Sarah Sands: What a chap wants in bed – TV and a sarnie

Share
Related Topics

Stereotypically, the female areas of a house are the kitchen and the bedroom. Mail order brides are advised that they will need to perform in both. The male areas of the home are the downstairs lavatory and the garden shed.

How does that stereotype sit with the news that sales of beds designed for men have been rising? The recession proof popularity of the "man bed" has been a revelation to retailers and to gender psychologists. It is a phenomenon that demands a whole new marketing imagery.

Until now, beds have been represented as a female dream of starched sheets, white covers, and, beyond, billowing curtains suggesting a gentle breeze. When couples are shown in these beds they look wholesome and moisturised, often waiting for adorable blond children to run into the room with Mother's Day cards. There is a tremendous emphasis on quality of sleep.

This is not remotely the point of a man bed. The man bed is a Jeremy Clarkson fantasy costing at least £3,000, with super gadgets rather than lavender springing from the margins. Happily, it includes the essentials, such as an iPod docking station, sophisticated sound system, wine cooler and high security safe; and, because it wouldn't be a proper man bed without it, a 32in high-definition Sony plasma screen TV built in to the footboard.

Naturally the bed has a Hugh Hefner promise to it, furnished in dirty dark coloured satins and with space for plenty. But I sense this bed is not really about sex. Not, at least, until Match of the Day has finished. Rather, it is about male assertion.

We have lived under a misapprehension that beds are unisex. At the end of each day, a truce is called in the sex war as man and woman lie together. In fact, the nights are when the differences are on agonising display.

Women, on the whole, like to wear something in bed; men, on the whole, do not. Women, in the main, enjoy reading last thing at night; men drowse over their laptops. Women are a little more foetal in their sleeping positions; men tend to sleep on their backs.

This is where the real trouble starts. Why, according to a new biography, even the soul-mate Obamas fell out over the snoring of the future president. In a lovely man bed, you would not have a woman shoving and hissing at you to be quiet. In a man bed you could keep the curtains closed all the time if you wanted to. In a man bed you could watch late night telly with a beef and pickled onion sandwich.

A survey in the New Scientist concluded that men suffer mentally when they share a bed with a woman. The succession of female habits – the time in the bathroom, the reading, the conversation, the tending to children during the night, the hairdryer in the morning – all conspire to frazzle the male brain. Women continue multitasking even when they sleep. Men need an unbroken stretch.

Part of the popularity of the film Step Brothers lay in an unconscious male yearning to share a bunk bed with another man. Wouldn't that be fun? Imagine spending bedtime with gadgets, sport on a cinema-sized television, beer from your own fridge, snoring and farting without a thought. And no one to reproach you.

Men used to find respite from women at work. They went to pubs to be with men. They didn't see females in the football crowd. Now those opportunities for purely male pleasures are curtailed. No wonder they are seeking refuge in the man bed.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Muslim men pray at the East London Mosque  

Sadly, it needs to be said again: being a Muslim is not a crime

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible