Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The No Touch Room

Every knick-knack and chachka is expertly positioned; couches and end-tables positioned just so. A shrine clearly depicting the female inhabitants’ decorating and cleaning ability, this sterile room should buy shares with Pine Sol. The air is stale and still – have humans ever been granted permission to enter this sacred shrine?

Reserved for guests - but not ALL guests - this sacred room is fondly known in my sarcastic world as The No Touch Room. To the lay person, this is traditionally known as the living room.

And no, I don’t have one. And I guess after this opus, I won’t be invited to yours.

A house guests’ importance, or social ranking, is clearly defined by whether he or she is granted access to such room, if worthy, that is. But it’s a one shot deal. If you have met the qualifications (whatever they are) and granted entry, GREAT! Relish the moment! Because after that, you are not a ‘guest’ in the house anymore; your sock-clad foot will likely never cross the threshold again.

I observed these life-altering lessons, as it were, through an acquaintance who shall remain nameless. I value my life.

(And don’t bother asking me who it is, because I won’t tell you. If you ask, I won’t invite you to my own No Touch Room, should I ever have one.)

I have witnessed tours granted to new house guests - those barely worthy of stepping near the shrine - only to have the room remarked with a dramatic flair of her arm. Yet, the tour continues past the infamous room, the dismayed visitors sadly end up settling in the family room. They have just realized their ranking.

Would the Queen pass the test and be granted permission? I should give Liz a call and invite her over to my acquaintances’ humble abode, just to see what would happen; if not for my own entertainment, then to at least collect fodder for an epilogue to this literary masterpiece.

The only time I was ever granted permission of entry was when my other ‘acquaintances’ and I were invited for a ‘prestigious’ function, which shall also remain nameless; too revealing otherwise (also note the generic use of ‘acquaintances,’ again, for protection of all involved). My vivid imagination fuelled my nervousness; I was certain an invisible fleck of skin would fall off my body and land on the hand-manicured carpet with a thud.

I dare not put the notion of plastic seat covers in her head. Should I ever commit such a sin, the backs of my shorts-clad legs would forever need be dusted in baby powder, should I ever allowed entry again. Oh...forget it. I won’t be going in there again, anyways.

Grandmothers are known for owning this kind of room. Is this thinking genetic, rearing its furniture-polished head through the domesticity of modern day homemakers? Only those of us lucky to own a house in these times, never mind having one big enough bearing such a shrine to ‘worthy’ visitors, would be fortunate to exercise this genetic gift.

Alarmingly, I discovered another ‘acquaintance’ of mine has, as it may seem, a No Touch Room.

I am still reeling from the discovery, as I didn’t think she had it in her.
With my own entry to the house confined to the front foyer, it was only after numerous brief visits when I finally noticed something odd (I never said I was sharp). A little door to the left protected a…

Could it BE?!

She has one too!

French doors heavily laden with view-obstructing sheers shield the coveted room from any curious onlookers. Sterile and pristine, everything displayed to perfection according to the bible of No Touch Rooms. Even the stagnant air seemed to know its place.

I was left to my own devices as she scurried away in search of her furniture polish (okay, not really; just booties to put over my shoes), and I took full advantage of the moment. Even though I nearly suffocated from pressing my nose against the sheers, I smugly realized one thing; I might not be the next Martha Stewart, but I knew the difference between 1980 and NOW.

I think I still have the imprint of the sheers on my nose.

In an instant, a clear picture of this person’s personality, who I only knew as an acquaintance, was clearly painted. It was like the puzzle pieces of this person I was trying to understand and know, fell into place with a resounding CLICK. But if this room was kept, say, as a weight room, my perception of this person would have been totally different.

Maybe my opinion of this phenomenon would be different if I could afford the luxury of space to accommodate a No Touch or ‘weight’ room. If I was a socialite or a weight lifter, my thoughts and priorities would be different. I wouldn’t, however, have plastic seat covers or posters of Jane Fonda, respectively.

Just posters of Arnold, the early years, I guess.

For now, I am happy with Cheerios between the cushions, cat hair on the arm rests, and feet on the coffee table. I have only one ‘room’, a multi-purpose room of sorts; a living/rumpus/family/dining/napping/games room.
But my bathroom is always spotless.

Names, places and functions are witheld to protect the innocent - me.


  1. LOL, Lisa.

    One thing I know for sure is that I will never face the Wrath of Visitors Scorned. I don't have a No Touch Room.
    I don't have Cheerios, either. My debris of choice is Bridge Mixture.
    And I even avoid the stigma of a particular decor – I like to call mine eclectic.

  2. Too funny, Lisa! I had a childhood friend whose mother also had a No Touch Room--plastic runner on the carpet leading to the room and plastic covering all the furniture. I think it was only used on Christmas...


  3. I remember, as a child, the scoldings for leaving a mess, for leaving fingerprints, dropping cookie crumbs, etc. I think that's what made me into the very 'relaxed' housekeeper I am today. But there is also the matter of space. My living room/ dining area/ kitchen is what's euphemistically called 'cosy'. I do vacuum up the cat's fur when allergic guests are due. Dusting is a word I would delete from the English language. And why are there never enough book shelves? But while I try to make my guests feel welcome, I also have to offer them a sticky roller as they leave. Daniela