Despite most bed frames costing less than a month’s worth of cold brews, there appears to be an epidemic of grown-ass men refusing to hoist their mattresses onto one. We investigate.
As we brace for 2019 and stack up our resolutions, Broadly is focusing on finding motivation for the hard tasks that await us—like getting out of bed. So, throughout January, we’re rolling out Getting Out of Bed, a series of stories about all things related to rest and resilience.
It has recently come to my attention that there is a widespread phenomenon of men who can, judging by the size of their watches and the caliber of their Equinox memberships, afford beds, and yet choose to sleep, instead, on mattresses on the floor
Women who date men have been griping about this for some time. In a 2017 CityPages article entitled “Dear Men: Get Your Damn Mattresses Off the Floor,” Ali O’Reilly wrote, “If I had a punch card for every time I walked into a dude’s room and saw a mattress on the floor, I could make a shadow puppet of the Milky Way. I want to help. If that means making a list of the places where you can get bed frames for as little as $25 dollars, and the Home Depots where you can rent a flatbed truck for very little moneys, I will do that for you.” And last year, Nicole Cliffe tweeted a thread that went viral about how her husband slept on the floor when they first met, and swarms of men and women responded with tales of resistance from their (mostly male) anti-bedframe partners. “I have so far only dated one man with a bed frame. I’m 27 and have lived and dated in New York for 6 years,” one woman tweeted. Another posted: “my boyfriend was so against normal human beds when we met that rather than just BUY one he made his own, but not in a cool way. it was basically just a sad futon mattress with a single sheet on some 2x4s.”
Are men truly more likely to sleep on a floor mattress than women? Anecdotally, it would seem: yes. But as someone who has had adult sleepovers with many men, only a handful of whom were mattress-floor sleepers, I didn’t have a clear, science-backed sense of this being a man-specific epidemic. So, I decided to investigate.
I spoke with many men for this article—of many socioeconomic backgrounds—including 30-year-old, reformed-floor-sleeper Corbin Smith, who said he recently emerged from a nine-month stretch of sleeping on a mattress on the floor. (He had been sleeping on a box spring prior, but when he broke it, he resigned to the floor).
“When I started sleeping on the floor, I thought, ‘Whatever, it’s a mattress, I’ll be fine, I did it when I was a teen,’ but eventually, it actually became a real problem that was low key fucking my life,” Smith told me. He had a long-term partner at the time, and while she never actively complained about it, he suspects she couldn’t have liked it. They eventually broke up. “The mattress on the floor probably operates as a metaphor,” he said.
When Smith’s box spring broke, he didn’t rush to buy a new one, or a bed frame. “[My reasoning] was money, in part, for a second. I freelance and it comes and goes sometimes. But I also think there was a part of me that thought I didn’t need to give a shit about marginal comforts.”
Another man, who wished to remain anonymous, was a floor sleeper until his now-wife forced him to get a real bed. He still insists he actually liked the ground. “I preferred the support of the floor instead of those metal frame things,” he said. “Plus, a lot of those frames squeak when you have sex, and I hate that.”
On a 2015 Reddit thread, one man asked, “Is a mattress on the floor that big of a deal? Have a king size mattress without box spring or frame. Bachelor pad, 1 brd.” Indeed, many men on the thread cited the preferred firmness of on-the-floor mattresses and minimal sounds during sex. (“Sex isn’t as loud” said one user. “I’m short, and having my bed up high will do my sex no good,” said another, though we can’t quite visualize the sex maneuver he’s referring to).
One user even suggested that having a floor mattress is a good way to weed out money-obsessed women who would lose interest if they suspected you were poor. “Having little bits of poverty around is great for sniffing out them shallow bitches,” wrote intensely_human.
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