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PARKER: Putting an old adage to the test

Image Credit: Compilation/Jennifer Stahn
November 10, 2014 - 7:09 AM


There’s an old couple’s adage — that’s probably now a meme — that says thou shalt not hang wallpaper together.

The thing is, Urban Outfitters has this super cute metallic silver and black print stuff that I just knew was going to make my apartment that extra bit fabulous. The other thing is, it’s really tough to apply wallpaper alone and level — especially when you’re 5’4", can’t reach more than a foot at a time, and on your second glass of Sangiovese.

So, I simply took the warning as a loose suggestion and asked my boyfriend to help me hang it. Besides, times change.

Did you know that one person’s idea of “straight” is not the same as another’s? I didn't — because you look at it and it’s either hanging straight or it’s not — but apparently the definition of straight is extremely interpretive. In fact, it’s like one of those words or sayings that doesn't have an exact translation in any language. You come close to explaining what “l’esprit d’escalier” means, but you don’t ever manage to do it justice in only two English words.

There was no justice done on my wallpaper job. It quite seriously could not be translated.

“Babe,” he said, “this is straight; the top is completely flush.”

“Yes,” I replied, “but the wall itself is totally crooked, so what good does a flush top do?”

I sat sweating on the couch staring at the wild pattern in front of me, spinning like I had just fallen down the rabbit hole from the stress of the entire situation. When it comes to things that probably shouldn’t be messed up, I tend to take this approach. (Often times when I move I’m more of a burden than I am a help — literally, you might carry a box and discover later that I am in it.)

“Uh, I’m going to need your help in a minute here,” he said as I sipped.

So, I did my part and smoothed out all the air bubbles that were getting in the way as he rolled the paper down.

“STOP!” I would shriek at even intervals through the entire event. “You’re totally off!”

“Are you crazy? That’s as straight as it can be!” he would reply, also at even intervals.

Eventually, after finishing the bottle of wine and the second drop of paper we decided to break from convention and apply the paper however it felt like being applied. Obviously his idea of perfect and my idea of perfect didn't line up any more than the damask pattern that was splattered in shards onto the wall of a building that went up before symmetry mattered (it was the 70s after all).

I put on Paul Simon’s Graceland to soothe the nerves of my OCD and he had whiskey to soothe the the nerves that I was getting on.

We rolled the last drop of paper as fast as we could down the wall and let it hang over the edges whichever way it wanted to. When we finished, you couldn't tell the wall belonged to the set of a Tim Burton movie, apart from the fact he would totally dig the whole damask thing, probably.

We high-fived.

The wall was a disaster, but you couldn't tell unless you scrutinized the seams under a microscope. And I was right — my apartment immediately looked extra fabulous.

When it comes to the wallpaper adage, it’s totally true. Clearly my boyfriend has no idea what “straight” means and this was a problem. When we made the executive decision to just hang the paper crooked and work with the end result though, we laughed. We survived, and the wall looks phenomenal.

When it comes to relationships, maybe the whole wallpaper experience just hits too close to home. We’re never perfect, we’re never applied as easily as the packaging says, and sometimes we see things completely differently.

Then again, Urban Outfitters wallpaper is peel-off.

— Andria is a 20-something blogger from Kamloops

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
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