Rufflemania 1832

Eric: I'm reminded of my first attempt at self-employment. Seems I knew a lot of folks whose attempts at tasteful decor had gone too far, veered into 'piss-elegant' territory. "Trying too hard," I would whisper to myself. I figured I'd go in and, for a fee, tone things down, even them out, butch up. I was gonna call it Room's Too Gay?, and my fortune would be made. But it was 1975, I was nine years old, and the idea did not catch fire.

So here we are, peering in on a space teetering on the brink. Fortunately, it can be wrestled back in short order. The fix itself is easy and we'll knock it into order quickly. First, we must address not the room itself, but its current use.

Guys, if you're going to stage a Greco-Roman play-perv-you I mean pay-per-view event in the parlour, don't put the concession stand so close to the action. You want the audience to have to walk past the merch to get to the food.

Speaking of souvenirs, where are they? You need bumper stickers, key chains, tee shirts, edible jockstraps, ballsweat-scented candles....

I'm in favor of feeding guests (especially if they're paying extra for it), but there's a lot going on on that table, most of it unspeakable.

Serviceable design is available at any price point. At the discount store, one can find convertible trifle bowl/cake stands, serving pieces, platters and large bowls in glass and (shudder) pressed plastic. Invest in them.

Our host didn't even fold the bags down so the inner foil shows. We call that Redneck Fancy, and it's better than nothing, technically.

As to the room itself? Simple. Slap up a chair rail and paint everything between it and the crown molding 3 shades lighter than the window trim. While you're over there, rip down those frilly balloon shades and replace them with unpleated floor-length curtains in a simple ticking stripe.

Get your artwork anywhere other than Big Lots. And get some Scotchgard -- an antimacassar is not a skeet blanket. Trust me on that one.

Hang on a sec, the phone's ringing ...

... 1990s sleazy motel trying to go respectable called. They want their carpeting back. Give it to them. Some things aren't worth fighting for.