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So, IKEA was something I was not aware of as a place I could actually go to until around 2007-2008. When I first saw Fight Club in late 2001, I assumed Jack/Tyler had ordered all that Swedish furniture directly from Sweden.

I didn’t know yet that IKEA existed as a brick-and-mortar store in the US – or that IKEA products were stigmatized as stuff bought on the cheap to quickly furnish dorm apartments and the homes of bachelors (like Jack/Tyler in the movie,) and not “good furniture,” especially at the prosperous tail-end of the 1990s and early 2000s.

To me, the idea of Jack/Tyler ordering a Yin/Yang coffee table directly from Sweden seemed like yet another symptom of his isolated, materialistic life.

In 2005-2006, IKEA was a four-letter word that Draven/Fake Internet Neo used to vilify anyone who didn’t acknowledge him as a messiah – which he had in fact appropriated from Fight Club. So when I learned, post Matrix-cult, in 2007 that IKEA did in fact have brick-and-mortar stores in the USA, and that they had just built one in the nearby town of Frisco, I just had to go check it out.

I wasn’t a real adult in 2007. (I don’t think I actually began to qualify as one until three years later.) I’d never bought my own furniture before that – everything had come down to me from my grandparents, recovered from storage when I moved out.

I’d never even bought my own sheets before that. I got all my Grandfather’s linens after he died. It wasn’t until I was trying to put the twin extra long sheets from his old bed on the standard twin bed that I ended up with the next time I moved that I realized there were even different sizes of twin mattresses that required differently-sized sheets. I was nearly 31 when this happened.

I didn’t have an aesthetic then, or an idea of one. I didn’t know Boho from Industrial from Mid-Century Modern. My first apartments in the late 90s and early 2000s were combinations of my grandparent’s hand-me-down chintz and gingham sensibilities with my fandom memorabilia, and cheap plastic garage shelves to hold all my books.

I was also forming a philosophy about art, and it’s this; art in a capitalistic culture may be subservient to profit and capital – but that doesn’t make it not art, if that makes sense. People who design furniture do so for it to serve a purpose, but also as a form of expression, and for the people who buy it to serve as a form of expression, even if that expression is, “I am living from paycheck to paycheck, but I still want furniture that looks nice.”

My first IKEA purchases near the end of 2007 were actually cookware and bath towels, then eventually curtains and curtain hardware. By 2010-2011, I was aware that my aesthetic skews somewhere between Boho and Mid-century Modern, particularly that stuff from the 70s that looks like it should belong to outer-space pimps, or on the the set of a Panos Cosmatos film, or in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

(My apartment bedroom circa 2011)

In 2013, I built a queen-sized bedframe out of lumber from plans on the internet. Then I gave that one away and built another one. Woodworking was a skill I really wanted to hone. That bedframe warped to shit because I didn’t finish the wood quickly enough, and Texas in the summer is hot and humid.

After three moves, I was never able to get it back together again correctly, and I didn’t have the space or the tools or the time or the money to make replacement pieces (I still have the pieces that didn’t warp, and I might do that someday.)

I’m currently using a perfectly serviceable metal bed base I bought off of Amazon right now. But sometimes, as I walk through the IKEA showroom, I’m tempted.

One thing that bothers me about the 2018-2019 line is that there is suddenly a focus on soft, cute pastels (which pretty much flies in the face of everything I believe in) as well as the chintzes and ginghams that my grandparents favored. One look through the current online catalog bears this out.

A friend pointed out that pastels tend to be popular during tense, dark times. Pastels were all the rage during the Reagan administration, after all. I miss some of their more daring, bold designs from around 2010-2012. I pieced together two twin duvet covers into a queen duvet cover in 2013, because they didn’t sell that design in a queen bed size, and I wanted one. Here it is.

Anyway, Draven’s scoffing at IKEA was, ironically, hilariously elitist as fuck; he was mocking something that was not a marker of wealth and status as he also erroneously perceived it at the time, but something seen as readily affordable and accessible to the hoi polloi. And it was stupid, because IKEA is fucking awesome. And I wouldn’t know this if I hadn’t gone out of a sense of rebellion after his trifling ass skipped town and was out of my life for good. So, thanks asshole!

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