After we’d been dating a while, I began to realize that Katy’s designer mentality was rubbing off on me in all kinds of ways. Sneaky ways. All of a sudden the throw pillows on my couch looked ridiculous. The “art” on my walls might as well have been plucked from a college dorm room. Even my clothes were all wrong.
Of course, Katy never said any of this to me. She’s far too polite for that. But little by little, as if by osmosis, I’d started seeing the world through new eyes. Now I was much choosier making purchases—not just furniture or art or clothes. I even started buying a different brand of dog treats because I left them in a visible spot in my kitchen and wanted them to look cool.
But if I thought buying things for myself had become a painstaking process, forget about buying gifts for Katy. That became a two-week ordeal. No matter the item—jewelry, clothing, knick-knacks of any kind—the worry over its features consumed me. Is it kitschy? Is it tacky? Is the color just right or all wrong?
Then there was the matter of presenting the gift. Store-bought wrapping paper? No longer an option. Not only couldn’t I find any that looked pretty enough, but Katy also abhorred the thought of using paper for nothing more than to be ripped apart and thrown away. I ended up using pattern swatches from a collection she kept, making copies and having them digitally printed onto quality paper. Kind of genius, actually. It turned into two gifts in one every time. She started using those pattern prints to send thank-yous or personal notes.
This new way of seeing the world was actually starting to feel pretty good.