Bed and Breakfast: A Survivor’s Guide

IT’S A UNIVERSAL LAW that every couple who is over 50 will eventually stay at a bed-and-breakfast. My theory is that old, creaky people with unreliable plumbing feel a kinship with a house that shares the same qualities.

Young fertile couples aren’t typically attracted to B&Bs. Who wants to get frisky when you have a half-dozen, glassy-eyed dolls staring at you? Also the beds are specially designed to announce the slightest of movement with a loud, tell-tale squeak. It’s a known fact that more babies are conceived on a bed of hot coals than on a bed at a B&B.

Luckily there’s more to life than sex. Like Parcheesi, for instance. Most respectable B&Bs have an assortment of board games to wile away the evening. And if no board games are available, you can spend several engrossing hours counting the doilies in your room.

Doesn’t this sound tempting? If you’re approaching your B&B golden years, here are some more tips to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

First, don’t be alarmed if your host has an odd name like Bootsy and walks around with a ferret perched on her shoulder. She’s not crazy, she’s just part of the whole charming B&B experience. In fact many  B&B owners attend special schools to learn how to develop a set of heart-warming eccentricities.

Do you like chintz? You’re in luck because it’s the regulation fabric of every B&B. But exercise caution as it spreads like kudzu. Some poor fellow foolishly took a nap in the common room of a B&B and he’s not been heard from since. Rumor has it that he’s been upholstered in chintz and is living out his existence as an ottoman.

You should also avoid drinking from the dusty decanter filled with sherry in the breakfast room. That’s for newbies only. Seasoned B&B people know that it’s been there since the Eisenhower era and tastes like paint thinner.

By the way, the bathroom in your room is for show only. You could drop an eyelash in the commode and clog up the pipes. Best to use the facilities at the McDonald’s down the street.

In the morning you’ll be served either a frittata or French toast, and both could double as door stops. In fact many B&B owners repurpose their leftovers in this very manner. Because your host is hovering over you with the coffeepot, you’ll feel as if you have to eat every bite. Afterwards you’ll be useless, so plan accordingly. Cancel that walking tour of the city. Lying in a ditch is all you can handle.

Finally, be sure to write a comment in the guest book, the more effusive the better, because everyone knows that a stay at a B&B is always a delight. This was what I wrote during a recent stay:

“The ferret was so adorable I didn’t mind the droppings. Also I’m planning to add a brick patio onto my house so I’d kill for that frittata recipe. Three cheers for our kooky but endearing host, Bootsie.”

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