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Monday, February 15, 2010

Who Cares What It's Called

A Happy Lundi Gras to all

My second post with a "Who Cares" title. Perhaps this will be a series. A while back, Funny About Money was passing on various frugal household tips, some of which had to do with dish towels and napkins. In the safety of the comment section, I confessed. As a child, I hated napkins and used the nice big terry dish towels. My mother "allowed" me to do this and even told others about my peculiar predilection.

Fast forward to adulthood. As the boss of certain aspects of my household, I have declared dish towels the required napkin for the whole family. Why use skimpy cloth napkins that require ironing and look bad after a few washes when you can luxuriate with a large towel that always looks nice? Who cares that it's called a dish towel? I mentioned that I had come out of the (linen) closet on this domestic issue.

However, I know that some would be repulsed by this, so we do keep a small stash of paper napkins for guests. It's hard to go against convention. And my convictions waver at times.

We have had some terrible cold spells this winter. So I thought about getting wool long underwear. Those babies are expensive! Then I remembered that I had a pair of Eileen Fisher wool knit pants. I bought these at a very upscale consignment shop in Wellesley MA, as we waited for my mother to emerge from her high school reunion. The pant were 80% off ($6.00) and I bought them to test run the famous Eileen Fisher waist band for the middle-aged.

Who cares if I'm wearing Eileen Fisher pants as long underwear or even pajamas? They go just fine with the thrifted cashmere sweaters I already wear around the house when it's cold.

But, of course, often people DO care. I was invited to a baby shower for an adopting single mother a few years ago. I did not have baby shower wrapping paper, but, since the mom is Jewish, I used some Chanukah paper that I did have. The baby was still in Guatemala at that point and I'm sure she didn't care. But the mom did care. Every other gift was wrapped in pink paper and most of the invitees were also in pink (I didn't know this was a custom). When I handed over the gift, the mom started laughing and showed the paper to various people. I was embarrassed at further consolidating my reputation for awkward eccentricity.

Do you have any "Who cares what it's called?" habits? Have you ever offended anyone?


Over the Cubicle Wall said...

When people get on my for something that is 'too frugal', I always ask them who it is they think I am trying to impress. The answer is, of course, nobody. Most people realize that right away and get a chuckle out of it. The rest aren't worth saving... :)

Deja Pseu said...

We tend to use dishtowels as napkins too!

Northmoon said...

Cloth dish towels sound better than small paper napkins to me. I can't see anyone being "repulsed"!

That mother was just rude to centre you out and make a big deal about the wrapping paper! And I think it's pretty over the line to expect everyone to wear pink too.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Cubicle--You have reached a higher level. I still get embarrassed...

@Deja--If a stylish person like you thinks it's OK, it must be more than OK, even chic.

@northmoon--I didn't mean to say the woman was mean to me. Just a chuckle. I tend to over-react. There was no rule about wearing pink. It's just that everyone DID wear pink. I am clueless about many things.

Duchesse said...

If towel is cotton or linen, (similar texture to a napkin) I say who cares? If someone hands me a thick terry, I'd guess they expect me to be pretty messy or they have have some mighty BBQ a-comin'.

BTW the French word form "napkin" and "towel" are the same, serviette.

The shower guest of honour has poor manners.

Accounting Dude & Frugal Chick said...

Your story was great and a good idea for nights when we have messy meals.
It also reminded me of a time when my frugalness wasn't appreciated. My mom never put bows on packages. It didn't matter the occation. So I don't put bows on any presents. You should have seen it the first Christmas I went to my husbands family gathering because all of their gifts had huge expensive bows on them. My husand apologized for not having bows. The gifts were wrapped neatly just missing bows. They have learned that I'm not putting a bow on a present just to ride an hour in the car and get all messed up. Now there is no expectation for a bow, and his mother even left a few bows off this year. Only big gifts get bows.
By the way my friend Lizzie told me about your blog. She is friends with your daughter.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--When you come over, I'll use linen dish towels.

@Accounting--Love the bow story. Thanks for commenting. Roll tide?????

Funny about Money said...

LOL! I offend people all the time.

In the "who cares what it's called" department, I've never been able to figure out the fascination with designer brands. If it fits and it flatters...yup! Who cares what it's called.

Was thrilled to discover through your comments, post, and FS reader responses that I'm not alone in preferring dishtowels to napkins at the table! How nice, for a change, not to feel like a solitary eccentric. :-D