“Oh but all I got
Is a s-single bed
Ain’t no room
For your sweet head
Now ain’t it a shame
You missed the last train
Coz all I got is a s-single bed.”
Fox’s 1976 one hit wonder has been in my head for sometime now. Not because it’s a catchy tune from my youth that I remember hearing on Countdown, but because I’m currently sleeping in a single bed and it’s driving me crazy!
In the eight months since I said goodbye to my queen-sized Sultan Hasselback (whoever thought IKEA would make a mattress I would actually miss) I can count the amount of times I’ve slept in a double bed on one hand. In Italy single means SINGLE. And that the powers that be are going to make it as hard as possible for you to bring anyone home until you’re either engaged or married, or can afford to buy a house and your own furniture. If I’m going to be completely truthful about my currently situation, I think all these single beds have stolen my sexy. And I want it back.
I’ve rented a room in a fairly nondescript 1970’s flat and am sharing it with four Sicilian girls. Five bedrooms the size of football stadiums, five single beds. To them it just seems so normal to live this way but I feel like I’m twelve years old. I’ve tried funking up my room with a new duvet cover and some fabric off-cuts I found at the second-hand flea market but I can do nothing to disguise the fact that my bed used to belong to a child sometime in the last century. Even the new mattress and pillow don’t seem to be helping, although at least I know no one has ever wet my bed and that is somewhat comforting.
For the most part my flat mates are lovely. They are kind, honest, thoughtful, clean and above all interested. A definite step up from the girl I shared with in Rome on all accounts. What I’m trying to get my head around is that a few of them have stuffed toys in their rooms and are nearing thirty. And that there are Walt Disney stickers on some of the doors and light switches, and sticky, flowery rubber things on all the mirrors, which I’ve worked out will slowly disintegrate if I spray them occasionally with Windex. All the kitchen glassware once housed Nutella so I’m regularly drinking with Santa, The Simpsons and a purple character I think is called Barbapapa. Is this Studentville or just Italy?
It would be easy for me to wish my flat mates to grow the fuck up but I don’t think they can be totally blamed for their per-pubescent tendencies as Italian fashion, in my humble opinion, is doing a very good job at holding them back. Everything is frilly, and shiny and girly. Or slutty. Sleepwear borders on the ridiculous. At one end of the scale you’ve got red and lacy and barely there, then at the other end fabric is patterned with Hello Kitty and Minnie Mouse. And yes, I am looking in the in the adult section. Where are the unassuming chic Calvin Klein in-betweens?
The other day however, I was both happy and relieved to learn that life is normal in my household despite outward appearances. One of the girl’s boyfriends recently stayed for a week and I’d been quietly wondering how they actually slept together in her bed but didn’t really want to appear nosy and ask. Now that he’s gone another BF is coming for a few days and his half was explaining that she needed to rearrange her room because – hallelujah! – there is a secret mattress that lives in the apartment and makeshift double beds are conceived on the floor when boys come to stay. ‘Please don’t tell the landlord’, Silvia added, ‘he’ll take it away’. Classic.