There are now about ten television “reality” shows devoted to people who have somehow taken it into their heads to move out of their perfectly sane and normal lifestyles involving three bedrooms and two baths into what are cutely referred to as “tiny houses.” A tiny house by definition is a structure of 500 square feet or less.
These folks are to be applauded on the one hand for wanting to live with less. Less electricity, less land, less pollution, less overall carbon footprints. So I have to hand it to them for that. And, of course, there are millions of people on this planet who are forced by circumstances to live in tiny spaces. So I am discussing this whole thing from an admittedly first-world, privileged perspective.
But all that said, I have to wonder how these couples/families fare after they have lived “tiny” for awhile. I know I have some hang-ups about this. First off, the bathroom. In a tiny house, there is usually only room for one. In tiny homes, doors are often left out, due to space concerns. So everybody in the house hears the tinkling. And the odors—I can’t even. So tiny dwellers have to deal with all of that. And when company comes over and squeezes in for dinner? A little embarrassing, especially if the hosts serve kale.
I have to be the one to point out this “emperor’s new clothes” observation: sex. I wonder how on couples “couple” in a tiny house, with the children located in that open ladder-loft just across the way. Do they get under a blanket and try to be very, very quiet? Or do they go into the woods? Or do they just agree to go to a motel on a frequent basis, leaving the kids at grandma’s?
And speaking of lofts: ladders. How do those work in the middle of the night, when nature calls one to the composting toilet? You are on your knees up there (because you can’t stand up in those lofts), crawling over your sleeping spouse, then over to the edge of the loft. You look down at the ladder, which goes straight down. You can’t go down it head first. So somehow you have to turn completely around (on your hands and knees, remember) so that you can back down the ladder. In the middle of the night. Kids do this in treehouses, but they are agile, and it is broad daylight. If you live in a tiny house, you have to do this every single night.
I could go on like this all day. But just one more little observation: two burner stovetops. All the tiny houses have two burner stovetops. Well, occasionally a woman with foresight insists on a full sized stove, but of course, that calls for a compromise somewhere else—you want a stove, then no sofa. So people in tiny houses can have fried chicken and mashed potatoes, but no peas. Or yes, you can make scrambled eggs and hash browns, but no bacon. Because that tiny little microwave? Forget it. All it is big enough for is heating up your coffee water. Because of course, there is no room on that one foot square of countertop for a coffee pot.
One more thing. If you live in a tiny house, not having sex, and eating minimal meals, you might get irritable. But just bottle that all up inside, because there is absolutely no room for discord in a tiny house. Well, the discord, yes. But the aftermath? When you want to just GET AWAY from your spouse because you can’t stand to look at that asinine face for one more minute? There is only one option:
Sit on that composting toilet, pull the flimsy shower curtain around yourself, and sulk. But only until your partner has to pee.