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Watching the couples who own homes or who are shopping for homes on HGTV can be quite informative. You can often see which partner is the dominant one in the relationship. You can see how much women still blame men if they are not handy. You can also see how many people begin projects and either run out of steam or run out of skills before they finish. There are awful looking rooms all over America and Canada; gutted kitchens, unusable baths, bizarre basements, master bedrooms without walls.
Most of the women on HGTV claim that they do not cook. In some cases the women imply that the kitchen will belong to the man. In some cases it seems that neither the woman nor the man cooks and heaven knows what these people do for meals. Even though they don’t cook all appliances must be stainless steel and top of the line, countertops must be granite or marble, and, whether you cook or not, you need custom cupboards.
Touring or renovating bathrooms brings out lots of private peeks at how couples negotiate their division of this prime piece of real estate. If there are not double sinks then usually the woman gets the sink in the main bathroom by default. Hopefully there is another, secondary bathroom that the man can use for his ablutions. People are always getting into bathtubs together or showers, but they are not usually suggestive about it, thank goodness.
Closets and laundry rooms belong to women; garages, basements and yards belong to men. If there are two walk-in closets in the master, the male may be allotted some space in one of the closets. If there are two smaller closets they become hers and hers. If the closets get too small they don’t buy the house.
Americans looking for houses in Europe or Asia or various tropical islands consistently reveal that no matter how much people may claim they want to go native, they don’t. People are always excited to get an oven in a tropical country although they will probably never use it. You can see the struggle the real estate agent is having trying to find American amenities in a place that is not America.
A number of gay couples (often men) appear on HGTV, but they do not seem to go through these same rituals as the two sex couples. I do not mean to leave them out of the discussion but they must do their negotiations off-camera.