Maker Mayhem #12
His & Hers Bedding: For the couple who needs to be reminded of their genders, even while they’re asleep.
Playing into the hands of unimaginative gift givers of the Cold War era, the “His & Hers” trend was a merchandizing strategy in the form of bath towels, coffee mugs, toothbrush sets, bedroom slippers, and the like, to cash in on the post-war marriage boom peaking from the mid-1950s to the early ‘60s. The genre later spoofed itself (His & Hers flasks, false teeth cups, toilet paper holders) and inspired a strain of third-rate gag gifts and adult novelties (His & Hers birth control kits, edible underwear, screwdriver sets).
His & Hers bath towels were harmless enough, and almost anyone could make an argument for a His & Hers toothbrush set (how many of us have grossed out our spouse by accidentally using theirs by mistake?), even His & Hers flasks make sense for a pair of rummies who just tied the knot. However, the instructions to make this coverlet—featured in a DIY publication from 1972; coincidentally when the His & Hers trend and the interest in marriage among young adults were both on the wane—assures homemakers this bedding is an effective way “to make a territorial claim!”
This How-To never explains or even suggests the need for such rigid boundaries, and we can only guess at what the consequences might be if He or She should stray too far to the center. Are there particular activities that can only occur on “Her” side, or “His”? How badly does this couple need to loosen up? This may be nothing more than a project for an enthusiastic newlywed hobby seamstress expressing the short-lived afterglow of her wedding day in felt appliqué and decorative trimmings, but a bed—unlike a bath towel or a toothbrush—is something to be shared in a marriage, not divided into equal parts like a desert highway or an Olympic-sized lap pool. Imagine being the horny new groom who comes home to this.
Or maybe this hobby seamstress isn’t so newly wed. Maybe she’s a few years in, and the novelty of being a “Hers” wore off a long, long time ago. Maybe a customized bedspread is the only thing she has left besides a wedding band to remind herself that she’s still a wife, because lately she’s been feeling a hell of a lot more like an indentured servant. Maybe hitting that Hers flask she keeps hidden in her sewing drawer and losing herself in a coverlet project might help dilute her aching disappointment and the sobering reality of a bleak and lonely future married to an insufferable bore with abhorrent table manners and fungused toenails.
Flash forward to the 21st Century, with the wedding boom decades behind us, replaced by one of the highest divorce rates in the world and a growing demographic of young adults whose value for marriage is on par with the landline. You might be quick to think this bunch has little use for an item like a His & Hers bedspread, but everything old is new again and ripe for reimagining. Consider the new world of boutique gender pronouns that no one could have imagined during the Eisenhower administration? Makers of bath towels, slippers, toothbrushes and coffee mugs take note, there's an opportunity here.