General Question

YARNLADY's avatar

Is a towel just a towel?

Asked by YARNLADY (39507 points ) October 6th, 2009

Your cousin comes over with a bag full of groceries, and cooks his special spaghetti sauce for you. He wipes his hands on the hand embroidered, lace trimmed towel that hangs on the stove, instead of reaching for the regular towel hanging by the sink.

Would this be OK with the rest of you?

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51 Answers

filmfann's avatar

If it is obviously a decorative towel, your cousin is an ass.
If it is rather plain, I could understand the mix-up.
But you should never underestimate the value of knowing where your towel is.

Facade's avatar

I wouldn’t hang decorative towels. If you do, you shouldn’t be surprised if it is used… because it’s a towel.

PretentiousArtist's avatar

I’m not okay with other people cooking for me unless they’re me or my GF in my own home

Jeruba's avatar

All my kitchen towels are working towels. I don’t understand the idea of a towel as decoration. But if I were worried about some part of my environment while someone was cooking for me, I would either remove the delicate items or direct his attention to the things I wanted him to use.

poofandmook's avatar

yeah… I wouldn’t do the decorative towel thing in the kitchen, because the kitchen is such a filthy place in terms of food flying during cooking and such. Decorative towels in bathrooms are fine because unless someone has some real bowel issues, they’re not going to get noticeably dirty.

Dog's avatar

Cooking for someone is an unselfish gift. Your Cousin planned out and executed a special treat for you. Does a frilly little piece of cloth really mean more to you than the gift of the meal?

J0E's avatar

How can a towel not be a towel?

RedPowerLady's avatar

I’d be annoyed but wouldn’t say anything. I don’t expect many people to know which towels are important and ‘just for decoration’ because so many people I know just were not raised that way. Next time though I’d make a simple comment about how this towel is for decoration and wink at them or somehow make it light-hearted.

Grisaille's avatar

If I told him not to do it, then sure. It’d annoy me. But not unlike most others here – the shit in my kitchen is there for function and efficiency, not decoration. So perhaps I can’t really empathize fully.

Did you specifically tell him not to, or did you just pretend it didn’t bother you? Plays a big part here.

Besides, he’s cooking you sauce for pete’s sake. Clean them when he leaves.

Disc2021's avatar

It wouldn’t be “OK” with me per se – but I wouldn’t be that offended/pissed. The cousin probably just didn’t know it was hanging there for decoration and not for actual use.

This is seems to be a common miscommunication/misunderstanding – what might be a decorative/fancy/expensive towel to you might look like just a regular towel intended for the usual purposes to someone else. If I were to ever hang up towels or anything like that – I would put them somewhere unreachable or hang them on the wall or something.

marinelife's avatar

That is a fine point that would be likely to escape most men. I tihnk you grit your teeth and say nothing except thanks for the great dinner.

Should there be a next time, put all the frou frou decorative towels away before company comes. Even if they are not cooking, they may decide to “help” with the dishes.

julioschoolyard's avatar

As facade said, a towel is a towel and you should expect it to be used as such if it’s lying around.

filmfann's avatar

@julioschoolyard Welcome to Fluther. Lurve.
You know Mama Pajama, no?

YARNLADY's avatar

@Grisaille I didn’t say anything. I figured it was my fault for not putting the towel away when he first started.
@Disc2021 I like your idea of putting the decorations on the wall next time, out of reach.
@Marina Good advice.

SuperMouse's avatar

@filmfann, @julioschoolyard might not know Mama Pajama, but I’m sure s/he owns a Kodachrome! @julioschoolyard lurve for the great handle.

Towels can be many, many things: floor wipes, hand dryers, bath wraps, bath mats, window cleaners, dog toys, hair wraps, eye make-up removers, beach blankets, automobile drying rags, wax removers, family heirlooms. I would suggest that if your towels, this one in particular, are family heirlooms, they not remain hanging on the stove when a cousin begins to cook.

XOIIO's avatar

According to the encoclopedia galactica a towel is one of the most important things!

LOL I love hitchikers guide to the galaxy!

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I would only put out stuff that’s not meant to be used if guests were expected.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@SuperMouse hope s/he doesn’t need film, they stopped making it a few months ago.

SpatzieLover's avatar

In my home, the kitchen towels are all able to be sanitized in hot water with bleach.

We do have some “pretty” towels, but they are mainly reserved for holiday guests/parties.

YARNLADY's avatar

@XOIIO great reference, I love HGTTG

hannahsugs's avatar

@XOIIO great reference, but you’ve got it wrong. Encycolpedia Galactica is the rival to the HHGTTG. It provides boring, esoteric information. The HHGTTG is what recommends towel use:

“The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels. A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value – you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to- hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”

wundayatta's avatar

Towels are rarely just towels. Most often they are aardvarks. But sometimes they are weapons of mass destruction, and other times they are a European currency. It all just depends.

laureth's avatar

Guys don’t know from hand-embroidered frill. In other circumstances, he might have used it to wipe the oil off the dipstick to check the level in his car. It’s likely he didn’t even perceive it as anything other than something there for hand-wiping convenience. If it’s in a spot, like the stove, where hands gets messy, even I would figure it’s there for wiping, not for pretty.

I understand handmade things that are pretty, but I don’t understand handmade pretty things that are intentionally useless. I knit stuff, and I spent a year making a sweater from my own handspun yarn, but I wear it to keep warm, it’s not on a wall for people to say, “oh, pretty sweater!” :) And towels, like sweaters, look like working objects, especially to the untrained eye.

SuperMouse's avatar

@daloon ahhh, the old towel disguised as an aardvark trick, I know it well.

Darwin's avatar

If any towel ever thought of being decorative, a few days in my house with teenagers and dogs would quickly disabuse it of any such notions. Besides, guys don’t know from decorative towels.

I thought towels were armadillos, not aardvarks.

wundayatta's avatar

@Darwin There’s a difference???

Darwin's avatar

@daloon – yes, there is but it’s a girl thing.

wundayatta's avatar

All righty, then!

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

No I wouldn’t be okay with it. This reminds me of when my step father stopped over my house for a visit and proceeded to wipe his work boots all over my decorative area rug! Does it look like a welcome mat?!

Darwin's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 – To him it did.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I don’t keep lace trimmed embroidered towels by the stove. Or anywhere. That way people (and I) can use whatever towel is most convenient. It’s a very handy system.

rooeytoo's avatar

My mom always had the “pretty” linen towel hanging there, but we all knew you better not use it, it was just to look at!

When I was little I had a sweater that was beautiful and seemed magical, had reindeer and snowflakes on it, was mostly navy but had a lot of white. Anyhow I was never allowed to wear it because it was wool and had to be drycleaned. It was very sad. My brother and I were talking a couple of years back and it turned out the sweater was a hand me down from him and he always wanted to wear it but was never allowed either. I think it eventually ended up in the good will thingy when we both outgrew it! Another one of those look but don’t touch sort of pretty things.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@rooeytoo: Stories like that make me ever-so-sad!!! I had a Madame Alexander doll when I was a child, and (I’m told that) when I was two I broke the foot. I was never allowed to play with it again. This story is less sad than yours because that doll was really ugly and her hair was coming unglued. Blegh.

markyy's avatar

A towel is to dry stuff, not to look at. Still if I was in someone else’s house I would have asked.

rooeytoo's avatar

@La_chica_gomela – I know, but she was a child of the depression and even though our family was reasonably well off financially speaking, she hated the thought of paying for dry cleaning for that sweater! It was a really cool sweater, my brother and I both agreed we loved looking at it, heheheh.

noodle_poodle's avatar

nah a towels a towel I use mine for both painting and bathroom use…they just need be absorbent and can go in the wash…if its decorative shouldn’t it be on the wall instead of within easy reach like something to dry your hands would be

cwilbur's avatar

I have to agree with @Jeruba. If you have an actual kitchen that people actually cook in, there’s really no place for frilly useless decoration masquerading as something useful.

justus2's avatar

It hangs on the stove instead of somewhere that would be obviously not for using the towel then I don’t understand why you would get upset at using a towel that obviously looks like it is there to use.

asmonet's avatar

It’s a fucking towel?

If you don’t want it used, don’t leave it within arm’s reach. I have plenty of family items handed down to me that I have kept away from grubby hands and silly minded people. They’re all in perfect condition. Seems like common sense. I can understand being upset, but when it comes down to it, it’s your own damn fault.

YARNLADY's avatar

@asmonet just checking – I thought so, but maybe, with the embroidery and lace – oh well, it came clean and looks just fine

Lua_cara's avatar

Honestly, IF he did that I would make him/her pay for the dry cleaning and they will never hear the end of it.

asmonet's avatar

@Lua_cara: Um, why? If you put it there, and they’re a guest cooking for you – wouldn’t you also show them what they can use? And what they shouldn’t? It’s ass backwards to think they should magically know and respect all the emotions and importance you’ve placed on items in your own head. It’s not like it was set aside. It was in the cooking area. Logically, it should be used while cooking. I’d think if anyone was never going to hear the end of it, it’d be the owner of the towel for allowing it to happen.

YARNLADY's avatar

@asmonet It’s turned into the “family joke” now. Whenever anyone picks up a towel, everybody yells “Does it have lace on it?” and we all fall down laughing.

laureth's avatar

Ha! Thinking of lace, I’m now picturing the underwear drawer. Half is for the lacy ones just kept in the drawer for pretty, and half are the workaday ones that are actually worn.

sfj's avatar

First of all, if I knew before hand that anyone I know is a slob, I wouldn’t let them in my kitchen! :-P
All of my kitchen towels match but they are not fancy because I am not a fancy type person. I don’t have fancy towels. My sister on the other hand would have a ‘hissy fit’ if anyone used her towels in her kitchen and bathrooms because everything she owns is untouchable. I can’t live that way. I have five dogs, a husband who is a mechanic, a son who isn’t exactly a neat freak and my elderly mother who might wipe her hands on her clothes if I don’t watch her. This is not to say my house isn’t clean and it is not to say I don’t own nice things. It is just to say that if you worry someone might use your fancy kitchen or bathroom towels, put them away until that person leaves. This way, no feelings are hurt.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Kitchen towels are used in the kitchen. Garage towels are used in te garage . Bathroom towels are used… you get the idea. The key word is “used”.
If it is decoration masquerading as a towel, it should be out of reach or framed.

Ron_C's avatar

If a towel was hanging on or close to the stove I would assume that it was for cleaning or holding hot pots. We don’t hang delicate or heirlooms where they can be spotted with spaghetti sauce.

The only towel that is special in our house is the one we use to dry off the dog. We make sure that it is hanging in a place that it wouldn’t be mistaken as a kitchen towel.

By the way, if we hang a towel on the stove the dog takes it and “hides” is under an end table. I don’t know why, he just does. If you scold him, he pretends he’s invisible so we lock the towel to the oven handle with a clothes pin.

Of course we are strange people.

talljasperman's avatar

It is like is a pillow a pillow… When I had throw pillows I used them as real pillow and got sweat stains on them. I don’t like decorative towels. I prefer the real thing.

nettodo's avatar

This would be a neutral point for me, but only because I would know how to get rid of the stain. (if washable, soak in water with a tsp of dish soap and a quarter cup hydrogen peroxide, then pretreat with an enzyme based spray and wash as usual is what I would have done). In any other case, yes, I would be annoyed because that was not an intended purpose for that.

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