(photo from recent trip to Chicago - many bustier forms on Michigan Avenue)
I have used queen beds since my sophomore year in college. In high school, I had my own room (true of all my school life up until then - as the only daughter with two brothers I always had my own room and a single bed), and just after it, in the year between when I was traveling part time, I think I might have had two single beds pushed together for some reason, but of course my dorm bed freshman year was tiny - smaller than a single, I am certain.
My sophomore year I was returning to college from 1/2 a year off, after my mother's death. I had no bed to speak of, no car either (had crashed that); had to borrow a friend's truck to move my stuff, newly inherited bits, but no beds. So I bought a futon - seemed the most practical thing in a small bedroom which, with roommates, would also be my private living room - and I had to choose what size. The friend said "why not get a queen size?". Why not? I didn't question his argument, it wasn't that much of a difference in price, and I found being able to splay out really pleasurable. But I had another agenda. I also believed that queen-sized bed would bring me a lover.
Really. Honestly. Total no holds barred here. I still recall the person on whom I had a crush, helping to move the futon into my new place with me. I wanted that person to take me by the wrists, pull me down onto that new and still smelly mattress and make sweet love to me. I wanted someone to want to move in with me, just to share that queen-sized bed with me.
I did have some lovers. Some old lovers came back, enjoyed more room with me, though clearly, in the end, not enough space. New lovers popped up - a random architect, recently divorced, with whom I spent most time in Chicago at their place, though once on my futon in Madison. The futon moved to storage for the year I was in France (where I only had a single bed and no sex) and then to my new place with more roommates the year after. There it did me no good. I slept mostly on the futon in couch form - a tiny, tiny bedroom, the ultimate Miriam compromise room - it was easiest that way, and less lonely.
It was my bed for the first two years living alone and there it got a lot of traffic but nothing permanent. Then, a former girlfriend moved and offered to sell me her queen-sized bed, and I gave up the futon for good. I thought "this is a good move, maybe a bed will reek of more permanency?" I had that bed for a few years, and it did, eventually, wind up being the bed on which I first slept with my now partner. Erika offered a piece of advice when we first moved in "Take your bed away from the wall, leave both sides open, so a lover can fall in onto it as easily as you can." Maybe it was her advice, maybe some good juju from the mattress finally coming to fruition, maybe I was finally no longer desperate, overwhelmed, searching for love and myself, like the mattress, now centered with its head below the window and both sides bared, open.
This spring we bought a new mattress. It was time.