Emma Samms: Function over fashion
- Credit: Archant
‘The same could be said for extremely handsome men. They get away with less reliabilty and practical capabilities and you worry about leaving them anywhere.’
I got a new electric kettle in the January sales. Any British person would understand the significance of this event and the importance of getting such a vital piece of equipment right. Make the wrong choice and every cup of tea for the foreseeable future is tainted. I know this because that’s what happened four years ago. I bought a bad kettle. I bought one that was retro styled and the right colour for my kitchen. It looked good but I couldn’t tell how much water was in it and it was so noisy that all conversation had to stop till it had finished boiling. I cursed this kettle but I had only myself to blame.
So this time I went for function over form. I selected a kettle that had a water level window, and proudly and correctly proclaimed how quiet it is. There is nothing pleasing about the way it looks but I don’t care. I love my new kettle.
This got me thinking about the choices we make in life regarding aesthetics versus practicality. When does beauty overtake functionality as a requirement? For me, as I’ve got older, I’d say less and less. Clothing-wise, for example, I find myself selecting the most comfortable and warm clothes in my wardrobe and only when absolutely necessary opting for anything even vaguely glamorous. I’d dress head to toe in light, warm and easily washed fleece every day if I could. And flat shoes (no high heels) just to complete the look.
For a few years when I lived in Los Angeles I drove a series of delightful little sports cars. The last of which was a cream coloured Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo. I could carry only one passenger, fit nothing in the boot and its powerful motor was entirely under-utilised due to the uppermost speed limit on California freeways being 55 miles per hour. It really was very pretty indeed though. At this point in my life however, I wouldn’t dream of driving anything other than an estate car. I like to have enough room for my dogs, my children, their friends and an ongoing selection of large pieces of furniture found at Wotton Auction Rooms. My current car (the second Ford Mondeo Estate that I’ve owned in a row) is treasured for its reliability and practical capabilities. I would actually prefer not to have an attention-grabbing car as I’d be far too worried about leaving it anywhere.
The same could be said for dating extremely handsome men. They get away with less reliability and practical capabilities and you worry about leaving them anywhere.
I’ve worked with so many good-looking men that I’m practically immune to the square-jawed, rippling muscles, movie star look. But if a man makes me laugh, if he’s thoughtful and kind, and if he knows things that I don’t know, then that’s the man I’d like to spend time with.
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The one area that I’ve been totally seduced by aesthetics is my house. I could choose to live in a house that’s inexpensive to heat. I could have a house that allows a wifi signal to travel easily throughout. I could have a house that is easy to clean and into which I’d be allowed to install double glazed windows, but no, I have a house that is hundreds of years old and is beautiful. Despite its recent updates and renovation, no one could describe my house as practical. You probably couldn’t even describe it as sensible, but having lived in America for 13 years and therefore being highly susceptible to anything ‘quaint’ and ‘historical’, living in a modern house here in the Cotswolds would be anathema to me.
So I’m not entirely immune to beauty though, generally speaking, usefulness and efficiency are more pleasing to me. To boil it down (quickly and quietly like my new kettle) I like my men, my cars, my clothes and my kettle to be practical but I’ve got a bit of a weakness for a pretty, old house.
For more from Emma Samms follow her on Twitter! @EmmaSamms1