02 June 2006

blanket issues

Since it's Friday after what has felt like a very long week, I'm still thinking lovingly of bed, one of the things that became a hot topic for J and I when we started living together. It's another lifestyle category where I unintentionally displayed obvious American traits I never knew I had.

Blanket usage, apparently has American and European techniques. I knew about the duvet thing being a more European preference, after staying at various guesthouses and from assorted non-American friends, but I didn't know about the double-blanketing style here.

J and I got a new bed in January, one of those tempurpedic Swedish numbers (and yes, they are as great as they're advertised to be). It's a vast terrain of bed, upgrading from a barely-adequate full to something almost two meters wide. Our bedroom became nothing but bed with a side of closet doors overnight, and the blanket we'd had before was like a single postage stamp on a magazine envelope. We wrestled with it, and each other, for a few days, then decided it was time to upgrade that too, and get one that fit the whole bed.

J told one of the guys at work about the challenge of sharing the tiny blanket on the new bed, and he gave him a strange look, saying "you use the SAME BLANKET?!!". When I mentioned it to a friend at work, she laughed and patted my cheek. "You Americans are so funny."

I grew up thinking that if you shared a bed you ALWAYS have one blanket. It's how it goes- share your house, share your life, share the blanket too, and spend half the night enfolding yourself in it while your guy lies shivering on the other side. It had never occurred to me that it's not like this way everywhere. When I started looking though, everyone's got the same technique going here- even the sheet sets at IKEA are designed for it. They all come as pillowcase+single-sized duvet cover, and finding top sheets, really huge duvet covers, or patterned pillowcases in pairs is challenge enough it's not worth sticking to the single-blanket style.

So that weekend, J and I went and bought exactly the temperature of duvet we liked best, picked out the twin-sized duvet covers, and gave it a go. I love it. We've got our space to sleep, and it's so much easier to change the sheets with the small blankets. Shoulda done it sooner.

But I still am left wondering why it's just not done in the States. Why is it that part of being in a couple means sharing the blanket too? I know so many people who share the bed with someone that has very different temperature preferences, and this would solve the problem so easily and comfortably. Is it not seen as being properly "together"?

Ship sighting: I saw the cruise ship Funchal arrived during breakfast the other day, and depart as scheduled later the same day. Gotta love all the light making it so easy to see the full cycle of a ship's visit here!

In other harbor news, I am sad to be missing Hátíð Hafsins (harbor festival), scheduled for the weekend I will be in Italy. Sunday, June 11 is Sjómannadagur (seamen's day) so there are all kinds of sea-related entertainments prepared for the whole weekend. It was a high point last year, so I was looking forward to it again, even if half the celebration seems to be about those inflatable jumping-castle things for kids.


Ange said...

Now here is a question- do all scandinavians do the whole "personal blankie" thing or is this specifically Icelandic?

Oddly enough my parents started to use their own blankets when I was in high school because my dad was always tired of being "the cold one" so my mom bought him a down comforter that he always sleeps under and she sleeps with just a blanket. They are happier sleepers these days (and they just bought one of those special Temerpedic mattresses themselves. They love it)

My dog has her own blanket, but she's forever stealing mine... I hate waking up in the middle of the night to discover that a snoring mutt has stolen my covers.... grrr

ECS said...

Angel- the personal blankie thing is pretty much everywhere I've been in Europe, with the exception of some of the more American-tourist friendly hotels in Paris. It's also usually a duvet cover instead of any top sheets- I don't know that I've seen a top sheet anywhere in the past 8 months since I left the states. That makes for yet another incentive to keep the blankets to the smaller size- much easier to wrestle with a twin duvet than a full or king-sized one!

tsduff said...

Now I'll have to check that out when I come back to Iceland. When we stayed in a guest house, I noticed that they only sleep with a feather bed, no sheets. And, as you say, they are two twins, rather than one double. Interesting topic. We have just been searching for sleeping bags that zip together (to replace my ancient 29 year old one LOL, and his) Not many stores have good backpacking style bags, that do zip together. Maybe it is just a nice idea, but not practical.

CueP said...

My husband and I experience the same surprize and joy when we saw the 2 duvets on our hotel room bed (which was 2 incredibly comfortable mattresses pushed together). We both loved the idea immediately, just for the reasons you wrote about and vowed to have our own duvets and exactly those same (kind/quality of) mattresses when we move to Iceland!

Unfortuneately, for the next several months we are apart working in separate cities across the country from each other. So we don't have the shared duvet situation now. I guess if you are not with the one you love, the idea of sharing a duvet is not all that bad.

And finally, I love that I can jump right in and make a comment, even though you posted this entry over 6 months ago! Thanks for writing your stories in a way that keeps them fresh and fun!