The Designed Life – Part Five


Food or bed? Which one do I want? Am I hungry or sleepy? Well….

The Designed Life has already looked at safe water, warm houses, the safe toilet, and clean air. Now it needs to have a bit of a lie-down.

The bedroom occupies us for a third of our lives. In some cases it is a haven of love, in some cases a battleground, and in some cases a rather smelly nest to hole up in. You can go find your own love or lust and I certainly don’t want to get in the middle of your battles, but I think I can help with the smelly nest. To start with, let us get rid of the smell.

When you go to bed, you generally take off whatever you have been wearing throughout the day*. Don’t get me wrong, but it is dirty and will start to smell if you leave it on the bedroom floor. Socks, shirts, underdangers…they all take on a ripe fustiness after a day’s work, even if you are a delicate flower. Get in the habit of putting the habit in the laundry to air out overnight. Even if you have to wear it again the next day without washing in the interval at least it will give a chance for most of the methane to waft away.

When you go to bed, you generally lie down or in some form of covering – sheets, a sleeping bag, a doona, a dead bear…whatever.  This absorbs your night stink and if you leave that covering undisturbed for the week it will eventually be capable of campaigning for the Presidency on its own, and with a good chance of taking the primaries in Utah. If you can, during the day, expose it for some period of time to exorcise the demons, and then reassemble it for sleep come night. If your bedroom space has some air exchange you will be glad to have a clean smell every night.

The bed you lay on can be nearly anything, and if you have ever stayed in a cheap hotel in London, that is exactly what it will be. Get yourself as good a mattress, palliasse, futon, or pad as you can afford, and find some what to secure it free of the floor. It will support you better and allow less transfer of heat, cold, or damp that way. Plus the monsters need somewhere to sleep during the day – under the bed is the traditional place.

Hard or soft mattress? Big puffy pile or saggy old hammock? I cannot predict what your back will do in any of these but try the experiment anyway – you’ll know in three days whether your joints will stand it. If you are sleeping with someone else and want to sleep with them instead of sleeping with them, make sure that the mattress will allow both of you to sleep together bit after you have done the sleeping together bit. If that sentence seems confused try doing it on a single bed in a utility apartment on a hot night and you will find out where the punctuation marks go.

Pillow? Well, if you are a Korean or Anne Boleyn you may opt for a wooden block , but the rest of us want something that is kinder to the head. I favour a down pillow, the wife favours a foam one. Suit yourself, but be sensible and change the darned thing every couple of years before it becomes a biology experiment. Buy nice pillow cases.

Again people will make a great deal of fuss about what the covering should be – woollen blankets, acrylic blankets, donnas comforters, crocheted cargo nets, whatever. Whatever you get tends to last so be happy with the colour ’cause you’re going to see it for a long time. In the end, all that covering does is trap body warmth so whatever seems to do that for you is right. Some coverings are so stiff they cramp the toes at the end of the bed, so decide early on whether you are going to tuck hospital corners or not – no good waking up at 3:42 with toe cramp because you aren’t going to like dancing around the bedroom hooting, and neither will your sleeping partner.

A bed spread? A pretty vanity, but useful to keep the cat hair out of the blankets. One more thing to wash.

Bedside table? Good idea. Make it large enough to hold a book and a plate of pie as well as the alarm clock. Design it with rounded edges so that when you hit it with your little toe in the dark it will not rip the nail off. Design it with a height so that when your groin hits it in the dark it will not rip anything else off.

And so…Good Night.

  • If your day job is a striptease dancer you go the other way round – you put on warm jammies.



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