"Oh don't style it that way. Put one more butter dish on the table. She doesn't like even numbers."
I rolled my eyes.
This is going back years... To my early-mid 20s... When I was working for The Evil Empire. I spent my days in a townhouse in an upscale neighborhood. It had the look of a home, but was actually a shop where brides (and people lthooking for china and crystal) could register and shop.
Every other week we would re-merchandise the table settings and displays. We liked to venture away from the patterns that were popular with brides and style unusual things. The idea was to help them visualize how, for example, a really ornate cobalt blue pattern could be stunning. We would lay out the pattern, and style silverware, glassware and other table accessories together. Sometimes we would use unexpected things to complete the picture... Like cranberries and water in in a tall vase that accented the hint of deep burgundy in a single line around the edge of the plate, mixed in with gold and blue.
Sometimes we would have someone from the magazine's Style department venture up to the shop to help us with the merchandising sessions. This is when we would learn the quirky things about her.
"She doesn't like anything but Diet Coke. So don't have anything but that in the fridge if she stops by."
"She doesn't really care for the color red."
"She likes the flowers to be bundled in one color, with all the leaves trimmed off. So the water stays clean."
"She doesn't like colorful desk accessories. Use the standard-issue silver ones from office services."
And the latest tidbit about her preference for odd numbers.
It annoyed me because everyone knows even numbers provide balance to everything. The table I was setting was for four people. Why would I put a fifth elephant butter dish on the table?
I brought the extra butter dish to the stylist. They took it and put it in the center of the table, next to a sapphire decanter, and coupled it with whimsical knife. The short vase with hydrangeas stood off-centered and made me feel like an intimate dinner could be happening at the table... Even though the people, chairs and food were all absent.
The fifth butter dish took away the staleness, and made the table charming.
Odd numbers are charming. Fives. Threes. Singles.
That's why I do whatever I can to avoid even numbers. I have nine wine classes. Nine flatware settings. Eleven place settings of china.
Nothing has to be even. Life is more fun when it is odd.