Sophistry of the Bad Couch

An appeal to the seating arrangement of students 

By Tala Alfoqaha


Sold. With the swish of a pen, my friends-turned-roommates and I had bound ourselves to the same 901 square feet for the next 12 months. Regardless of how sparse and ill-lit the rooms were, we really did like our humbly furnished apartment, our big bathroom mirror, our tiny kitchen table flanked by chairs reminiscent of elementary homeroom. And while the sole sofa offered no semblance of comfort or tenderness, we brushed it off as a minor inconvenience. How naive we were. 

Illiustration by Hannah Hyytinen

Illiustration by Hannah Hyytinen

The days wore on, weeks and months hobbled by. Our initial excitement at completing the quintessential young adult task of signing our very own lease--and as childhood friends, no less, experiencing adulthood together--quickly dissolved into the daily friction of housekeeping. Busy schedules relegated our interactions to brief exchanges of hello’s, goodbye’s and how-are-you’s. And each night, after we’d all filed home at varying times and levels of exhaustion, we slinked past our sole couch to instead sit separated in our respective rooms, preferring the comfort of our beds to the severity of our living room sofa.

Yet without a communal space to sit in, we rarely spent downtime together. Physical distance translated into social and emotional separation, and soon our home became a place to sleep, our friendship became a leasing agreement. Guests rebuffed the opportunity to “hang out” at my place, complaining about the stiff blue monstrosity, the thinly-cloaked bench that constituted seating. Regardless, we defended our couch, scoffing at the idea of buying a new one. How wrong we were.

Fellow college students, this is a cautionary tale about the power of a couch. Go home tonight. Sit--no, lie--down on that which you call a couch. Ask yourself: Do you sink in? Does it siren call you to sleep? Do you feel warm? Does it make you feel at home?

Because now, mine does. After investing in better seating, I now speak from a place of enlightenment. Our new couch now welcomes the four inhabitants of ***, embraces us as though we had never sought to deny ourselves its transformative cushionary pleasures. Now, we slink straight to the couch. Now, we all sit together. 

Wake Mag