Our Beds, Ourselves
A few years ago, my college friend “Annabelle,” who had recently moved to the city, asked me for a favor. She was about to buy her very first grown-up real-from-a-store mattress. Could I maybe come with her? Of course I said yes; I love running errands with people, especially Big Decision, Expensive type errands. (See: Wedding Shopping With K.)
We went in the late evening right before closing time to the local Sleepy’s and took the various showroom models for a spin, bouncing on them gently and making snow angels while the saleslady eyed us dubiously wondering if we were a couple or what. Eventually Annabelle made her choice: a floor model, because it was a cheaper alternative, for which she negotiated because, as with cars, that’s what you’re supposed to do. She ended up paying $720, including a $100 bedbug cover, and another $100 for delivery.
Then we got ice cream to help her recover from the shock of paying nearly $1000 for something. That’s a milestone in any young adult life: the first time you write a four-figure check, especially for something other than rent or a broker’s fee.
When Ben and I first moved to the East Village, we skipped the mattress buying ordeal and slept on a broken futon we found on 2nd Avenue. No bedbug cover for us, so it is only by the grace of God we didn’t end up infested. When my mom came up to help us move out of that apartment, she refused to countenance the transportation of what was, essentially, trash.
It horrified her bourgeois sensibilities, the way it did throughout high school that I bought secondhand clothes. (Her frugality, by contrast, led her to Loehmann’s.) Without consulting us, she bought us a bed and had it delivered to our new apartment in Brooklyn as a housewarming gift. No bed frame except for the wheeled metal stand, but the mattress was great and we accepted it gladly.
Once we bought an apartment, though, we decided we were ready to invest in a proper bed to go with our mattress. That was big for us: we still sit on a thrift store couch and eat off of a hand-me-down table. But having made the decision, we did it up right and got a built-in-Brooklyn Stillwell storage bed from WONK. Four figures? You bet. It was a splurge but it was worth it: it makes me feel like a grown up every time I lie down.
I thought about this while listening to the most recent episode of the reliably wonderful podcast “Death, Sex, and Money.” From the transcript:
Heidi is online dating, which she mentioned to me when she was showing me her bedroom … where she and her dog sleep on a mattress on the floor.
HR: I read something on OkCupid, like this is the dealbreaker, that you don’t have a bed frame because you’re not a serious person and you’re not financially whatever if you don’t have a bed frame. The bed is on the floor so that Stella can get on it.
AS: So you read that it was a dealbreaker, so you want to make sure everyone knows there is a rationale.
HR: Exactly. It’s the world’s biggest dog bed, but yeah.
I’m not sure the lack of a bed frame would be a deal-breaker for me, although of course everyone is allowed to set their own limits. (One good friend of mine stopped dating men without health insurance after getting entangled with too many carpe diem-type artists. She’s still okay with dating artists, as long as they have their shit together enough to have Obamacare.)
Nowadays at least, with mattress-in-a-box disrupters like Casper and Tuft & Needle, it seems like affordable sleep options go beyond “find a broken futon on the street and pray no critters come with it.” If only bedframes too could come light, durable, and kinda cheap. Maybe Ikea is the answer? Check them out: for a limited time in London, they’re offering “Breakfast in Bed.”