'Don't use that ... it's just for show!'
'Too many people buy things they don't need with money they don't have trying to impress people they don't even like.'
Ever since we were young, we were always taught never to judge a book by its cover.
But the reality is too many people are so fearful of being the ‘book’ that’s being judged, they go out of their way to make the ‘cover’ look as enticing as possible to win favour with people they’re trying to impress.
At this time of year of parties and get-togethers, this scenario tends to apply to our homes as no one likes to think their pride and joy is being judged as inferior through someone else’s snooty eyes.
In the same way as we are all masters at making our homes look like unrealistic showhouses when we are trying to sell them by frantically tidying and shoving any mess and debris into hidden places, when it comes to entertaining guests, we pull out all the stops.
Apparently, it takes just 26 seconds for someone to give your home a once-over and make a snap judgment.
That frightening fact is enough to make anyone start hurriedly vacuuming and wildly spraying room freshener.
Piles of junk mail, dirty skirting boards and unsightly marks on walls are real turn offs according to research, as are coats piled up on the bannister and outdated curtains.
However, posh coffee and a comfy sofa will see you judged favourably by your visitors along with pleasant fragrances, attractive artwork and little flourishes such as decorative candles.
Who knew entertaining at home was such a minefield?
One colleague did make me chuckle the other day as she was fuming at her husband for not realising some things in their home were ‘just for show’ as a style statement for visitors to admire, not for him to actually use.
“Does he not realise the Molton Brown hand washes are just put out when we have people visiting not for him to wash his hands with?” she seethed.
“And then to top it off, he dried them with the fluffy luxury towels I’d just put out which are for looking nice, not using.”
She also said he didn’t understand there were bottles of fancy shampoo in their bathroom which were there to look nice and she didn’t want him to actually use it to wash his hair.
Poor bloke. I bet he now doesn’t dare touch anything in the house unsure of whether it is simply for looking at rather than using for the purpose it was intended.
It must be a bit like when you wander around kitchen and bathroom showrooms admiring the fancy toiletry bottles and luxury brands on the shelves before realising they are either empty or fakes.
Quite frankly, I don’t judge people by their homes and whether or not they have posh soap or expensive coffee but by their sense of warmth and hospitality.
I grew up in a household where everyone was always welcome and guests and visitors – whether invited or unexpected – were greeted with a warm welcome, fed and watered until they were fit to burst and generally made to feel like one of the family.
In fact even now, my mum won’t let anyone leave until they have had a five-course meal or at least a plate of samosas and copious amounts of tea.
To me, a house should feel like a home and while cleanliness is important, whether my hand wash or bog roll meets someone else’s exacting standards doesn’t matter to me an iota.
I like what I like and don’t care whether my tastes meet the approval of others.
If any of my friends did hold such opinions or looked down on anything in my home, they wouldn’t really be friends worth having would they?
We all like to look our best and be judged in a flattering light by others and feel the same way about our homes so there’s nothing wrong with creating little touches and flourishes to improve what’s already there. If that involves a touch of faking, what’s the harm?
But the saddest thing for me are those people who just aren’t hospitable and never invite anyone round to their home as they can’t be bothered with the hassle or work.
They’re usually the same people who take your good nature and hospitality for granted.