It’s time we looked through the problem.
Every time you see one, the response is the same: stops and stares, awestruck gasps and gawking. Gaggles of groups will hover for minutes on end to comment on the beauty of a single stained glass window. And why shouldn’t they? Stained glass windows are undeniably gorgeous. That’s their purpose. But here’s something worth asking:
What does that do to the self-esteem of other windows?
Our reckless act of showering stained glassed windows with unbridled attention could have its drawbacks. When normal, everyday windows see the admiration and praise their stained counterparts elicit, it forces them to look at themselves and ask “What am I missing?”
Crystal, a windshield from west Texas, weighs in.
“I do my job flawlessly everyday and I never hear so much as an ‘oh wow,’” she says. “In fact, I don’t hear people say anything about me at all unless it’s bad. "‘There’s a chip, there’s a smudge, there’s bird shit!’ The list goes on. Picking apart my every problem…it’s a lot of pressure. One of these days I’m gonna crack.”
Crystal isn’t alone in her feelings. A majority of windows report feeling undervalued in their homes, while window users overwhelmingly admit to not giving a second thought to opaque glass.
“It’s like we’re invisible, they just see right through us,” says Clearly, a skylight from Ohio. “I’m sorry I wasn’t built to look like your favorite saint or latest acid trip, but I do something. I protect you from the rain while still letting you see outside. Why isn’t that enough?”
More baffling, though, is that it is enough - according to data. When a sample of Americans were polled as to whether they prefer stained glass windows in their homes, 20% responded “No,” 30% responded “Hell no,” and a whopping 40% scratched out both answers and wrote in “Fuck no. Do you want the Virgin Mary watching you walk around naked?”
Despite our researcher’s insistence that he’d find this a fun kink to explore, the results are clear: a majority of Americans don’t actually prefer stained glass windows.
We spoke to Travis Pane, a window cleaner from Chicago.
“Oh God, they’re awful,” he said. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, there’s a place and time for stained glass windows, but the place is a Cathedral and the time is forever ago.”
Travis went on to describe certain exceptions.
“Sure, maybe some rich prick might get one after his second divorce, or flaunt it in the office to show off, but normal folks don’t want a stained glass window in their bathroom. They want a regular ass clear one so they can spy on the neighbors.”
And it’s true. According to the stats, stained glassed windows
are less healthy than their opaque counterparts and far more susceptible to breaking and fractures
require more frequent and painstaking maintenance
require a long and unnatural process to become, well, themselves
And in spite of all this, stained glass windows are on average five times more expensive than transparent ones.
Why is this? There is only one answer:
We, as a society, value beauty over practicality.
And only by studying windows have we figured this out.
It needs to stop. Yes, stained glass windows serve a purpose. But only one purpose, and relative to the rest of windows, it’s not the most important one. Sometimes you need pretty, but sometimes you need to know if there’s furniture on the freeway. And in such a case as that, I’ll take my window without dressing. Sorry stained glass, but as they say, you make a better door than a window.