Last month I wrote a piece about life lessons I’ve acquired from watching House Hunters. But I couldn’t stop watching, and consequently, couldn’t stop learning. Here’s what the show about real estate has taught me about love. I’m delighted to say, it’s a lot. Or maybe I’m ashamed. I can’t really decide which.
1. Your relationship is only as strong as your countertop. Tell your spouse you just murdered a drifter with your bare hands, and they’ll forgive you as long there are granite countertops in your kitchen. Want to use your kids to start a militia group on your basement? At least have the decency to put in stainless steel appliances first. A marriage built on slate, marble or silkstone will stand the test of time. One built on Formica will crack and embarrass you in front of house guests. Every time a couple is happy on House Hunters, it’s because they have a stylish kitchen. You wanna argue with that, go ahead. But if my anecdotal watching of a home and garden TV show isn’t statistical evidence, I don’t know what is. People say the 50th Anniversary is the Golden Anniversary, but fuck gold. It’s obviously steel. A steel refrigerator so shiny you can see your face in it. That’s how love endures.
2. You can’t both be a pain in the ass. On a recent episode of HH, a guy actually said “I need to have enough room in the backyard for my archery.” Really?! You need to shoot arrows all the time, or else there’s no way you can be happy in life? Another woman said she refused buy any house with white cabinets. Didn’t matter if they could be painted over, because she’d always know they were once white. You know what their spouses had in common? They were really complete doormats. Wonderfully sweet, but doormats. Your partner can be high maintenance and your house can be high maintenance, but if you are too, then maybe you guys should keep renting for a while.
3. Agree on kids before buying things.
MAN: Oh great, we can use this bedroom as an office, then the other one to finally display all my collectible guitars!
WOMAN: Really, honey? And where did you think our kids are going to sleep?
Man looks at wife awkwardly. Wife looks at real estate agent. Real estate agent looks like she wants to die.
This happens at least once a month. A couple decides to buy a house before sorting out whether they’re gonna be The Brady Bunch or Mad About You. Everything’s cool until somebody says “But don’t we need a house our family can grow into?”, then all of a sudden shit gets real awkward. You guys know you’re on TV, right? Shopping for a really expensive house for… the rest of your life? You might want to talk out the details before the cameras start rolling.
4. Open floor plan = open marriage. Look, I’m not saying that if you buy a house where the kitchen opens out freely into the living and dining rooms that your wife will let you sleep with other women. I’m not even saying you should want to sleep with other women. I mean, it’s gonna be Valentine’s Day soon. How exactly are you gonna find time to disappoint two different ladies on the same day? All I’m saying is this: if their behavior on House Hunters is any indication, there is nothing a woman wants more out her of man than his endorsement of an open floor plan. Or a man from a woman, for that matter. Buy a kitchen with four walls and you might as well get divorced on the spot. For a marriage to work, you gotta be able to open the refrigerator door while still seeing the TV screen three rooms away. If that’s not happening, then neither is this relationship. Break down the walls to build up the love. Or some bullshit. Really, it’s just about being able to eat peanut butter while scrolling through your DVR.
5. Hot tub = hot marriage. I once saw a couple insist that every house they viewed come equipped with a giant hot tub. They seemed like the two happiest people on earth. I’m not sure what to do with that information.
6. Always be able to screw. One of my favorite HH moments is when the couple realizes the master bedroom is right next to the kids’ bedrooms, then one of them says awkwardly…”Well, there’s not a lot of privacy,” then everyone looks at each other and laughs. I wish someone would just yell out, “Fucking! We’re talking about fucking!” Just turn to realtor and plainly state: “Look our shit gets pretty wild, so we’re gonna need the kids as far away as possible. In fact, we maybe should just get them their own house? Also, earlier, when we said we were checking out the basement, we were actually just doing it in the closet.” Apparently, no matter how dreamy the home, having the kids on the either side of your bedroom is a no no. I’ve never lived with my children, mostly because they don’t exist, but I know once I have them that their ears will be far out of reach when I buy my lady two tickets to bonetown. Also, I will do my earnest best to stop using the phrase “two tickets to bonetown.”