I’m not going to lie – I have a Pinterest account. I’ve had it for a couple of years, actually, getting one of the pilot invites when the site was still in beta. Back then, it was shaping up to be a design aggregator. I didn’t really use it much because I was already using Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr and had no need for yet another method of interacting with people on the Internet, also, as far as my enjoyment of design goes, I don’t really like being active about it. I hit up Apartment Therapy and Design Sponge once a week, follow a few design-related Tumblrs, and just kind of…browse through the rest at my leisure. I like the idea of Pinterest, and certainly it’s a better keeper than my sprawling list of bookmarks, but other than that, I don’t use it all that much.
Mostly because since its beta stage, Pinterest has morphed into a monster. I’m still on it, of course, and I still pin stuff to a small handful of boards, but I’m not one of those women who use it as their primary means of online interaction, spending hours a day scouring the Internet for the latest cheeseburger casserole recipe (jesus christ, ladies, just tell the truth and call it a beef and cheese brick). I’m not a crafter, I’m not planning a fantasy wedding, and while I realize the relationship between design I like and things to buy/people to hire, I’m not really interested in using Pinterest as a consumer suckhole where I pretend to collect things I’m not really capable of owning. And, um, I have no idea who among my friends is actually on Pinterest since I never go to the site itself. I see something, I pin it, and I forget about where that pin goes, or who’s looking at it, or if I should return the favor by looking at something they pinned.
It’s pretty exhausting when I think about it, and I totally get why the mention of Pinterest makes cooler people and dudes roll their eyes. Seriously. I’m kind of one of you.
One of the features Pinterest recently rolled out is showing you who else pinned what you pinned. Like, right after you pin it. It’s in the pinning window, and it comes up regardless of whether or not you’re on Pinterest itself. Because of this feature, I now know that a total stranger also saw that bathroom tile color I liked or the super smart kitchen layout I’d have if my house wasn’t an, um, hole, and I can see a picstich of some of their other recent pins.
And let me tell you, these women are really into messy beds.
Which is bullshit.
Here’s why: the kind of women who use Pinterest as a sort of Internet bloodsport – and I can tell who they are based solely on the picstitch feature because it also displays the hyper-specific names of their boards – do not like messy beds. They don’t like messy anything. They like order. They like classification. They like organization, even when it comes to the imaginary world of Pinterest and all of its things they can’t have in real life. Shabby chic is about as messy as they get, which is why all these images of messy beds irritate me. These women don’t want messy beds. They don’t want messy lives. What they want is the idea that a messy bed conveys, which is some romantic, bohemian ideal full of daytime sex and hazy light and no job for which you’d have to leave the bed in the first place.
I’m not saying that everyone who has a messy bed wants this lifestyle. Some people have messy beds because they see no point in making them if they’re just going to crawl back in there eventually. Which I understand. I used to be that way. Then I grew up and started working all the time, and I realized that it made me feel more relaxed and happy about going to bed (rather than simply relieved to collapse into it) if my bed was made. And I don’t even make it the right way. I’m not tidy and I don’t invest in linens or decorative pillows; my extravagance is a down comforter tucked into a soft gray duvet cover from IKEA. In the morning, I grip the duvet cover, flip it upwards, and let it fall. If it lands to form a semi-smooth, semi-straight surface over the bed and pillows, then great. The bed is made. At least part of my day was productive and the end of it won’t be total shit.
But the women who are pinning messy beds aren’t into just not making the bed. They love linens and decorative pillows. What they’re doing is idealizing mess, kind of like how teenagers who’ve never lived on their own idealize what leasing agents like to call “artist’s studios.” They think they’re so great and free, these huge lofts filled with inspiring surfaces and cool people. What they don’t realize is that they’re ridiculously overpriced high-ceiling closets with shitty water pressure and bedbugs. Likewise, when these suburban control freaks pin a photo of a messy bed, a crumpled scrap quilt, and a mason jar of
dried dead flowers on a table next to a lamp glowing with a bare Edison bulb, they’re building up an idea in their head that’s nothing like the sloppy, smelly, fire hazard reality that photo represents.
You know what I want to see from these women? Impeccably-made beds. I mean like hospital corners. That shit is way harder to do than kick a blanket to the bottom of the bed, and it’s way more impressive than any quasi-bohemian hipster lifestyle these women think they want.