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The Taxidermy Den

January 10, 2009

I love my boyfriend. I get him, he gets me. We come from entirely different planets but for some reason, for the most part, we work well. I love our apartment – it feels home-y and comfortable and it’s definitely a blend of the two of us. Sure, I don’t like some of the knickknacks on our display shelves/bookcases (a grenade or shell casing as a paperweight?), but not enough to put up a fuss. I am sure he isn’t in love with my collection of purple vases – but some things just aren’t worth fighting over.

Others are.

Frank grew up in a world of outdoorsiness and Teddy Roosevelt as a hero. He was a Boy Scout and works in the North Atlantic and has a giant lumberjack beard. While I am not a diva, I am not quite as … rustic. (Frank calls me “Pretty, pretty princess” if I whine about parking too far away from the diner.) So, Frank likes taxidermy.

Taxidermy scares the hell out of me.Yes, I know this is weird and quirky and ridiculous. What scares me about taxidermy? The eyes. The dead, glass eyes – staring at me, unblinking. Pretending to be something living, in some sort of ridiculous “what? I was just about to attack this tree and you killed and stuffed me!” pose. I also hate fish for similar reasons. And honestly – my definition of taxidermy also includes things from animals that aren’t clothing or furniture. Or really, anything that freaks me out in mock imitation of a real animal. Like,mounted deer antlers.

My fear of taxidermy has caused major freak-outs in museums in Europe (they freakin’ love their taxidermy in France) and caused some major issues when I worked at the Museum of Natural History. I developed whole roundabout routes to get to my office while passing a minimal amount of giant, stuffed dead things. If you have ever been to the AMNH you know that this is a major, major accomplishment. Especially since I also have to avoid the dinosaur rooms and their terrifying eye-bones (please note – I still love dinosaurs and giant skeletons. They just freak me out and I have to kind of mentally … prepare… for them. Yes, I get it – freak. Let’s move on.)

So, of course – I fall for a guy that loves taxidermy. And not only loves it, but considers it a viable form of decoration. I suppose I should be grateful that he doesn’t think that pictures of cars the “Girls in Waders” calendar is awesome wall art, but as noted – I really hate taxidermy.

My secret weapon? We have come to a system where the amount of taxidermy in the apartment must maintain a correlation to the amount of throw pillows in the apartment at any given time. It is a given, that as a female – I love throw pillows. I don’t entirely think this is fair, because even though Frank claims to hate throw pillows, he is currently lying on the couch, resting his head on … you guessed it – throw pillows. But – hey, at least it’s a limit of control that doesn’t make me seem like more of  a shrewish harpy.

Finances are tight. Always have been, and will forseeably remain tight in the future. The dream of homeownership for us seems as far away as winning the lotto  (and we know the stress that causes me) but yet – we talk, we dream, we make plans. One day, when we can buy a house with more than a kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom, we will have a den. Or a spare room. Or some place that Frank can go, and shut the door and make his little man cave (which is fine, because I would then claim the rest of the house). And in that cave, he can have all the taxidermy his giant heart wants. As long as he promises I never have to go in there.



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