Last time I wrote about modern quilts and was notified by a (usually) regular reader that he did not read that column as it held no interest for him. He advised me to provide some balance this time by writing on a “guy-friendly” topic. So today’s topic is taxidermy, which is not, I know, universally guy-friendly—but it is pretty close!
I have lots of taxidermy at my house. The only spaces absent of taxidermy are the bathrooms and the pantry. Given that wildlife and hunting are central to how we make a living, it would not make much sense to not have taxidermy.
Guys love my house. Whether their socially or professionally, they generally spend at least a little while standing around with their mouths gaping open. One of our friends brings a small flashlight, which he uses periodically to spotlight various shoulder-mounts or skulls while he sits on my couch.
Women are either neutral or, more likely, uncomfortable with all the taxidermy. Many of them find it to be terribly creepy. Of course, I fail to understand this attitude. I love animals and I love art. Well-done taxidermy is a form of sculpture and honors the animal who formerly owned the hide and antlers or horns. Good taxidermists strive to capture the nature of a living animal.
We also have several “European mounts,” which are basically bleached skulls. I prefer European mounts for a variety of reasons. Many artists have also seen animal skulls as beautiful, most notably Georgia O’Keefe. My husband, the biologist, collects skulls so that he can better understand how the animal works.
Many, many men have told me their wives will not let them have any kind of dead animal relic in their home. Yet every time I look at a home decor magazine, there is an antler, a skull, or a full-blown shoulder mount in one or more of the rooms depicted. I also fail to understand how you could not want beautifully sculpted shoulder mount hanging above your leather sofa, which is, after all, covered with the skin of a dead animal. Our latest dead animal dilemma is what to do with the beautiful, large, heavy, black alligator hide my husband had tanned. Many women have said “Ewww,” but many of these same women would be thrilled to have a genuine alligator purse. Can someone please explain this to me?
So there it is Daryl—does that balance the scales?