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‘Tis the season for dorms for those of us whose children are in college. You may be designing, planning, and buying dorm essentials because the decorating has begun; physically or mentally, it’s happening.

And here’s what I’ve learned: boys don’t care.

That’s right, boys don’t care what their rooms look like. OK, that may be a bit of an overstatement, but trust me, it’s not that far off the mark.

Last year, I remember scrolling through my newsfeeds admiring my friends’ daughters’ room pictures. Everything was color coordinated, and I mean EVERYTHING–even the Command hooks stringing up the fairy lights cascading down the walls, draped next to their fluffy comforters, housed underneath a matching fuzzy throw blanket, twinning with the shaggy throw rug on the floor. Baskets and tubs in the same shades of said decor lined the closet shelves, each one in its rightful spot, stacked by size. Various hues of green succulents in cute animal-shaped vases adorned window sills, framed by sheer billowy curtains. Themed pictures matted in color-coordinated frames hung in between the strings of lights. The rooms looked like photo shoots for Better Homes and Garden or Southern Living. They were so put together, and my friends forewarned me that it would take hours to decorate.

RELATED: I Left a Piece of My Heart in a College Dorm Room

I couldn’t wait for my turn. I dreamt of how my son’s dorm would look, right down to the color-coordinated thumb tacks pinning the picture collage on his corkboard.

But then we went shopping, and everything changed.

Walking down the aisles, I picked out towels that complimented the comforter set he’d picked out. He didn’t care. I pointed out all the tubs and baskets in complimentary colors. He didn’t care. I showed him desk accessories, trays, organizing cubbies, anything and everything to match his simple solid gray comforter. He didn’t care. He didn’t want a picture collage. Not even thumbtacks, for that matter. None. Of. It. He only wanted the most basic things. The bare necessities. The bare minimum. Disillusionment took hold as I watched my son throwing random objects haphazardly into the shopping cart, my vision quickly vanishing aisle by aisle. 

RELATED: To My Son Leaving For College

But all was not lost and there is an upside–I spent much less money than I’d expected to, and it took less than an hour to decorate (and I use that term very loosely), including slapping up the oversized banner and single strip of LED lights (at least it added a little ambiance and partially covered the subway-style cement walls).

So though I drooled admiring all those cute dorm pics last year, anxiously awaiting my turn at it, none of it happened. Not the color-coordinated tubs. Not the succulents. Not even a corkboard. Boys don’t care. They’re happy if they have a bed, a pillow, a blanket, and a flag/banner of some sort draped on the wall. Everything else? Irrelevant.

If you’re a boy mom, consider yourself warned.

Originally published on the author’s blog

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Gayle Brown

Once a teacher, now a full-time writer, I am currently querying agents to have my two manuscripts hopefully published one day. I live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida with my two teenage children as well as my partner of 10 years. 

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