We needed a new couch last summer, and wanted something that would last a little bit longer than the disposable Ikea stuff we’d been living with for years. Our old L-shaped Ikea couch had been relegated to my studio after it collapsed, the cause of which became obvious as I dismantled it for repair — a key structural point where the two parts of the couch meet, allegedly designed to support the full weight of actual human beings, was entirely supported by, wait for it, a couple of wood staples. I kid you not.
So I found myself in unfamiliar territory, the world of furniture stores, where hungry-eyed salespeople attach themselves to you as you walk through the door, and where fake cardboard tv sets are frozen on news screens whose crawl announces that “the economy is doing GREAT!” (Wish I’d thought to snap a picture of that one.) And the one thing that stood out was how goddamn BIG all the furniture seemed. Comically, oversized big, as if designed for some wacky comedy sketch in which adults are playing the roles of small children.
The New York Times yesterday confirmed what I’d already observed: this is, in fact, an actual trend. The article suggests it was a response to the (pre-crash) rise of McMansions, but I can’t help but suspect that it’s also a response to the increasing girth of Americans themselves.
… adding, my point here is not to mock anyone for their weight, it is that in super-sized America, unhealthy weight levels have become entirely normalized, and I don’t think that’s a positive development. But I’ve edited this post slightly to remove a potentially insensitive comment, to which a reader justifiably objected.