I have what could generously be termed "a mild couch fixation," and what could more accurately be called "a total obsession bordering on the crazypants that makes my husband occasionally consider abandoning me in the woods to be raised by a deer family rather than continue living with a manic couch–purchasing Looney Tune for one more minute."
You could say I've bought a few couches in my day.
Fortunately, this little couch-buying problem of mine hasn't really had a negative impact on anyone except for my husband, Kendrick (who has toted a couch up and down several flights of stairs an average of once every six months for the bulk of our seven-year relationship). I mean, the majority of the couches that I've owned over the years have been hand-me-downs or secondhand buys, so it's not like I was throwing us into the poorhouse; we're talking an average of a hundred bucks a pop. And moving beyond the nitty-gritties of cash flow into the spiritual realm for just a moment, I would like to make sure you're aware that the three boys who showed up at my apartment to divest me of one of my couches—intensely, almost impressively stoned boys who walked through our front door and evaluated my couch for approximately half a second before announcing that they were going to cut off its legs and take it with them to a rave—were pretty psyched about the whole situation, so there you go: couch karma.
My first post-college couch was a white, slipcovered cutie-pie from Ikea that (I thought) elevated my very first apartment back in Los Angeles from featureless box to glam single-lady dwelling. It was exactly the same couch that every other person I knew owned, except mine was snow white. Why white, you ask? Because I enjoy living dangerously, because I had convinced myself that a person who harbored a strong affection for Two Buck Chuck should drink that Chuck while sitting on white furniture, and because I had not yet internalized the lesson that we will cover later in this chapter, in "I Never Want to Own Anything White Ever Again in My Life, Ever." I was over-the-moon about that couch for a hot minute, and then it turned yellow, developed a less-than-desirable patina that I suspect was the offspring of Two Buck Chuck droplets and Los Angeles smog, and basically disintegrated.
After my white sofa died an unglamorous death, I moved on to a streamlined brown couch that I thought was so extremely chic that it could more accurately be called "espresso" . . . but then ended up looking not-so-cute in the aftermath of an apparently exhausting cross-country trip during which I have to assume that all three of the very large movers I hired to help me get from L.A. to NYC sat on it, slept on it, and took it to parties and gave it tequila shots.
Chic Espresso Couch was followed by a cozy striped hand-me-down from my parents that looked vaguely like a reject from the Big Apple Circus and that I hear ended its life as the centerpiece of a rave. Next came a fairly amazing powder-blue custom job that I bought from a lovely old lady who lived a couple of blocks away from us on the Upper East Side and that I adored, cherished, and petted like a beloved, powder-blue golden retriever until I discovered that sitting on it felt like riding on a bushel of cement. Finally there was Chic Espresso Couch #2, which was just the ticket for a short while, after which we spontaneously grew a second dog and a human child and realized that, diminutively elegant as the thing was, exactly one-fifth of our family was able to comfortably fit on it at one time.
Last of all came the couch we own now: the very first for-real, grown-up (by which I mean horrendously expensive and previously owned by no one else) couch I have ever bought. It is the couch of my dreams, and I mean that literally. I have dreamed about it because I am the kind of person who dreams about couches.
It's approximately the size of Texas, has a chaise lounge section that I claimed as my own within moments of its arrival, and when my husband and I sit down on it together to watch a movie or show I don't even know that he exists . . . and that is an awesome thing, because at this particular juncture in my life floating on my own personal couch boat and concentrating on the intricacies of The Bachelor takes priority over snuggling. It's also already looking a little run-down thanks to my dog's determination to spend a minimum of ten hours per day perched on the back cushion (only the one on the left, of course, so as to maximize asymmetry), and the color isn't exactly what I thought it would be when I looked at the swatch in the store . . . and ask me if I care?
I do not.
I love it, smooshy cushions, not-exactly-the-color-I-expected fabric and all.
And I love it not because it is a Style Expert Approved couch, all ready and waiting for its Siweb pictorial. I love it because when I lay in my little chaise lounge corner my son curls up in the crook of my arm, my dogs settle down around my feet, and my husband stretches out across the rest of it, and when a sippy cup gets spilled or a dog drools or some Chinese food ends up where it shouldn't be . . . guess what?
It's microfiber. And drool comes off of it like nobody's business.
It's not a couch for the style pages . . . it's a couch for my life.
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