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May 31, 2014

DODD: I won’t take shopping sitting down

Kim and I had enjoyed a nice dinner out after work when she asked if we could go shopping at a furniture store. Since I had enjoyed a Long Island iced tea before dinner, I was agreeable.

I must admit, we desperately need a new couch and chair. I was lying on the couch the other night and my foot slipped beneath the fabric. It is worn and threadbare.

I also must add that the couch and chair are the most comfortable pieces of furniture I have ever sat or lay upon. Like my old jeans that if the light is right one can see through them, they serve all of my needs. I hate new jeans. They fit too tight and will take years to adjust to the form of my very imperfect body design. You can’t fit my body off the rack.

One of the reasons we have not replaced our den furniture involves having two indoor cats and a teenager for the last seven years — all of which are very hard on new furniture. We bought a very nice set of theater seating furniture for our basement before we bought our big-screen television downstairs.

Just a few days later, I discovered that one of our cats had used the side of one of the seats for a scratching post. I don’t believe in cruelty to animals — except for about that 15 minutes after I had discovered the damage.

I will state one rule that I think is nearly universal among the sexes: Women shop and men buy. If I needed a couch and chair, one visit to one furniture store is all I need. Every store has a hundred couch/chair combinations. I don’t need to see another hundred.

If I can’t choose a couch and chair from a hundred different fake living room setups, then I obviously don’t need them very badly.

My wife could probably visit every furniture showroom in a three-state area and still not find her perfect couch and chair. I personally blame Country Living magazine for her mental condition. It’s kind of the furniture decorating Bible.

She has studied the perfect house décor and layout monthly magazine for years. The only time I have ever read an issue of Country Living was sitting on the john when obviously there was nothing else to read within easy reach.

Kim is going to a Country Living festival shopping weekend in Ohio in September. She informed me just tonight she had found two female friends to accompany her.

I have recently had nightmares that she might not and I would have to go with her. If I could design my own personal version of Hell, I am pretty sure a Country Living weekend might be in the mix.

I pick out a chair and couch simply for the plush comfort that comes with sprawling in them while I fall asleep watching something on television. Kim uses other criteria, such as design, how it matches the paint and other house décor and if there is ever a shot that our couch and chair might make a Country Living photo layout.

She takes home fabric samples and holds them up against the wall. It’s like a science with her. And comfort never seems to figure into it at all.

The real frustrating part is when she asks me for my opinion and I pick out a couch and chair I like and then get to see her make those awful judgmental faces like I just force-fed her dill pickles and lemons. Then she will say something like, “Really, you like that one?”

Heck, I knew it was a rhetorical question when she asked, yet she always waits for my reply. As I am lying outstretched and almost half asleep, she has the nerve to ask me if I really like that one.

She will ask the salesperson questions about fabric shades and if she could borrow a couple of throw pillows to see how different colors might blend. I always have just one question and it is the only question that men ever want to ask when furniture shopping: “Does a free big screen television come with that furniture?” That’s always a closer for me.

I now live in a house where we have way more televisions than people who live there. But there is not a man alive who will agree with his wife when she says something really dumb like, “We don’t need another big-screen television.” It’s like she has never heard of the term multitasking. That’s like a woman asking why would you want sex; you already had sex.

I am not sure if we picked out the couch we will buy or not tonight. We did get a printout and the color options and delivery charge amount on a computer printout. And no, it doesn’t come with a big-screen television, which for me is all but a deal breaker. If he raised the price a thousand dollars but threw in a big screen, I would probably have signed the contract before I left the store.

When we do purchase a couch for our den, I am sure it will not be as comfortable as the one I sleep on now, but it probably will match the room color scheme. But I will agree to buy anything that makes her happy as long as I don’t have to walk into another furniture store. Although the in-store experience is not the worst fate for furniture shopping.

She used to interrupt my television slumber to show me how some people decorated their homes which appeared in Country Living magazine. If a marriage can survive such quality time, you know you have found true love.

— Lindon Dodd is a freelance writer who can be reached at lindon.dodd@hotmail.com

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