Bang and Hang

My darling spouse laughs at me. A lot. He says I am from the “bang and hang” school of project management. I don’t like to measure or, really do math of any sort. My method is to just sort of eyeball it and see what happens. None of the pictures I’ve hung are straight. The hems on some of the garments I’ve made are wonky. I use the wrong sized lightbulbs for lamps because I just grab what I can find. That’s why I can barely see when I sit at my desk, but I’m not changing it; already did it once.

I like to call myself an imperfectionist. I am really okay with minor snags and snarls. The one exception is my bed; my bed must be made to my exact standards or I will not even get in it, let alone be able to sleep. The pictures are hung, the hems are sewn. What more do you want? I recall a particular SNL skit with Fred Armisen as Joy Behar: “So what? Who cares?”

My husband laughs at me because I follow this strategy almost all the time: I just now cut the tag off some shoes I’ve worn six times. There are price tags and labels on dishes I’ve owned for 15 years. Who knew stickers could be so aggressive? I avoid wiping down the baseboards. I sometimes don’t rinse my dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. (shocking) I don’t taste new recipes before I serve them; I followed the directions. What could I possible do to make it better? So what? Who cares? It’s good enough. And yet, I know this is lazy and I know I can do better.

If I’m making something for someone else, I won’t stop until it’s as close as humanly possible to perfection. I made a dress for my niece to wear in a wedding. I sewed and resewed the zipper on the back of it three times. I sent the dress unhemmed so I could sew it by hand when I arrived for the wedding. This took me three hours. It was vital to me that my sweet niece had a dress that fit her to a tee. As she walked down the aisle, all I could see was the spot where I had mucked up the gathered skirt attached to the bodice. Everyone else beamed at her pretty face.

It begs the question: is this kind of double standard healthy or skewed? On the one hand, it’s just practical. If, when using a pattern for the first time, I make some goofs, I’ll keep the mess-up and make another, much better model to give to someone. Why not keep the prototype, right? Makes practical sense. But the converse is that I’m constantly wearing and using handmade but incomplete looking stuff. Why don’t I deserve the same time and attention I give to others?

Do you do this? What do you think? Is there value in the bang and hang? Is it the mother-nurturer that is willing to sacrifice for others? (I realize that wearing a wonky hem is not exactly sacrifice, but you know what I mean.) Is it something bigger, like a deep-seated unwillingness to accept more than just good enough? Or is it a truly just practical: I don’t care and it doesn’t matter?

Curious what short cuts others take and why.