I watch HGTV every now and then. They have a show called House Hunters, where a couple are shown three houses and they choose which one they will buy.
I have noticed a few things while watching this. Firstly, US of Americans* do not refer to a room containing a toilet as a toilet. Instead they call it a half bath. There is no bath, not even half of one. Just a toilet and a basin. But then, North Americans (yes, Canadians have the same issue) have long avoided referring to the toilet. They use a bathroom, restroom, or washroom. Unfortunately this reluctance to say “toilet” is spreading. Here in New Zealand I often hear people say bathroom instead of toilet, and some malls have signs pointing to the restrooms. I have yet to see a nice couch or bed where one could have a rest in one of those rooms.
But I digress. US of Americans seem to think that a house (or apartment – condo in their language) needs at least one bathroom per person. Even a couple without children will turn up their noses if there aren’t two bathrooms. And, of course, there have to be dual basins in the bathrooms. I grew up in a household of 2 adults and four children and we managed with one bathroom and one toilet, and none of us is receiving counselling as a result.
It isn’t just bathrooms that cause angst. Closets (wardrobes to the rest of us) also have to be the size of a normal bedroom, and the kitchen has be huge. The counter tops must be granite, and there has to be an island and, preferably, a peninsula. The appliances have to be stainless steel, and the cook top has to use gas, not electricity. If the kitchen is more than five years old it will need to be ripped out and replaced. All the floors have to be hardwood but there seems to be a lack of awareness among the women that stiletto heels and wooden floors do not mix well.
There is also a show called House Hunters International, which is the same thing but features US of American couples looking for houses elsewhere in the world. It is amusing watching them look at apartments in Europe expecting to find large kitchens and two bathrooms. These are rarities in Europe. The local real estate agents must find their US of American clients very odd, and frustrating to deal with.
I am also struck by how many US of Americans think their children are very stupid. One couple didn’t like a kitchen because the gas cook top was on the island and therefore one of the kids might put their hand in the flame. Another didn’t like the staircase as their kids might decide to jump over the banister. They will only do it once and if your kids really are that stupid then maybe you should look at the gene pool they crawled out of.
Overall these shows can be amusing, but you do find yourself wanting to throw things at the TV. This isn’t helped by the number of women on the show who have the most annoying screechy voices. Where do they find them?
*I use this term as America is not just the bit between Canada and Mexico, it actually stretches from the most northerly part of Canada all the way south to Tierra del Fuego. Argentinians, Chileans, and Panamanians are all Americans. Calling the USA America is like calling France Europe.