I used to be a real stickler for everything in my home being real, genuine. I had an unbreakable rule: Real fruit in the fruit bowl, even if no one ever ate it. Real flowers artfully displayed, even if we weren’t expecting company. If it wasn’t real, I didn’t display it or arrange it. Years went by, and it became an almost full-time job keeping ahead of the rotting, wilting, uh, expense of it all. The real fruit rotted in the fruit bowl before it was time to go to the food store again. The real flowers wilted and died halfway through the week they were guaranteed to last.
Keeping one step ahead of the rotten and dead took up too much of my psychic energy and free time after a while. Week after week, it was a choice between either eating the last apple or making something out of it. And how much fruit can one family eat anyway? Or flowers. I’d spend an hour or two arranging flowers only to have them kick the bucket after a couple of days. I wanted to change, but I didn’t know quite what to do. I mean, fresh fruit and flowers make a home feel more homey to me and I hated to give that feeling up, but the plasticky flowers and jeweled fruit I grew up with didn’t seem like viable alternatives.
Then in walked my girlfriend Ginger. When she lived close by (now she lives in St. Louis <sniff>) we visited back and forth pretty often. One afternoon I walked into her kitchen and exclaimed over the new rosemary topiary sitting on the kitchen counter. She smiled as I walked over to rub a leaf and catch a whiff. When I got thisclose I realized the rosemary topiary was faux. It was fake and it didn’t look fake or gross! It was a revelation!
Another time soon after I walked into Ginger’s dining room and saw a very pretty tree. It looked like it needed watered, though, since a few curled up brown leaves rested on top of the pot. Ginger smiled. Faux! It was faux!
Ginger sold me on faux. She coached me: Start with a high-quality faux plant, add a few “real” elements to the tableau (the dried up leaves, for example) and you can fool most of the people most of the time. Now I use faux in my home, selectively, and to great effect.
Quick! Real or faux?