My feed

to access all these features

Join the discussion and meet other Mumsnetters on our free online chat forum.


American tv curtains, WTF?

26 replies

IsThatYourOverbite · 04/07/2019 22:59

Do they not make them big enough to pull closed? Is it a set budgeting issue?

I just don't get why no one ever on any tv show or film from the states ever ever ever closes the curtains at night. Not if they are going to bed, not if they are dressing, not if they are hiding from axe murderers, not if they are having sex, not if they are pretending not to be in or trying to hide from someone. Not ever, for anything.

What is this weirdness about?

OP posts:
HennyPennyHorror · 05/07/2019 00:26

If they're filming in a real home rather than a set, it's to maximise the light.

Sometimes it's to create a more cosy look...seeing the outside environment pushes the inner into focus..

They also use blinds a lot and curtains or drapes are merely window dressings. Often non-functional.

mathanxiety · 05/07/2019 01:14

Curtains are rarely closed at night in the US, in my experience. They are often just decorative anyway as HennyPenny says. Blinds or shades might be kept open too though. When I go for a walk in the evening I can usually see right into my neighbours' houses.

You would be more likely to have them closed or have your blinds down during the day in summer to cut the glare of the sun and keep your home cool.

Americans tend not to spend a lot of time or energy wondering about axe murderers or bothering about people seeing them sitting in their living rooms at night. There is less neurosis about people seeing you doing normal stuff - hence most Americans are not the least fazed by American public toilet doors with a foot of a gap at the bottom and up to half an inch gap on either side of the door.

Nobody goes right up to the windows to get a good gawk though they could because most houses have no fences or walls around front gardens. Americans tend not to be terribly curious or to consider it their business what their neighbours get up to. They would be interested in something like a kitchen extension but not that you were standing in your living room picking your nose last night.

HennyPennyHorror · 05/07/2019 01:23

Math and it's the same here in Oz. Most people just have blinds and they're often down to keep the heat out and people open them up at night to cool the house down.

Again, less paranoia. But I do think that's also to do with the houses being much further apart...and set far away from the road.

People walking past our house are more than 100 metres from our window...if they wanted to peer in, they'd need to walk right up to us.

SpaceCadet4000 · 05/07/2019 01:41

This makes me laugh as we live in the US and the only room we shut the curtains and blinds in at night is our bedroom. And honestly, we don't always do that.

Most houses have long front gardens so windows are quite far back from the street. Not many people will walk by through the evening because of the dominance of cars to even see you. At least around here, bedrooms are often at the back of the house, with kitchens and lounges at the front. People also seem less nosy on the whole too!

VetOnCall · 05/07/2019 04:48

Same here in Canada too. I often take the dogs for a late evening walk around our neighbourhood and hardly any houses have curtains/blinds/drapes closed. Due to large gardens, long driveways and/or garages built into the front of the house you can't actually see into most of them anyway even if you tried. There are no front fences or walls in most neighbourhoods either, they're not allowed in ours for sure (city bylaws!). I always close the bedroom curtains at night as I like darkness for sleeping, but left to his own devices DP wouldn't even bother to do that, it must have been part of the citizenship test when he got his Canadian passport 😄

Jeremybearimybaby · 05/07/2019 05:27

Hmm. Maybe I need to move to the US/Canada/Oz as I hardly shut my curtains either! I do live rurally, and have a long front garden, but I also (strangely for MN!) answer my door to strangers, so maybe that's why I don't need to hide! Grin

Obviouspretzel · 05/07/2019 06:01

It never occurs to me to shut mine at night.

mathanxiety · 05/07/2019 06:09

I am a good deal closer to the sidewalk where I am (a very densely populated close-in suburb of a major city). At the back of my building the outside stairs runs past my kitchen window, back door, and deck, with my upstairs neighbour able to see right in as she comes and goes, and in turn I can see my downstairs neighbour's kitchen and back deck on my way in and out. We all just go about our business, eating and entertaining on the decks, cooking in the kitchens..

I often forget to lock my kitchen door at night too.

mathanxiety · 05/07/2019 06:12

There are back alleys here with separate garages at the end of the back yards, and garage access via the alleys - there are no big garages fronting the houses so people's lives and furniture and what they are watching on TV are all on display. When everyone does it the effect is the same as if nobody did it.

Al203 · 05/07/2019 06:33

Americans. They need you t look at them. To be seen.

longwayoff · 05/07/2019 08:07

What's going on? Lights on, curtains closed, please. Stalkers paradise. Save yourselves Americans!

Terramirabilis · 05/07/2019 08:29

Right at this very minute I am sitting alone in a house in the woods in America with...tHe CuRtAiNs OpEn!?!!!?!!!! THE HORROR.

longwayoff · 05/07/2019 08:58

Well, terramirabilis, I'm sorry to tell you this but according to the majority of US import films and tv, theres is, at the very least, an axe-murdering serial killer lurking out there. And zombies. It's just the beginning. Don't openthat door . . .

omione · 05/07/2019 09:09

Just to scare everyone, i read a book by a criminal psychologist, he was dicussing a case where a young woman had beed raped and killed in her own home, as usual the look for connected people first but could find no reason for her being killed by someone she knew, when they found the killer it turned out she was a random victim and the reason he chose her was that as he walked along an embankment looking for a woman to rape and murder she was the only woman who had her cutains open that night and he could see was alone !

reluctantbrit · 05/07/2019 09:21

I only close the curtains from our bedroom at night or if it is getting hit and I want to keep the sun out.

Even if a potential axe murderer would see me in my living room alone it doesn’t mean I am alone as DH May be upstairs pottering with his trains or in the kitchen washing up.

LucilleBluth · 05/07/2019 09:52

I just finished a book about the Golden State Killer. He liked to stalk his victims in Sacramento in the 1970s by looking in their windows at night.

Sometimes it's best to close your curtains.

trackingmedown · 05/07/2019 09:58

We don’t even have curtains downstairs and we are in the UK! We aren’t overlooked and I like the light and to see the trees during the day and the moon at night. We have bedroom curtains but I only use them at this time of year when it’s light at 4am. As soon as the long nights are back they’ll stay open 24/7 too.

mathanxiety · 07/07/2019 07:12

You would only think it's best to close your curtains if you believed the neighbourhood was crawling with serial killers. Statistics remind us that this is not the case.

mathanxiety · 07/07/2019 07:16

Americans. They need you t look at them. To be seen

Well I hope they're not holding their breath waiting for nosy tourists, who are the only people doing any looking.

RedForShort · 07/07/2019 07:20

The problem with closing curtains when hiding from an axe murderer is that they will be standing right outside the window when you open the curtain to check if the coast is clear. You could die of fright; ergo closing curtains can be fatal in some situations.

sashh · 07/07/2019 07:33

It's partly historical, puritans used to leave the curtains open so their neighbours could see them being good puritans even after dark.

wheeltrims · 07/07/2019 09:08

I close my curtains so I don't get woken up by the sunlight streaming in when the sun rises. In the summer that is super early. Why would anyone not do this?!

Ferfeckssake · 07/07/2019 09:24

I lived in States for years , moved to UK at one stage for 8 years.
Huge cultural shock regarding these kinds of things. I thought all the closing curtains, fencing in ,not wanting to be " overlooked" very strange. As though the neighbours could not know that you were watching TV or washing dishes.All the obsession , in my UK family , with privacy.
Personally , I associated it with being uptight and narrow minded . FLAMEABLE , I know - just my experience.
On their side , I guess they found me vulgar as I was very casual about things. Didn't even want to buy curtains , but told I had to at least get " nets" for privacy .

Zaphodsotherhead · 07/07/2019 10:37

My mother was OBSESSED with 'people looking in', we grew up with the whole 'draw the curtains before you put the light on, don't put the light on until it's dark' squinting to try to read in semi-darkness thing. She also had net curtains, privacy glass all that cobblers.

I live rurally, never close the curtains at all and have no net curtains. Mind you, any opportunitistic killers will have their work cut out if they break in - my dog might be small and not visible from the street, but she'll have anyone who tries to come in (including wanted visitors, sigh).

mathanxiety · 08/07/2019 05:32

wheeltrims I draw the blinds over the one window the sun streams through. It's also the one window through which the light from the street lamp shines in at me in the dark. I leave the other two window blinds open. The sun rises about 5:20 these days, which is a decent time to start thinking about getting up imo. The birds start their dawn racket at about 3:30 anyway.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.