In Xanadu did Kublai Khan a stately pleasure-dome decree… Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
We’re a long way from home, welcome to the Pleasure-dome… Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Pleasure – a lovely sounding word, feel how it sounds in your mouth and think about the things that bring you pleasure. Be as salacious as you like, it’s your imagination. Pleasure-dome conjures evocative images of a central controlled space of pleasure, luxury, riches, indulgences. Close your eyes, remember the poem, recall the song…
Welcome to my Pleasure-Dome – my bed. I cannot afford a stately kingdom full of every imaginable pleasure known (and unknown) to (wo)man. But I have my bed and it brings me pleasure wrapped up in a great many packages.
The pleasure of sleep – it is impossible to over-rate the importance of the joys of sleep. We’re supposed to spend a third of our lives away with Orpheus so we should enjoy it all, especially our dreams. Dreaming is the stuff of wonder, the place you and only you can go to play, frolic, sort out your problems and find fabulous solutions. A good sleep in can never be over-rated. A good night’s sleep is what keeps us functioning sanely in this insane world.
The pleasure of sex – well, how can you speak of bed and not of sex? Although I would suggest that bed is where most people actually make love. Sex in an actual bed doesn’t tend to happen for a while as a young sex-crazed being. Sex and bed tends to be for more tender, passionate embraces, the languid, luxurious love making that a comfortable mattress ensures. The joy of sex in a bed is in the slow unwinding from the heat of congress, the lying together bathed in spent passion as you resume a normal heart beat and your bodies cool enough to find sleep. And a very good sleep at that.
The pleasure of reading – don’t you just love reading in bed? Half an hour before you sleep, in the morning of a weekend? Anytime really. You can stretch out, plump up your pillows, play a bit of music and settle into the most comfortable place to read and then travel off with the story you are into at the moment. Remember, a bedside table is for the stacking of books, so you must read in bed.
The pleasure of eating – this divides people. Crumbs and spills and stains are horrid things. But if you’re careful breakfast in bed is one of life’s major pleasures. Add to that snacking while you’re reading and a glass of wine and chocolate while watching telly and you’re away. If you live on your own there are no holds barred about eating in bed but sharing means negotiation and consideration.
The pleasure of writing – thank God for the lap-top. Now you don’t have to be chained to the desk to get on with your best seller. A large bed is also very helpful for spreading out your notes and drafts and organising yourself. Writing in bed vastly improves the quality and quantity of your out-put – tis true, really. (No, this is not penned from bed).
The pleasure of telly and DVDs – I have come to this again later in life, as for many years we had the TV central to our family life, now we watch DVDs on my iMac from the comfort of our King-size bed. With the lights out and a beverage and a snack it feels more like being at the movies, except of course you can pause to go to the loo or restock your supplies. If you’re sick, there’s nothing nicer – bed + TV + food = pleasure despite the suffering
The pleasure of chatting with loved ones – you should be doing this before and after the ecstatic act of love. But you can talk to others too. Baby girl loves sitting or laying on the bed disturbing my reading or writing to chat, aimlessly, endlessly. It’s unmitigated bliss to relax, chat and be with her. As a baby I used to read her to sleep in bed, her warm little body, on mine, reassuring, life affirming. Now I read and she does her homework and I offer wisdom when asked.
I always loved books and movies where some lady simply took to her bed and never got out again. How divine! For me a day in bed can be as good as it gets. Ah, bed, one of the under-rated Pleasure-domes of the world.