Eric: The holidays have a way of sneaking up on you. Suddenly you’re feeling surrounded, maybe even invaded.

It’s no secret that I do not care for theme décor. I don’t like it when the room looks like it came out of a box, especially when it’s going back in right after the Feast of the Epiphany. Christmas, shistmas.

This room is done in a style we in the know refer to as Rich Old Lady. Think Mendl, Parish, Maugham. At least here the holiday touches are not overpowering. A bow here, a bough there, a goblet, a cocktail napkin…

It has not progressed to the level of cloying Kinkade/Radko nightmare we started to dread as soon as Independence Day passed and the winter celebration season began.

Say a prayer of thanks to Great-Aunt Hortensia for the room’s restraint. Elegant ol’ bitch, she was. Would she be aghast that callers are being entertained in the drawing room and not the front parlor, or would she just wonder to what do all those remotes filling her lead crystal sleigh go?

At least she still has a sense of humor. Check out the back-wall trompe’. Guessing where she would throw those limes is my favorite thing to do in this room.

Except for putting the holiday back into its very small box, that is.

David: Meet Lurid Digs’ new sponsor Every Day Jock. When I asked the owner, Mike, to describe his site and why he got into the jock biz, here’s what he told me:

I love underwear! That’s really how it all started.

Since I was a kid, I always picked the craziest underwear I could find. Growing up in a rural community, there weren’t many options but I always found something a little different to express myself whether it was superman under-Roos, blue FOTL or tie-dyed tighty whities.

My life-long love of the loincloth finally developed into an idea for a business that would allow me to do something I really enjoy. I’m working to build the largest collection of mens underwear on the web and one day open physical stores.

Everydayjock.com was founded in the spring 2013 and is based in Dallas, Tx.

Everyday Jock carries designer underwear from CIN2, Obviously, baskit PetitQ and many more. As a loyal reader of Lurid Digs, enjoy 20% off your next order at everydayjock.com with promo code LURIDDIGS.”

You heard it from the man yourself guys, go by some stuff and help support Lurid Digs too. A double win for all involved.

Richard: The Men’s Task Force at the First Baptist Church of Antimacassar, Alabama had truly outdone themselves. An hour before the Valentine’s Ball, they stepped back and surveyed their work. Everything was ready to go.

It hadn’t been easy. Just getting the ball approved by the church’s Events Committee had been a fearsome undertaking. Vera Mae Shoemake insisted that a respectable house of worship like First Baptist had no business whatsoever hosting a party to commemorate a pagan holiday like Valentine’s Day. “You mark my words, Raynell!”, she shouted, poking a newly French tipped index finger into the barrel chest of the Task Force chairman. “The man upstairs ain’t gonna be pleased with none of these here Satanic shenanigans! You hear me?” It was a rhetorical question, but she paused for effect anyway. Then, she spun on the heel of her chunky, navy blue pumps and stormed out of the committee meeting, a cloud of White Rain and White Shoulders, en route to the Coca-Cola machine.

But Raynell and the men persevered. They filled the church basement with the best furniture that Goodwill had to offer. (Some of it was a titch scratched, but it was nothing that a few of Betty Boutwell’s old flannel nightgowns couldn’t cover up.) They scoured their kids’ bedrooms for whimsical lamps. (It was a Valentine’s Ball, after all: mood lighting was a must.) And to top it all off, they asked members of the church chorus to donate artwork for a sprawling silent auction. (Organ-master Buzz Meriwether had been especially generous.)

With only an hour to go before guests were due to arrive, the men added an elegant, baby blue throw blanket for the sofa — which, in fairness, had seen better days, but it was comfortable. And Charles Chisolm brought in a charming Valentine’s Day garland that his great-niece had made in reform school. They hung it at a jaunty angle and collapsed on the sofa from exhaustion.

Unfortunately for the Men’s Task Force, Vera Mae Shoemake wasn’t done with them yet. She and the half-dozen other members of the Old Testament Study Group had formed a picket line outside the entrance to the basement, waving signs that read, “The journey to hell begins down these stairs!” and “Valentine’s Day is made for VD!” No one could get in –or out — all night.

And that is the story of the first and last Valentine’s Ball at the First Baptist Church of Antimacassar, Alabama.

Barrett: For once, I’m perplexed why a reader submitted this room for Lurid Digs. There’s a cozy warmth to this delightfully cohesive design scheme and it just makes me want to curl up by a fire post-coitus with a warm cup of equal parts non-fat Swiss Miss and Rumple Minze. It’s going to take some detective work to find this hideaway, but all signs point due north, so that’s a start.

Clearly, this region of the world gets cold and the room has plenty of visual interest thanks to layers of color and texture. Starting with a trio of polyester blankets (one likely electric) in complementary colors of Aspen Beige, Navajo Turquoise, and Farm-Raised Salmon, things take an unexpected turn for the plush with that fluffy shag throw.

Designed for a man of leisure, indicated by the non-working Radio Shack RS380 collectible 1968 AM/FM clock, the decor is timeless. The classic touch of Tiffany-inspired stained glass hints at a subtle sophistication, while the double-pull functionality promises to bring in two bulbs’ worth of three-way illumination (because nobody likes a dark three-way). With six different possible wattage combos, ranging from a soft Joan Crawford-endorsed 30 to a solar-eclipse-worthy max of 200, the prospects of shadow play are exciting.

Organization and delicate stacking in the closet are functional and space-saving, but also a bit threatening. Skill like this proves straight away that you wouldn’t want to take on this person in a game of Jenga. A mastery of physics is obviously at play and deserves respect.

The wood paneling restraint is also a plus. As we all know, floor-to-ceiling paneling is tacky. Floor-to-mid-tapestry? Elegant and refined. Speaking of which, in this obviously arctic clime it’s smart thinking to have wall art that doubles as an extra wrap. You never know when a blizzard could come in and knock out the power for a few days forcing hours of entertainment that requires two people in love.

Perhaps a John Denver singalong.

Richard: Remember a couple of weeks ago, when everyone on your Facebook feed was sharing that ridiculous promo pic for Downton Abbey — the one with the plastic water bottle? Well, this is like that, except in this case, the fuckups are really accidental, not “accidental on purpose”. (What, you think that none of the people who worked on that shot — including a professional photographer, half a dozen assistants, a room full of stylists, and a SWAT team of Photoshoppers, not to mention the actors — saw that water bottle perched in plain view? Dude, they all saw it. Some other time, I’ll explain the dynamics of social media marketing.)

For now, ignore the upholstery on that sofa, which isn’t quite period-appropriate, but it’s tasteful and subdued and hoity-toity enough for romantic homosexualists to see it and think, “Oooh, a Victorian lady’s parlor! We’ll have our crumpets in here, Carson.”

Ignore the wallpaper, which works the same way. I swear, some people think all anyone had in their houses before World War II were chamber pots and monochromatic floral prints.

Ignore the late-90s stereo system, bought for a song from an event production company that went out of business during the first internet bubble, when San Francisco start-ups no longer had the moolah for elaborate, butt-shaking IPO parties.

Ignore the moulding, which was either stolen from a Norwegian sauna, then buffed to remove decades of sweaty ass stains, or salvaged from a fantasy rumpus room constructed in 1973 at the Schenectady Architectural Show and Bake-Off (sponsored by Carvel).

And I’m not even going to broach the topic of that rug, which may or may not be 100% genuine polyester and may or may not have been bought at Big Lots for $14.99.

No, the biggest problem to me is that massive, lumpy throw pillow, which wants to appear vintage, but so clearly isn’t. It’s the size of those lilypads that carry away deposed baby kings in myths from the Subcontinent. It’s a Civil War whore whose corset is in the shop. It’s the kind of thing that Pasty Stone’s mother would’ve brought to an ashram. Like other things in this room, it needs to be reined in and bound up before it’ll satisfy anyone.

Richard: I have no idea where to begin with this one, so, being the Southerner that I am, I’ll kick off with a compliment: I love the color of that armchair.

That said, I don’t know what the fuck it’s doing in this room.

The biggest problem here is texture: there’s too much of it. There are lots of materials in this room, and none of them get along. It reminds me of a battle scene in Lord of the Rings, but instead of dwarves and elves and hobbits and orcs, there’s wood and brick and linoleum and another kind of linoleum. It’s quieter than in Mordor, but not by much.

Weirdest of all, this looks like a beach home. Maybe it’s the floor that’s throwing me off, or maybe it’s the fact that I can’t stop watching Spring Breakers, but I’d be willing to bet a round of Alabama Slammers that this den/living room sits within 100 yards of a peaceful, sandy shore or a really loud water park somewhere between gardening zone 9a and 10b. I’m thinking Florida, possibly St. Pete. Which leads me to wonder why the hell there’s a fireplace (or at least fireplace accouterments).

On a related note: why is there so much fake “brick”, when there’s obviously real brick in abundance? Couldn’t the owner at least let them match? And what the hell is that odd, wicker-y thing on the bench-y brick thing? It looks like a cross between a Golden Girls hanging lamp and something you’d find on a quest in Skyrim.

The saving grace is that towel on the chair. You know how it can be at the beach: once sand gets in your crevices, it’s nearly impossible to get out.




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