The civilizing influence of headboards

June 1, 2004

I spent much of the Memorial Day weekend shopping for furniture with my mom, while my dad fixed things around my house. As a 35-year old, I probably ought to feel abashed about waving my flippers while whimpering “Daddy, fix my toilet paper holder!” — but I figure it’s the upside of the whole Korean parental overinvolvement thing. And who’s to say that installing a new towel bar in the bathroom is not the purest expression of parental love?

My mother is bugged because I sleep on something that does not meet her definition of a “bed”. I don’t have a headboard or frame, the boxspring just sits on the floor. She says that headboards, top sheets, and always putting food on a plate no matter how small the morsel — those are the things that separate us from the barbarians. I don’t really want to spend many hundreds of dollars on something that offers so little increase in real functionality. This causes her to sigh and mutter that there is more to civilized life than functionality.

So I took a poll at work, and almost everyone seems to agree that headboards are in fact a requirement of civilized life. Who knew? And apparently there are functional gains: pillows don’t fall off the bed, and/or your head doesn’t leave a greasy mark on the wall. Also, your cat can enjoy going under the bed. Still not sure it’s worth the money, but the social pressure is getting to me now.

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