We have grown up with envy. We envied each other’s bodies. We envied each other’s clothes. We envied the cool girls and maybe the clever girls and certainly the sexy girls. We envied people’s attitudes and intellects and capabilities. Some of us envied engagement rings, others envied holidays. But most of us, these days, suffer from house envy. It’s a chronic condition and it’s not going anywhere.
Big Little Lies has not helped, repeat has not helped. For the uninitiated, they all live in SPLENDOUR in some money-flooded beach village in California. It isn’t helped by the fact that they all sip large glasses of wine on their cliff-top terraces at sunset. That doesn’t help at all. Because, when we envy houses, are we really envying lifestyles?
No. We are envying houses. The flung together houses of people with not much money but ridiculously wonderful taste and/or incredible DIY skills. The design temples of those who manage never to buy rubbish and tat and generic ‘middle class’ markers. The vast monuments to money of the really, really, properly rich where the very air seems honeyed. The charming country retreats of those who either relocated and now live a kind of chicken-populated dream life. Seemingly. Oh let’s not forget the gyms and pools and playrooms. And just to be pedestrian, let us not forget loft-envy and extension-envy. Sometimes it can be as simple as front-door envy. Or even front path/step envy. We are not above going granular with our covetousness.
But here’s the thing: The most elegant house in Big Little Lies is Nicole Kidman’s and she has a violently abusive husband. So, I suppose, we need to remember, that a house is not a home. But sometimes it is teeth-grindingly hard. Particularly when they have a dressing room.