It has occurred to me that marriage is like a sofa. Hang on. Stick with me. I have an amusing point... I think. You see, when you own your first piece of furniture, it has a lot to do with ego and with status. You want it to reflect all the qualities you want the world to perceive in you. It is a symbol that you a) have enough money to purchase real furniture (not a futon or a beanbag), b) have a place of permanent or even semi-permanent abode that necessitates the use of purpose specific carpentry and upholstery, and c) you have enough pretense to believe you have any actual personal style that should be represented three dimensionally by said carpentry and upholstery.
So we browse, devouring stacks of Country Living, Urban Living, Anything-we-can-find Living, ravenous to find a voice that dictates what kind of Living we should be aspiring to be living. Then we begin flirting. We flirt with patterns, solids, colours, textures, proportion, configurations. We hem. We haw. We consider colour palettes and schemes. We triumphantly narrow it down to a sofa that we deem worthy but is ultimately way out of our budget and, frankly, way out of our style league. I'm being very blunt. Of course I'd love to have a male model (or four) by my side and live that jet-setting, pink champagne kind of life. But let's face it. I never get around to getting my roots done, my legs are in constant need of a shave, and I have IBS. Oh, and champagne tastes like cat pee. I'm not cut out to be a jet-setter. Let's keep our heads out of the clouds. So back to choosing an appropriate sofa... to suit our lifestyle and reality...
The dating phase begins. We go to the stores and let our butts sink into a few. We hem. We haw. And finally commit. Vows and cash exchanged, we are united for better or for worse. And so begins the honeymoon phase. Some old-schoolers prefer to use a tried-and-true method of protection by way of a heavy coating of plastic. Others choose to enjoy their new acquisition, throwing themselves onto it with wild abandon. All the same, we treat it with the utmost care and adoration. Cushions are fluffed and pillows are placed just so. We've projected our heart and soul onto this inanimate object, laying bare, for all to judge, our personal aesthetics and our credit limit.
And then life happens. And before you know it, we no longer bother to take off our shoes when we lie on it. Popcorn and other assorted edible and inedible items start to accumulate between the cushions. A coffee stain. Baby spit up. Soup (don't ask). The once venerated sofa becomes just another item in the room. Until one day, in a rare moment of lucidity, we take stock of our life's inventory. And suddenly decide that the family couch could use some re-upholstering. I, for one, prefer not to throw out old furniture. There's nothing a little sandpaper and wood stain can't polish up. (That's not to say that it is sometimes necessary to just chuck it out and start all over again. I know of one particular chair that had been soaked in cat pee one too many times. That's one stink you just can't re-upholster into oblivion.)
So I promised at the beginning of this journey through metaphors and symbolism that I would have an amusing point. Well... at the very least amusing... So marriage. Furniture. Can't hurt to break out a little Pledge now and again, I suppose. Because in life, there's bound to be a little coffee... a little spit up... and a little soup. And sometimes, even, a little cat pee.