Have you ever dated a woman who has a bed covered with a million pillows? Not just the pillows you use for sleeping but decorative pillows that have to be painstakingly removed every single night and replaced every single morning, sometimes by you? Of course you have. I must confess, I’m one of those women. And the answer is yes, we do need all those pillows. Walking into my room and having it look like a display at Bed Bath & Beyond is beyond anything I could have dreamed of when I was a tween and interior decorating comprised a Debbie Gibson poster from Bop magazine and a free blanket from an Astros game. I have yet to meet a throw pillow I would kick out of bed. I love them.
I know what you’re thinking: How many people even see those pillows? That’s a good point. It’s usually just my guy, my housekeeper and a “lost” party guest looking for the bathroom (or my medicine cabinet). A few years back I had a break-in and the police did a top-to-bottom check of my house, including the bedroom. They noted that the bed was unmade, the room was in disarray and lots of drawers were open, but they determined the place was just “left a mess” (written on official documents) and not the work of the intruder, who apparently was too fat to squeeze through the French door he’d wedged open. After they left, I looked around and found my sex drawer open and its contents on full display. (You don’t need to know the details of that drawer. We all have one, and everything’s in there that you’d think would be in there—within reason.) It was a classic “always wear clean underwear because you could get in an accident” situation, and I will never let it happen again. I will have closed sex drawers (or at least cleaner ones) and gorgeous throw pillows accenting the crap out of my bedroom, impressing whichever first responder comes through the door. Maybe “great taste” will end up on the next official police report.
Look, I’m not crazy. I know having so many throw pillows is dumb. They serve no practical purpose. Some are even pretty expensive. I get it, but I can’t stop myself from caring about them and other dumb things. Napkin rings. The shower curtain that goes on the outside of the real shower curtain. Candles I put all over the place and that never get lit. I have decorative bowls, trays, rocks, even food. How many women do you know who have baskets around their home? Empty baskets that do nothing? And yet, take my baskets away, and who am I? Women care about a lot of dumb things. Tidying up the house before the housekeeper comes by. Fake logs in a fake fireplace. Putting a cover over the Kleenex box even though it’s essentially its own cover. At the end of the day we know this is dumb stuff. And even though it doesn’t always come across, we know the fate of the world doesn’t hang on whether you accidentally use a guest towel.
But sometimes it feels as though only the dumb things matter. We can’t control our stupid boss nixing our vacation request, our parents getting older or the IRS “not getting” our deductions. But we can control our own little world inside walls whose color we might have agonized over. You probably think blue is blue, but we don’t see it like that. Inside those four Ocean Breeze eggshell-finish walls, when we find the perfect place to put some old dried flowers, we feel we can get up and face the day. We escaped from the harsh outside world, where other people decide the wall colors and we can’t have flowers on our desk because the guy in the next cubicle has a severe allergy. It’s why we want to eat at the table and not in front of the TV, and use the nice dishes, even with takeout. They’re dumb things to care about, but they’re our dumb things to care about.
So let us care. Stop asking us why we have charger plates if we never eat off them. There is no good answer. They are not for eating off of, period. They are just pretty plates to put other pretty plates on. It will never make sense to you, but it makes sense to us. Things we don’t need can still be nice. We don’t need lavender soap, but it smells good, right? And those seemingly useless candles can come in handy when a storm knocks out the power. Some things are dumb, but those are the things you’ll miss when you break up, and they’re the things that make a home, with the right person. We understand when you tell us we can’t move during your team’s playoff game because if we move they will stop winning. Can we just agree that we all care about dumb things, just different dumb things? Good. Because I have to start taking the pillows off my bed if I’m going to get to sleep at a decent hour.