Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Making our Beds

Do you remember Chenille bedspreads?  The time when making the bed was easy:  pull up the bedspread and tuck it under the pillows?  This is a fancy one in a 1950s Ranch House.

For those of you who do not remember the Ranch House, here’s a picture of a typical one.


It was all part of the great marketing scheme to lure women back into the home so returning GIs could have their jobs back.  It was supposed to make Rosie the Riveter feel fulfilled by the joy of Jell-O salads and fondue parties.

A few years later, Betty Friedan blew that fallacy all to hell with the publication of one of the most influential books of the 20th Century which made it clear women had been duped by Madison Avenue.

Beds have been on my mind lately because our house is for sale, and in 2014 beds are piled with decorative pillows, the more the merrier.  So now, instead of just pulling up my duvet, I have to arrange all these pillows.  Here are a couple of examples of the 21st Century bed.

A far cry from the days of the simple Chenille bedspread.  In fact the second bed must surely come with instructions on proper pillow placement.


Remember when one of your parents told you:  You've made your bed, now lie in it”?  Meaning of course that ... you made the decision; now accept the consequences.  Like when you married the wrong person too soon, or gave up that scholarship to Yale to backpack through Europe and you got "fleeced" a week into your trip?

Beds have always held a certain fascination for us.  A place to rest a weary body; or to cuddle with your favorite pet; or have breakfast served to you on a special day … or to engage in that age old activity which we have all done.  And Big Pharms are using to make billions of dollars from men who aren’t “up” to it.

Here are some famous quotations about this place of pillows and pleasure:

“The happiest part of a man’s life is what he passes lying awake in bed in the morning.”

  Samuel Johnson


“The bed is now as public as the dinner table and governed by the same rules of formal confrontation.” 

Angela Carter (1940 – 1992) English novelist and journalist, known for her feminist, magical realism, and picaresque works.


“How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends.  Man and wife, they say, there open the very bottom of their souls to each other; and some odd couples often lie and chat over old times till nearly morning.  Thus, then, in our hearts honeymoon, lay I and Queenqueg (the chief harpooner aboard the Pequod)  – a cozy, loving pair.”

Herman Melville (1819-1891 author of “Moby Dick”


“What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?” 

William Shakespeare (The Bard, 1564-1616)


“It is comforting when one has a sorrow to lie in the warmth of one’s bed and there, abandoning all effort and all resistance, to bury even one’s head under the cover, giving one’s self up to it completely, moaning like branches in the autumn wind.  But there is still a better bed, full of divine odors.  It is our sweet, our profound, our impenetrable friendship.” 

Marcel Proust (1871 - 1922) French novelist, critic, and essayist.


And my favorite …

“Bed is the poor man’s opera.”  (meaning that sex offers to the poor the aesthetic experience that opera does the rich).

Attributed to George Bernard Shaw  (1856 –1950)  Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics; author of the play “Pygmalion.”

And now to toss all those pretty pillows in the corner and crawl into bed.





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