WHY DWELL on the couch? Because the couch, more than the eyes,

WHY DWELL on the couch? Because the couch, more than the eyes,

WHY DWELL on the couch? Because the couch, more than the eyes, is the window to the soul. Ask people about their couch and you will know their dreams, their joys, their habits of mind, their irresolvable conflicts. The couch, inevitably, inhabits them all. It is the deadweight of your past, the fresh expression of your style, the resented hand-me-down, the beloved treasure, the tolerated knockoff.Sure, a bed is necessary, but it’s insufficient. The couch is what elevates and establishes your space, making it fit for guests, for all the sweet, stark, indolent pleasures of domestic life. And so it has been from earliest times. “Beds and couches must have existed in every Minoan and Mycenaean household,” writes G.M.A. Richter in his classic, The Furniture of the Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans (1966). The couch is an imperative, a cornerstone of civilization.While the bed, with its private acts, is tucked away in a darkened sanctuary, the couch’s condition is terminally unresolved, an uneasy mix of languor and tea-party primness. It, too, plays host to such wild performances as the day would quake to look upon, yet the couch sits boldly in the living room, feigning classiness or, in some cases, just openly sordid. This tension lies within the very origins of the couch, which was used in ancient times as a daybed for naps, a place for the master of the house to dine, and—since it could usually accommodate two—other activities. It re-emerged in the 1600s as a domesticated sofa: an extended armchair, a more padded settee. (The sofa bed thus represents evolutionary closure, a full circle.)More than any other furnishing, the couch is the source of an infinite variety of sensual and textural experience—from the wildly different ways couches can receive and rebound against the weight of your body to the sounds that emanate from the couch itself. Most intensely of all, there is the unforgettable touch of a couch, more memorable against your skin than smooth, anonymous sheets: buttery leather, Grandma’s itchy brocade, buttons, seams, orange corduroy (in the case of my own childhood).The couch: Stroke it, sit on it, copulate on it, reflect upon it.mfefer@seattleweekly.com


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

t
SeaTac girl faces additional hit-and-run charges

Same driver who reportedly killed Maple Valley jogger also injured man in Des Moines

Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance
Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance

Nonprofits, activists are expecting greater need as workers are laid off.

Geographic dispersion of Washington State Patrol commissioned personnel who lost their jobs Oct. 18. (Washington State Patrol)
Rather than get vaccine, nearly 1,900 state workers lose jobs

Exactly how many people will be out of work for ignoring Gov.… Continue reading

King County Courthouse adjacent to City Hall Park (courtesy of City of Seattle)
County council votes to take dangerous park out of Seattle’s hands

City Hall Park, next to the courthouse in downtown Seattle, has had multiple reports of crime.

stock image
Health care workers call on state’s hospitals to help mitigate staffing crisis

Health care workers unions claim hospitals have the resources to fix the issue.

File photo
Do you need to pay for your COVID hospital stay?

Washington state law requires hospitals to provide free care for certain income brackets.

Stock photo
State AG Ferguson leads effort supporting local journalism

Federal legislation offers tax credits to subscribers, businesses and news organizations

C-17 at Joint Base Lewis McChord airstrip (courtesy of United States Military)
King County councilmember proposes program to aid transition of Afghan interpreters who served the U.S. overseas

Program would provide job training and learning opportunities for Afghan interpreters and advisors.

Most Read