Is it a person, place, or thing? Consider the bed. It’s likely that you were conceived in one. You will probably only have four or five of them in your entire life, and, alas, it is probably where you will leave this world if you are lucky. From your cot to your college twin and eventually, to your ‘California King’ - your bed speaks to your stage in life and status in society. Centuries ago, people took their beds with them when they traveled. The bed chamber in a royal household was the most exalted and intimate room of them all, and where the powerful would congregate. Interestingly, it’s not where the king slept. 

Beds reflect the cultures that build them. From the Japanese minimalist tatami that suggest a culture that favours simplicity and rigour over comfort, to an indulgent and fluffy bed that provides  comfort and solace. 

And what of the bed as a location. The scene of a passionate encounter - if only some beds could talk! The forum for the big event. For some, their bed is a sanctuary, the one place they can escape to and feel safe. For others, it’s a realm where they control everything. “Come to bed” and  “Go to bed” are nearly the same in terms of their meaning, but completely different in terms of their function in language. Many of us have had bad news delivered while in bed when a phone rings in the middle of the night. For others, the bad news is when you wake up in a strange bed the following morning. 

A bed can have character. Soft mattress or firm, huge headboard or mattress against plastered wall - each one may serve the same function(s) but none of them are exactly alike. The only exception to this would appear to be in hotels, where hundreds of the same beds are put in the same rooms on a given day. Some hotel chains even market themselves on the quality of their beds. Perhaps more interesting is the bed in art, though. How an artist uses a bed in a composition means a great deal. The bed is transformed into a stage. It is a character in its own right. It can loom large or recess, but its presence is fundamental for setting the scene. 

And then there’s the bed as an object. Fundamentally, it is a piece of furniture. As objects, most beds share a number of things in common. Form, function, and materials are generally the same. Having said that, beds can be made of water, ice, feathers, straw, foam, and much more besides. But walk into your parents’ bedroom and look at their bed. Does this stir some kind of emotional response? Bed designs have decorative elements that can age. Picture a bed from the 50s, 70s, or today. They don’t look the same. As an object, a bed is often the projection of the personality of the person it belongs to. What do beds tell us? 

If you are interested in contributing to Issue No. 31, please download and complete the Submissions Form below, or for more information, feel free to contact MASCULAR Magazine at:

Deadline for submissions is January 25, 2021.

© 2015 by MASCULAR Magazine


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