Fashion for Men

A Metonymy for Love.

By: Jen Shoop

I wake every morning to the sight of Mr. Magpie’s childhood cedar wood dresser.  It’s followed me, unwelcome, from home to home since marrying Mr. Magpie, who has been hauling it around since college.  And when I say hauling, I do mean hauling.  The thing weighs a shipping ton, goes with exactly nothing in our entire apartment, and stands broad and heavy in a way that befits a ski chalet instead of our slate-and-lavender bedroom with its upholstered headboard and mirrored glass side-tables.

But it greets me every morning, wide and American and often missing half of its knobs, which tend to fall off their screws when I yank too hard, or when the glue Mr. Magpie has used to re-affix them gives up, or on a Tuesday morning just because.  The truant knobs then sit atop the dresser in a tight cluster until Mr. Magpie spends a Saturday puttering around the apartment, replacing bulbs and tightening screws and handling all of those household things I am clueless about.  In the meantime, I painfully pull my drawers out by bare screw, the threads cutting into my fingers — or shimmy them out from the open drawer beneath — cursing under my breath about this damned cedar dresser.

Two days ago, both knobs of my most-used drawer fell off simultaneously.

The next morning, after Mr. Magpie and I had gone about a perfunctory but cozy morning getting ready for the day and tossed harried “byes!” and “love yous!” at each other as I wrangled mini into her clothing and he juggled a wet Tilly and his overflowing coffee mug, I headed into my room to get dressed.  I bent down to forge a solution to the knob-less drawer and I noticed that it had been pulled out half-way in anticipation of my need.

The damned cedar dresser had been the unsuspecting site of a casual act of love, done wordlessly and without pomp.  It had become the courier for a kind of solicitude I cherish but have often forgotten about in the hustle bustle of our daily lives together.

And so I have come around to that damned cedar dresser after all, its unlikely stewardship of Mr. Magpie’s thoughtfulness endearing itself to me.  In fairness, it has stood the test of time and staved off the purchase of a costly piece of furniture that we would probably not have been able to fit in our New York City apartment anyway.  And truthfully, it’s handsome in a timeless kind of way, something that might have been in a house in 1942 or 1989 or, well, 2018, and it’s stubborn and tall and stately and very American and — oh my God, it’s a metonymy for Mr. Magpie.

Thank you, damned cedar dresser, for all you do.

Post-Scripts: Home Update.

+This pendant light fixture (seen at the top of this post in the home of Nicola Bathie, along with these acrylic counter stools) is SO RAD.  I love its artsiness and unique texture.  One day…

+In all honesty, I would still gladly cede the damned cedar dresser for this beauty, which I have eyed for years.  (Or upgrade to this more modern take on the cedar dresser.)

+I have wanted a Paule Marrot framed textile to hang over our upholstered bed for the last five or six years.  But in our Chicago home, we decided to outfit the first floor first, as we thought it would see the most use and foot traffic, and so we invested in artwork and forever pieces of furniture down there and we sold the house before we were ready to tackle our bedroom.  And now that we’ve moved to New York, Mr. Magpie has smartly cautioned against buying anything specific to our apartment, as we will likely move in the next few years.

+We are finally upgrading our bedding as it is looking a little threadbare after five years of use!  I am debating between repurchasing the Restoration Hardware Italian Hotel set (which we currently have in the stone finish — I am impressed with the quality! — and you can get the look for less with this set) or trying something new.  I have long loved the scalloped edges of the Matouk Butterfield collection, and have also posted quite a bit about Hill House Home’s Waverly collection.  Decisions, decisions….

+This is a really sleek treatment for a modern home with a fireplace.

+I finally decided on a lamp for my desk: this one in lavender.  Only to find that it had just sold out — permanently! — in the lavender color.  (It’s been discontinued!)  Sob.  I am debating whether to just get it in white or re-start the search.  Who knew picking a lamp could be such an arduous journey?

+I own a set of hard placemats like these that we use constantly — so much easier to keep clean that the fabric ones I own since I’m constantly corralling stray bits of food and drippy bowls and sticky utensils from minimagpie’s high chair.  Strongly recommend!

+I’ve heard really good things about this memory foam bath mat, especially for parents who are often kneeling at the bath tub to bathe their little ones.  I currently use this Puj kneeler and it’s a little slice of heaven though I do wish it were a little bit bigger.  I’m petite, too!

+My New York apartment judges me.

+Love this runner for fall — even for a Thanksgiving tablescape.  I’d pair it with greenery like mini boxwoods.

+I always get a lot of questions about the leaning bookshelves in our apartment — they are Crate & Barrel, and I love them because they stow a ton of books without blocking any light in our apartment.

+Superfun addition to a nursery.

+Unrelated, but I love this stationery for a little boy — and these birthday cards for a dog lover!

+The best gear for small apartments and an exhaustive roundup of my favorite snags for home.


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

Previous Article

Next Article