Monday, January 30, 2012

Experience versus Aesthetics

One of the best examples I have in making the argument between aesthetics and experience – and, to be clear, there are many – is The Platform Bed. 
 J and I once had a platform bed. Well, he had a platform bed. He brought it into my life when we first met and, in the days of early courtship, it was actually pretty cool. I liked that it made the room look modern and sophisticated; I liked it because it was trendy, sexy, and so delightfully anti-suburbia. But mostly I probably liked it because I had my own bed to go home to.

But then we moved in together, and it suddenly became my bed, too – like some kind of awkward stepchild you acquire through marriage. Except that , over time, I openly disliked it, rather than feeling it in clandestine. As such, I had no qualms about my plans regarding the bed’s future: it had to go.

The problem with the platform is actually exactly what you would think: while it looks incredibly cool in a room – I’m the first to admit that the minimalism and artful lines never did get old – the reality of interacting with it was anything but. Getting out of bed each morning was a task. In my early 20’s, I was made to feel like some senior citizen, heaving my body up against gravity each morning only after an excessive amount of effort and will power. Then there was the other critical factor: the bed made our dog eye level with us. This is fine until a.) it’s that time in the morning when he decides it’s time to eat, you think it’s too early to get up, and he's set to convince you otherwise or b.) the moment you realize that three truly is a crowd.

When J moved to Chicago, he left the bed. When I moved a year later, I did too.
I think we all knew it was time to move on.

Every time I see a platform bed in a catalogue, I still feel a little seduced by the sensuality and simplicity. They’re beautiful pieces. They make your room beautiful. And, in the beginning, they make you feel beautiful.

But then I remember the experience of having one, and I again feel fortunate to have a place to sleep that's conducive to me.

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