Just Add Water

In 1984 I moved from a furnished apartment into a duplex that was not furnished. All I owned in the way of furniture was a dresser and a nightstand, so I was in a bit of a bind. Being newly divorced and financially crippled, I was pinching the pennies when I went furniture shopping. What I really needed more than anything was a bed. Beds are extremely important. You spend a third of your life sleeping on them and, if you are lucky, they are also an area for recreation. I was hoping for both.

Note that I said “on” them rather than “in” them, because while I was shopping for beds, I couldn't find any that I could get in, but plenty that I could get on. You get “in” a sleeping bag, but you get “on” a bed. Then you cover yourself up with a sheet and possibly a blanket or two. Perhaps that’s why they say you are “in” bed. But beds don’t come with sheets and blankets, so you are on the bed until you buy sheets and blankets, which you put over you.

Beds are not expensive until you add the mattress. Mattresses are permanently advertised as on sale because if you had to pay full-price for a good one you wouldn't be able to sleep at night. The cheapest bed and mattress set I could find was a waterbed. For a little over $250 I got a queen size bed, mattress, a set of sheets and pillow cases, a drawer set that went under the bed, a heater, and a headboard with two shelves for books, clock, and entertainment items. All I had to do was add water.

My waterbed mattress lasted a good 15 years before I had to replace it. The new one was a deluxe queen-size with full baffles so that it didn't keep moving when I got out of it. Also the baffles were good because if someone else was sleeping on it, which happened all to rarely, they didn't fly up in the air if I sat down too hard on my side. The new mattress cost me less than the cost of a cheap twin mattress for a regular bed.

Unfortunately for me, waterbeds have gone the way of the beanbag chair and lava lamp, except that beanbag chairs and lava lamps have made a modest comeback. Not so with waterbeds. The waterbed store in my area went out of business, and even Wal-Mart, which once carried some waterbed supplies, no longer does. I've always known that waterbeds had a sleaze factor reputation, but it's hard to believe that waterbed accessories are too sleazy for Wal-Mart. All you had to do to see the sleaze factor was go shopping for waterbed sheets. Unless you wanted satin sheets with tiger stripes, leopard prints, or some other tasteless print, you were hard pressed to think kindly about waterbeds. It got so that when I left a waterbed store, I felt a strong need to wash my hands.

After shopping around, I managed to find some plain, pastel colored sheets and one nice white set with a conservative pattern, so I was happy for quite a few years. I did purchase some satin sheets, but they were so slippery that the covers would not stay on the bed, and I barely did. Forget entertaining on them. One-by-one my sheets have needed replacing. Now I'm down to my last good set, and they are starting to beg for relief. So I went on the Internet and Googled “waterbed sheets.”

I discovered that the best sheets that I can buy for my waterbed cost more than my waterbed. I also discovered that the sleaze factor is alive and well. In fact there are more sleazy options than ever. Forgetting about the tasteless prints, just the materials used reek of sleaze. There are the usual cotton, polyester, cotton-polyester blend, taffeta/satin, pure silk, velvet, and micro fleece, which I'm not quite sure about. Then there are latex sheets, PVC sheets, and leather sheets. Who could have imagined?

The latex sheets were advertised as “Latex Sheets the ultimate!” They didn't say ultimate what, and that is probably a good thing, although my curiosity was piqued. I could spend up to $588 for queen size latex sheets, and that didn't include the pillowcases. I suspect latex sheets are for fat people who want to lose weight by sweating all night. The PVC sheets must be for plumbers or auto mechanics because the ad said, “safe to use with most oils and lubes.” Evidently some people out there are using oils and lubes that are not safe with PVC sheets? Yikes.

The leather waterbed sheets come in black and in black & gold, and some really ugly patters, all of which must be an embarrassment for the cows whose relatives went into making them. But then these sheets are made from Italian cows from Northern Italy, so perhaps they are proud. Unless you are a bachelor dairy farmer who likes cows way too much, you can save a bundle of money by not buying them. The pillowcases alone cost more than my waterbed and mattress.

All I wanted was some plain cotton or cotton/polyester blend sheets. I didn't want jungle print, zebra print, chessboard, red swirl, or 6” stripes. They even had camouflage sheets in case you are hiding from someone and forget to turn out the light.

I'm still shopping for waterbed sheets. I have found some nice soft cotton/polyester blends that are pale blue and some that are cream colored for $69. It seems like an appropriate price if you are planning to entertain.


Bizarre