April 27, 2006

Extremely fussy bedding.

Here's an article about how women are layering their beds with all sorts of fancy pillows and "bed scarves" and other paraphernalia:
"I could go weeks without ever seeing my living room," said Judy Roaman, an art collector and retailer in Manhattan and East Hampton whose bed is as crowded and graphically articulated as the wall of artwork leading into her bedroom. "The bed for me is about having everything around me. We have the takeout on trays, and lollipops and Kleenex and every magazine known to man — and the dog, who has his water bowl on the floor. I hate to tell you this, but the dead dog's ashes are right by the bed, too."

The bed, Ms. Roaman said, warming to her theme, has two lives, "a glamorous, gorgeous day life, where she's made up in the morning, all fluffed with her glammy pillows and her propping pillows and her duvet and her chic little blanket at the bottom — and she's definitely a she — and the nighttime life, where we all jump in."
The least convincing thing in this article is the repeated assertion that an exciting and messy life goes along with a complicated bed system. Do you really think a woman -- they're all women -- who maintains a bed like this is enthusiastic about sticky kids jumping in? Do you really think she lets them bring whole takeout meals on trays into her insanely fancy bed? Does anyone ever actually have sex here or does the whole setup scream sublimation?

57 comments:

37383938393839383938383 said...

You hit the nail on the head, Ann. To wit, no nailing or head occurs on these beds.

Dave said...

This reminds me of a Ben Stiller/Jennifer Aniston movie I saw in which Aniston's character convinced Stiller's character to take a knife to his ex-wife's bed pillows.

Forget the name of the movie but it was a funny scene.

SippicanCottage said...
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dick said...

Seems to me that if anyone even tried to have sex there the "partner" would look at them like they were crazy. I think I would probably spend ten minutes throwing all the stuff off the bed before I would even think of getting in it.

Kind of makes me nostalgic for the days when the big complaint was cookie crumbs in bed. These people need to get a life!! When you spend a year designing a bed and then have to write instructions on how to make the bed up, then you have a problem.

Ann Althouse said...

There's a ton of comic potential here. I'm picturing someone curling up on the floor next to the bed, because it's just way too much trouble to undo and then put it back together in the morning. Or someone admitting this is just a "show bed" and pulling down a murphy bed somewhere else in the room.

Truly said...

I love these stories about neurotic New York women-of-a-certain-age. (Remember the one about the lady with a daughter named "Olive" who got cheesed off at her husband for buying the wrong kind of sausage?) They make me feel like I'm an anthropologist, like Margaret Meade among the Samoans. Do you suppose they know how ridiculous they are to the rest of the world?

SippicanCottage said...
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David said...

They are having sex, they just can't see each other! I wonder what the thread count is?

The dog sounds normal!

Dale B said...

I've never understood the decorating mindset that piles a bunch of extraneous pillows on the bed after it's made. You have to remove them all to sleep and then put them back in the morning.

The same thing is done with couches. You can't even sit on the couch until you put all the pillows someplace else. A couch should have a maximum of two pillows, one on each end for use if you want to take a nap.

I blame Martha Stewart.

Dadgum said...

The ashes are real.

Ann Althouse said...

"A couch should have a maximum of two pillows, one on each end for use if you want to take a nap."

Describes my office sofa.

PatCA said...

Dale, I was brought up a solid Midwesterner and am anti-pillow, too, unless said pillow has an intrinsic, as opposed to decorative, function. I am waiting until the whole craze fizzles out to buy a new couch, as most all couches now sport these annoyances.

I also think the bathroom enhancement craze is equally weird. Who wants to spend all day in their $40,000 "spa"? It's a toilet!

Ross said...

" ... setup scream sublimation?" I missed that class.

Aspasia M. said...

Sounds like a receipe for insomnia. Too much clutter -- Less is More!

I also think the bathroom enhancement craze is equally weird. Who wants to spend all day in their $40,000 "spa"? It's a toilet!

Well, kitchens and bathrooms tend to sell houses. And...I love the idea of a HUGE bathtub and a separate steam shower. That's what I'd put in my dream house.

MadisonMan said...

I love the idea of a HUGE bathtub and a separate steam shower. That's what I'd put in my dream house.

Great, two separate items to clean in the bathroom instead of one. No Thanks.

Ann, the Murphy Bed visual has me chuckling. Thanks.

Maxine Weiss said...

Yeah, well you've never seen otherwise sane, suburban women go on a rampage upon the opening of a Loehmann's white sale.

One of the gals in my book group was telling me that every time Loehmanns in New York has a sale, someone trampled, maimed, or stomped to death. And, it's not hyperbole. New Yorkers will absolutely kill for a bargain!

Some of those sale sheets are really ugly though, so I don't really understand it. Whatever.

Peace, Maxine

Palladian said...

"Or someone admitting this is just a "show bed" and pulling down a murphy bed somewhere else in the room."

When I was a child, we used to occasionally visit a relative who had an elaborate set of living room furniture- sofas, replete with pillows and ruffles, chairs, ottomans- but they were NOT for sitting on. She would drag out some folding chairs from the closet and everyone would sit around on the folding chairs during the visit, glancing occasionally at the upholstered furniture.

I also remember going to a guy's house for some amorous purposes and having to help him remove the beautiful down comforter and linen sheets from his bed and dress it with what he called the "utilitarian bedding". Really put me in the mood, making the bed like that.

For years I didn't have a bed at all, simply a mattress on the floor then a series of cruddy futons. When physical conditions finally made it necessary to get a real bed, I ended up getting a 5000 dollar bed on eBay for next to nothing- it had been in a rich person's guest room and used I think once. For the price of a new mattress I was now sleeping grandly. It was a precarious opportunity to start to turn into one of these crazy bed people (the beautiful sheets made by the bed company start at around 700 dollars and are dry-clean only) but I'm too much of a utilitarian for that. The bed is clothed in irregular sheets from Filene's Basement and is almost never made.

The bed's name is "Nathalie", by the way. I love having a bed with a given name. From the website, the weirdest sentence of the day: "The birth of the bed Nathalie back in 1978 was a memorable occasion." I wonder if it was a natural birth?

Princess Jane said...

A friend has silk (dry clean only) pillows along the edge of her very fancy bathtub.

Jennifer said...

I love the step by step how-to-make-your-bed-look-ridiculous picture sequence.

I have a friend just like the featured ladies. I have no idea how she ended up married to a soldier. But, she sent the poor guy 300 thread count sheets, a down pillow and a duvet for his sleeping bag when he was in Afghanistan. That went over well.

SippicanCottage said...
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Marghlar said...

Sippican -- my parents have that setup, and use it all the time. As do I, when I visit. Of course, their water heater is up to the task. My own combination shower/tub is adequate, but I would upgrade if I had the funds.

I am with geoduck: bathrooms should be swanky, if you can swing it. Few luxuries match up with the pleasure of a nice tub, a finger of scotch and a good book. At the same time, if possible.

By contrast, all this fussiness about bedding just seems absurd to me, and I agree with Ann that it likely indicates that not much is going on in those bedrooms. I also have a longstanding pet-peeve about the softness of Western beds, which drives me nuts every time I sleep away from home.

I think that the Japanese have it exactly right on this score: the room you sleep in should be spartan, and the room you bathe in should be beautiful.

SippicanCottage said...
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Marghlar said...

Sippican: I wasn't claiming it was common -- just that it is worthwhile, and very pleasant. I think that our culture's utilitarian approach to bathing is sad, because it deprives us of a nice opportunity to incorporate some peace and contemplation into our routines.

Jeff said...

These women remind me of Swoosie Kurtz in "True Stories" as Miss Rollings, the Laziest Woman in the World-a woman who never gets out of bed. She has so much money she doesn't have to.

She lies around dressed like EVa Gabor in Green Ares, amid pillows, ruffles, and lap dogs, talking to herself and the tv.

SippicanCottage said...
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Palladian said...

I see what these beds (especially the picture sequence that Jennifer mentions) are going for- a late French Empire brothel decorated in the quasi-"Moroccan" orientalist taste. Lice optional.

And pets should not be allowed on beds. That's disgusting.

Does anyone else, when reading these New York Times lifestyle pieces about the prodigal lifestyles of the feckless Manhattan bourgeois, get a fleeting and fuzzy, though discernible, fantasy image of leading one of these people, through a haze of jeers and the strains of La Marseillaise, towards a familiar structure in the public square? You chase the terrible thought away as soon as it arises and yet it's so... compelling.

Maxine Weiss said...

Palladian: A used bed? That's disgusting. You don't know who's been on it, or who's done what. There's no way I know of to boil a mattress

I like the water beds of the 1970s for a bad back.

I would love a separate soaking tub. I would definitely get some use out of it. I love bathtubs and bath rituals. The Romans were the great bathers of all time.

Peace, Maxine

reader_iam said...

I have often read books in the bath--the old clawfoot in the 2nd bath and the small (no room for big) Jacuzzi one in the main one. (It has multiple shower heads to.) So does my husband. The kid's too young to allow him to take a book there, but he sure does love "shooting the rapids" with his toy boats.

Some day, I'd love a big one--but since that would involve moving, it's not too likely any time soon.

I love excellent sheets and real down comforters/pillow--but not a whole bunch of frou-frout or excessive decorative stuff. I'm way to lazy to have to "arrange" my bed style every day.

Less but Quality is the motto.

chuck b. said...

(My s.o. just put us through a bitch of a $40k, three-month bathroom remodel to separate the tub from the shower. He had better goddam well use that fucking tub, that's all I have to say. When he pisses me off, I'm going to say, "You need to go take a bath, right now!")

When I was younger, I used to love taking drugs and laying on the bed all day. That was back during the futon-on-the-floor years. Light some incense, put on some Cocteau Twins. This was mostly a rainy day thing.

My first apartment when I was 19 had a Murphy Bed. It felt v. glamorous to have a Murphy Bed and I put myself through the trouble of making the bed and putting it away every day. For about a month. Then it just sat down all the time.

And finally, as an insomniac, I was advised (pre-Ambien) not to use my bed for anything besides sleeping or sex. I never knew about the scientific basis for that prescription, but it made intuitive sense and I still live by it.

Marghlar said...

Does anyone else, when reading these New York Times lifestyle pieces about the prodigal lifestyles of the feckless Manhattan bourgeois, get a fleeting and fuzzy, though discernible, fantasy image of leading one of these people, through a haze of jeers and the strains of La Marseillaise, towards a familiar structure in the public square? You chase the terrible thought away as soon as it arises and yet it's so... compelling.

Yeah, but I cultivate it, rather than chasing it away. Although I think I'd only scare them with the guillotine, then I'd make them work for a living for a while.

Honestly, when people get so focused on making their house look fashionable that they forget that it should be pleasant to live in, I just want to slap them upside the head.

Maxine: if you have a bad back, I'd highly recommend a very hard sleeping surface, as opposed to the waterbed. My own back problems have been much moderated since I ditched the whole several feet of springs setup, and went with a few inches of futon on top of a tatami mat. It's just slightly softer than a carpeted floor, and you wake up feeling like you've gotten a good massage. Trust me. Although as I said, it does ruin you for travelling.

Aspasia M. said...

Most houses do have a big old jet tub plus a stand alone shower in the master bath now. It's only odd if they don't. And I can tell you, with a few minor exceptions, no one ever uses the big tub. Ever, ever, ever.

My mom has one. She uses it all the time. Poor mom, when I come to visit I will often avoid the little bathtub and use hers!

But we're bath people. I love lavender mimosa bubble bath and soaking in the big bathtub with a book. I'll stay in until I get waterlogged.

More then one book has suffered a terrible demise when I've dropped it in the tub.

They put sprays of silk flowers in them.

Crazy people! They must be shower people. It is a big waste for those who like to shower. (Although I do love steam showers. They are great for colds and allergies.)

Great, two separate items to clean in the bathroom instead of one. No Thanks.

This is the cleaning key - I get Method cleaner from Target and right when you get out of the bathtub (or shower) wipe down the bath tub. Easy- no fuss- only takes a few minutes.

SippicanCottage said...

Reader- The clawfoot tub makes an excellent soaking tub because it is made from cast iron. It holds the heat, and its hard enamel coating feels hard and clean under yer bottome.

A big plastic tub sucks. And if there's anything less relaxing than a plastic tub with jets with a motor underneath that sounds like a partially muffled harley, I haven't seen it.

And women do read in the tub quite frequently. They tell me so all the time.

Catalogs.

Dawn said...

Sip - you're right. When we bought our house, the previous owners had installed a jetted tub in our bathroom. I haven't used the tub for it's purpose in over a year, but the shower gets used 2x/day. I want nothing more than to ditch the tub and install a shower stall in it's place.

As for this gal and her bed, I think somebody has too much $$ and time on her hands. Good thing she doesn't come to our house, she'd have an stroke.

Aspasia M. said...

I also have a longstanding pet-peeve about the softness of Western beds, which drives me nuts every time I sleep away from home.

I don't like really soft beds, but I cannot sleep the whole night through on a futon. This was a great source of difficulty with me and Mr. Geoduck, who was used to sleeping on a futon.

Now we have a bed that is not too hard and not too soft. And we have a down cover, but the feathers always migrate down to our feet.

I just have to say: ruffles, yuck.

Aspasia M. said...

And women do read in the tub quite frequently.

But magazines are not as easy to hold as a paperback book.

Although, I suppose they're not THAT easy to hold onto. I just got into big trouble with the library because another book bit the dust in the water.
-----

One of my friends was dismayed because her husband was working on his laptop while in the bathtub. He'd set the laptop on the toilet seat and type away.

Now that's a potential problem!

Freeman Hunt said...

I don't even make my regular bed. If I had a fussy bed, it would be reduced to a regular bed with dozens of pillows scattered all over the floor. Not very glamorous.

As for tubs: My house was built around 1980, and one of the bathrooms is tiled, both floor and walls, with a big jet tub (iron? steel? It's made of some type of metal.) on one side. I use the tub all the time, but not the jets. They are loud and annoying. I like tubs that are deep enough that one can be entirely immersed the water.

Freeman Hunt said...

One of my friends was dismayed because her husband was working on his laptop while in the bathtub. He'd set the laptop on the toilet seat and type away.

My husband almost did that once! He was walking down the hall, and I said, "Where are you going with that extension cord and that towel?" "To use my laptop while I take a bath." "That's a bad idea."

Laptop and bathtub should not mix.

David said...

A large shower and a spa tub is great for relaxing and reading a book. Bathing is a religious experience and not something to be done quickly.

That said, I build an outdoor shower with hot and cold water next to the hot tub and pool. When washing for the soak in the tub the water irrigates the privacy shrubs and keeps the area green.

Anyone else have a fireplace in their bedroom? Use your computer in the bedroom. Gives new meaning to HOT SPOT!

XWL said...

Waterproof erotica for your bathtime reading needs.

(this Rubber Ducky would be a perfect companion)

As far as frou-frou beds, anyone who invests that much time and lucre into their bedding most likely wouldn't dream of letting anyone exchange bodily fluids near such a bed.

As far as NYTimes penchant for these Manhattan freak show articles, do these freaks not know they are freaks?

Truly said...

For you bathers out there: it doesn't bother you that you're soaking in your own dirty water? *shudder*

Marghlar said...

Truly:

The japanese bathing tradition deals with this problem simply -- you never enter the bath unless you are absolutely clean. You scrub yourself down, and rinse off, before entering either a public or a private bath. The bath is for soaking and meditation, not for getting clean.

Without going that far, one can (and I do) generally limit bathing to times when one is already relatively clean -- I wouldn't ever want to bathe immediately after exercise, for instance, unless there was an intervening shower.

When I have the leisure time available, my routine generally involves showering in the morning, and bathing at night before bed. I find that sleep is deeper and more restful if you warm the body beforehand.

I will readily admit that if I only have time to bathe or shower, I usually shower. Showering is utilitarian (unless you've got one of those steam showers or other such doohickeys -- which are great), while bathing is a leisure activity.

SippicanCottage said...
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reader_iam said...

Catalogs? Not in my case.

Maybe it's just the women YOU know, Sippican.

tcd said...

Sippican is right; at least in my case anyway. Our 2 year old house has one of those jetted tubs in the master bathroom and I have yet to use it once. I think the thought of having to clean the damn thing afterwards is what's keeping me from using it. Also, I can't stand the puckering skin that you get after soaking in water for any length of time. Bathing is a chore to me, not a ritual. Cooking and eating, however, I enjoy immensely.

dick said...

When it comes to a bed my all time favorite was a futon with a down feather bed on top of it, down pillows and a down comforter. I used to sleep like a baby on that and never had trouble with my bad back at all. Heavenly!!


The other thing that drives me crazy is people who tuck the top sheet in at the bottom of the bed. The first thing I do is kick it out. I have to have my feet in the open to sleep well.

Ann Althouse said...

Wow, 45 comments on bedding! I'm going to assume you really missed me as I made my way to Boston.

SippicanCottage said...
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Aspasia M. said...

This is a hilarious quote:

My husband almost did that once! He was walking down the hall, and I said, "Where are you going with that extension cord and that towel?" "To use my laptop while I take a bath." "That's a bad idea."

I can just imagine the extension cord trailing in the hallway.
-----

I read Northanger Abby while luxuriating in the bath = I put a black and white TV on the sink and watched Judge Judy while shaving my legs

Nah- soaking in the bath with a book is much more relaxing then TV. And TV kind of violates the no electricity around water rule.

I have read Pride and Prejudice in the bath, but my usual paperback of choice is a fun mystery or sci fi book.

I wish I had lots of fussy pillows and ruffles on my bed= I wish I had someone other than my husband in the bed, preferably in a puffy shirt

Remember the Seinfeld puffy shirt episode?

Marghlar said...

Geoduck (discussing laptops; TV in the bathroom, and Seinfeld):

Actually, I have frequently engaged in an activity that brings all three points. Although I agree that reading is better, if my mind is tired enough I sometimes like to watch TV shows in the bath. Lacking a TV in there, I bring my laptop (set up on a bench far away from the tub) and watch TV shows on it. Seinfeld gets a fair amount of play (or did, back when I did this more frequently).

This was pretty common back when I was impressed with the ability of my laptop to function as a TV-viewing device. These days, it has gotten stale, and tends to be passed up in favor of books.

Aspasia M. said...

Lacking a TV in there, I bring my laptop (set up on a bench far away from the tub) and watch TV shows on it.

Knowing my tendancy to drop paperback books into the bathtub, I'm terrified to let my laptop anywhere near water.
-----
Too bad the Roman baths have gone out of fashion.

reader_iam said...

Sip: I wouldn't read too much into it; I was doing two things at once so typed that response in one-handed, and it's easier to do caps one-handed than type in html code that way.

reader_iam said...

Wow, 45 comments on bedding! I'm going to assume you really missed me as I made my way to Boston.

I really wanted to riff on the old chestnut joke that popped into my head when I read this ... but thought better of it.

Good luck tomorrow.

PatCA said...

"For you bathers out there: it doesn't bother you that you're soaking in your own dirty water? *shudder*"

So true. I once knew a young French exchange student, handsome as all get out, who couldn't understand why women didn't respond to him. Answer: he stunk! But I couldn't figure out how to say that diplomatically. As we all know, this is due to their fabled bathing habits, not their showering habits.

Wickedpinto said...

NBC had a VERY good premise for a show that they later threw away, only because the execs were to petarded to hire good writers in terms of story development, and that show was called "Committed."

I think it was the third episode of that show, I think only 4 were aired, that there was an episode dedicated to a philandering man, who was dating a woman,even though he couldn't STAND the woman. The main character asked "then break up with her, you don't have a problem breaking up with women" and the philanderer said "I know, and I'm not worried about her, I worried about her bed, Ive never slept so good!"

Of course their was the #1 story about the main character and stuff, but it was drowned out in an instant by the 2 story of "I love the bed" anyone who saw that episode knows what I'm talking about.

I PERSONALY! I swear to god, 100% swear, there was a woman (I'm not a pig) who I liked, she was a friend, we interacted, and went to lunch regularly. One evening I came home from work, later than usual, she had the day off, and (not arrogance, just a fact of the moment) she really wanted me to split her in half, and it just so happens that . . . well, I don't sleep in beds, haven't for about 15 years, anyways, she woke up, cuz she usually gets up at that time, and we ran into eachother, we talked, and I said I was dead on my feet.

She knew about my unwillingness to sleep in beds (I'm kinda crazy) and she "took advantage" of me, though she didn't. She said, "well, I have to do some running around just lay down for a bit, and I will wake you up."

No S/crap in ANY WAY, it was a normal bed, it wasn't at all decorative, but she had a soft spring mat, with an under materess, her sheets were like faerie kisses, and her comfortor was like a beloved dog, and even more than that? the whole experience was like mom enfolding me in her arms when I was scared by the noises of sirens or thunder when I was a child.

She was a wiley broad, she came back early, and things happened. And to tell the truth? I couldn't DITCH her, or mistreat her, but she knew I was unavailable, but I didn't do a damn thing about it, cuz I never slept so well as I did in her bed, if only she weren't in it.

Yes, Men, don't know much about comfort, I think that is the real story. Men BEG comfort from women. We, often try, but we always fail, and it is always in the simple kindness of even FRIENDS that we realize. . . . "yeah, this is nice"

Wickedpinto said...

I take baths for the soothing experience of the muscles, but I make sure I soak long enough in the bath, that I can take a full shower and feel clean.

Baths (other than the Tall baths of japan where I was always cleaned by my woman) have always been filthy to me. I will SOAK in a bath, but I will CLEAN in a shower, and in fact, thats exactly how japan treats it. Especially for the Giant American Yetti's that invade their territory. It's almost like "the harder to clean, the easier to love" boku no yubina ona shinobu a. . . . itsumo


(It's been years... like 12. . . ."itsumo" = everything" right?

miked0268 said...

Bathtubs are for bathing children under 6, and are occasionally useful for cleaning storm windows. Other than that: waste of space.

My in-laws put in one of those giant jet-tubs. They ignored my advice that they would never use it. They claimed to use it "all the time" too. Then I got the call about the nasty smell in their bathroom, and I told them run the bath for a minute to fill up the p-trap. They cracked up when they realized this was proof they never used it! No cobwebs, though - their cleaning lady wipes it down every few weeks.

Bathing feels really good sometimes but it is still fundamentally a chore, like shaving.

Maxine Weiss said...

---You'all don't know the proper way to make a bed: Hospital corners

and I take it none of you have your sheets pressed with the crease down the middle before making up the bed.

It wasn't just the Romans, the Jewish Mikvah is a religious law. I think it's once a week. Israel now had co-ed Mikvahs.....can't imagine what sort of antics go on when the genders are mixed: kind of a religious Plato's Retreat?

Peace, Maxine