time my dentist had gone full-luxury upgrade and installed TVs in every room. Super high class. There was an episode of House Hunters on, and though I didn’t understand it, it provided a welcome distraction from my fear that the hygienist might hit a snag and the sharp tool will fly out of her hand and into my eye ball.
In that 30 minutes, I was hooked (no sharp dentist tool pun intended). It was very clear this couple had made a terrible decision and also even more clear they should probably just break up. I mean, the girl who had said all along she wanted a two-bedroom apartment settled for a one-bedroom half the size of every other place they looked at just to appease her unemployed boyfriend who wanted to save $100 a month. How much was she regretting every decision she ever made while quarantined in there with him for 8 months? I loved the drama.
Since then, HGTV has become my go-to. I LIVE for new episodes of Home Town, which is the most soothingly Southern show on TV and has made it so I must DEMAND a banquette in any future home I own. A year ago I didn’t even know what a banquette is, and now, I need it. The first episode of Home Town I saw they made a book nook and painted it BLUE! I didn’t even know what a book nook was or that blue on walls was allowed but I was instantly in love with the thought.
These are some other thoughts I’ve had while watching way too much HGTV:
- I’m pretty sure at least 75 percent of people on House Hunters International are running from the IRS. There is no other explanation for why a couple with two children under the age of 5 would just up and move to Costa Rica.
- “Open concept” is stupid. Why would you ever want to walk into a house and immediately be in the kitchen? Also, no one wants to hear the dishwasher running while you’re trying to watch football. Plus, don’t even get me started on the dangers of having the snacks that close to you at all times. You need cased openings, people!
- Do you think Zooey Deschanel ever wishes she had the bearded Property Brother instead of the clean-shaven one?
But the biggest thought I’ve had, and it’s a thing I’ve noticed a lot, is this:
Why do rich people not put doors around their toilets???
I’m not talking about large bathrooms. I’m talking about a straight up, out in the open for everyone to see, toilet.
I’ve seen it more than once. At least a dozen times across several different shows. The first couple times I saw it was on like Beachfront Bargain Hunt and other shows where people buy homes in remote areas or other coastal countries. So my initial thought was maybe this is just a cultural thing or I guess if you’re near water and you need an open shower the next step is just slapping a toilet beside it. Maybe I just don’t understand the concept.
I’m thinking maybe I’m too poor to understand.
Because it’s always in giant mansions or multi-million dollar homes that I see this “open-bathroom” living. There are homes way out in the middle of nowhere with bathrooms completely outside, which baffles my mind! I saw one episode with a (not kidding) $7 million house in a literal jungle somewhere near the equator where the realtor told the people they would have a lot of animals around. So WHY would you want a toilet outside of your million dollar abode when you run the risk of being attacked by monkeys while sitting on it? Is that really how you want your obituary to read, because I promise no one is too rich to have “death by macaw while taking a dump” in your New York Times write-up.
And it’s not just a phenomenon in other countries. One home on one of those mansion hunter shows had a toilet in the bedroom with just sliding glass shower doors surrounding it, which is almost worse than no doors at all. Sure, the smell is contained, but your dignity certainly isn’t.
I was recently watching one of the many shows that isn’t Home Town about a woman who redesigns houses and truly got a taste of an open-toilet life in the suburbs. The three-story house had a gorgeous attic loft the lady turned into a glorified studio apartment. She had a sitting area and bed up there, and an enviable bay window seat. She filled the entire space. The house had more usable square footage just in the attic than most New York apartments.
It was beautifully decorated except she put a bath tub in the middle of the room like she was hoping the new residents would be time travelers from a Bronte novel. And she stuck a toilet up against the wall beside the tub, wide open allowing any and all smells to waft through the entire loft. How could that be enjoyable? I mean, sure, it may add a tiny bit of convenience when you have to pee in the middle of the night, but at what cost?
The woman brought her young daughter and family to look at the place before it went on the market, and amidst all the ooohs and ahhhs her daughter said, horrified, “where’s the door to this toilet?!” Look, if a 7-year-old has to ask, it’s was clearly a big oversight on your part, lady.
I’ve spent many hours thinking about why open-toilet life is a trend. My best guess is it’s a power move. Like how Lyndon B. Johnson used to have meetings with people in the White House while he was on the toilet (Google it). If you have an 8,000 square foot home and you’re inviting people into it, nothing says, “You should feel lucky I allow you here” like peeing in front of them.
I guess if you live in one of those super remote, off-the-grid houses, when you talk with former friends and do the song and dance of “you should come visit me!” even though you really don’t want them to and the friends actually hate you so there’s no way they’re spending $3,000 on a plane ticket to spend a week listening to you lie about how much you LOOOOVVEEEEEE waking up to the sounds of alligators snapping their jaws in the morning, when you send them postcards you can say, “I don’t need a door around my bathroom. You gotta take two planes, a boat, and hike 6 miles to get to it,” and that’s supposed to make them jealous or something.
Until your obituary goes viral, of course. But you’re about 800 miles from the nearest WiFi router so it’s not like you can browse the internet on your open-air toilet anyway.
Also, jokes on those people because do you know what is a real bathroom status symbol? A toilet closet! That’s luxury, my friends. That’s living right.