By Amelia Leaphart
A series of gasps circulated around the room when the proctors announced that everyone had two weeks to get rid of any non-dorm mattress in their room. I was shocked that the same people who wouldn’t put any decoration on their walls, or even bring some stuffed animals from home, chose to live a life of crime and bring their mattress all the way from home to replace the beloved Sewanee twin XL with their queen-sized memory foam. Or maybe a regular twin without the extra five inches (Is there even an extra five-inches?).
The twin sized bed has a long and largely unknown history in the United States. The Atlantic article, “How Twin XL Beds Took Over College Campuses,” recalls how outbreaks of diseases in the late 19th and early 20th centuries lead to people, even couples, always sleeping separately (watch I Love Lucy for reference). This trend died out with the exception for children and college dorms.
This policy against bed elitism is not new nor specific to Sewanee. Replacing mattresses and moving in different furniture is considered a fire hazard and can lead to damaging dorm amenities.
Personally, I believe that when one signs up to live on dorm in college, part of the cost is utilizing the appliances provided and leaving comforts such as soft mattresses and cable TV at home. Of course, this is coming from the perspective of someone living in Smith. However, twin beds are less ideal for Netflix-watching. For instance, where can I put my snacks? But maybe that’s on purpose.
The Atlantic’s article emphasizes that a reason for enforcing twin beds is to get people out of their rooms. Thus, discomforts may force us to leave our dorm room rather than holing up with a bed that can comfortably accommodate stuffed animals, snacks, and a plugged-in computer. As someone who has spent their whole life sleeping in twins, I have mastered appreciating the fetal position.
For my fellow “sheet hogs,” twins also prevent destroying a made-bed at night and teach more courteous sleeping to those “sprawlers.” Sadly, they do nothing for the snorers (the worst of the bunch). Ecce Quam Bonum: Behold how good it is to live together in the unity of a twin XL.