Richard:The life of a musician is hard — but then, you knew that. Harder still is the life of a real estate agent in 2010. Seriously, that shit blows.

But Steven is no ordinary real estate agent: he’s arguably the best Fort Lauderdale has to offer. As proof, check this shady, Masonite-paneled abode, constructed in the late 1970s for New Age wunderkind, Yanni. Sadly, Yanni moved on long ago, but to make sure that househunters know the provenance of the windowless split-level ranch with off-street parking and beach view, Steven commissioned a portrait of Yanni’s longtime bunkmate, Linda Evans. “Buy this”, Steven whispers as shoppers stand quietly before the painting, “and you’re buying a piece of entertainment history”. (But not the portrait, because the portrait stays with him.)

When Steven paid for the portrait — $500, acrylic on board, signed on verso — little did he know what a great investment he was making. As it turns out, the house is haunted, and no owner has lived there for more than a year. Which means Steven gets to dust off the portrait every few months and make another 6%. Cha-ching.

Today, however, Linda Evans isn’t enough. (I never thought I’d write those words.) In this market, Steven has to go the extra mile to make his customers happy — though more often than not, it’s just an inch or six. At least the commission gives him something to think about besides the shoddy ceiling paint job.

Richard: Sweden is known for many things, including:

• Greta Garbo
• Pacemakers
• Lutfisk

Sweden is also known for Ikea and H&M, which many people consider signs of the End Times, but you know what? That shit sells. And as long as you don’t get it wet, your pants/sundress/Elkkefarjarrr bedroom suite will look damn good.

But despite all the stylish crap available in Sweden, here we are in the living room of an Arbesko shipping associate, surrounded by furniture that looks like it might’ve been pulled from the set of a short-lived Scandinavian sitcom ripoff of Working Girl. That is an educated guess based on the color of the armchair at left, because that shade of mauve has only been seen on milk cartons since it went missing in 1988.

Frankly, it looks like someone went shopping for a new flat-pack dinette set, threw away the MDF table and chairs, and kept the cardboard boxes. Which only goes to show: even Swedes can’t understand those assembly instructions. At least the pussies in the room will have something to play with.

Eric: I fear that the reign of gay taste is ending, brought down by the heterosexist idea that function trumps form, that the feeling of kicking back is more important than the appearance of that back upon which one kicks.

The demise of our stylish supremacy can be summed up in one phrase: velour-covered squooshy furniture.

If I squint and hit myself upside the head, I can almost picture the orange couch and blue chair kinda working together in the same room. Not a room I’d get naked in, of course, even if they had the skeet blankets missing here.

Yes, yes, yes, I know I know I KNOW already that these aesthetic monstrosities are soooooo comfortable and that they last forever. I’ve had my recliner since La-Z-Boy was just a brand name and not a cultural aspiration.
I also know that it wouldn’t kill you to buy a goddamn slipcover two shades lighter than the walls, thereby beginning a deliberately casual feel, reducing the visual bulk and keeping the room from feeling overstuffed.
And yes, they do make them for recliners. So there.

Laminate KD storage pieces, entertainment centers and so on are a sometimes necessary evil. Kindest thing to do is a soft drybrushing in a light, neutral tone, letting some of the fake woodgrain show through. Doesn’t take long, helps with the cottage feel our gay magic is pulling out of the stale air, and shows mercy to your guests who want to look at anything other than their own reversed images.

Gays who survive the coming schlockopalypse will, I pray, instinctively remember that mirrors are important for what they reflect. Give that mega wardrobe the bedside seat it deserves. Nobody needs to see that sad little torchere twice. Once is surely enough..

Richard: This kind of thing drives me nuts. I mean, just look at that. What’s the first thing that crosses your mind?

Exactly: Who’s going to dust those shelves? Who’s going to check every nook and cranny of that mancave to make sure that it’s sparkly clean? You think you’re up to the challenge? Ha! That’s no job for a mere mortal — that’s a job for He-Man, Master of the Universe!

No, seriously, that job would suck. If you have this many plastic things to display, they belong behind glass or in your nightstand drawer.

On the upside, the curator is clearly a fan of Cowboy Bebop, which is encouraging. And based on the Rosetta Stone case in the lower right, he’s down for a little self-improvement. So, at least there’s hope.

Shawn: Look, we all have our familial resentments, but those are usually best aired in a controlled forum like an intervention, an exorcism, or a cock fight. Working out your ire against Mommy and Daddy via a Recon personal ad should be reserved for those with the last names Barrymore or Lohan only.

This whole room has such a young adult circa 1989 air to it that it’s either A) unoccupied but left extant like an unhealed wound, or B) the site of arrested development that could never free itself from the nest after atrophy set in to the wings. Indicators lead me to wonder if this space wasn’t assembled by parents on behalf of the occupant, or least from passed-down items no one wanted anymore.

The tiny TV summons up memories of the first one we all had in our rooms so we could privately watch Skinemax movies and porn our friends passed our way, while the over-bed hutch full of stuffed animals, gimme caps, and family photos is eerily similar to the first “real” bed my neighbor had after he outgrew his race car one.

And it’s all being enacted on Doogie Howser’s bedspread no less! It’s great that The Punisher can help you vent, but who will be there when your impish parents crawl under the door, your world caves inward on itself, and all you’re left with is the cryptic hush of…Silencio?

Eric: Mostly, I love this job. Interior design, snark, and penises all at the same time? A dream come true. Yet sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat, terror seizing my throat, with my flight instinct in overdrive. Wanna guess which reaction this room gave me?

There aren’t enough invisible quotation marks in the world to make this mess work. Not by far.

It’s like someone went through the Lurid Digs archives and put together a chamber just to give me nightmares. Scroll back through the pages if you’d like; I’m just gonna catch my breath and go down the list.

• Pink rooms for men? Never.

• Rug used as artwork/headboard? Conditional.

• Electronica displayed as wealth? Horrendously tacky.

• Cutesy kid stuff next to naked men? Creepy.

• And, finally, naked men covering their naughtybits?


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