The Person Who Owns That $4,998 Couch You Want From Anthropologie




This couch is special. You want to eat it. It looks utterly edible. You envy the kind of person who will buy this couch, and can easily fancy a lot of things about this person.

The purchaser of this couch is probably either male, or a couple, or a male in a couple. They are straight. People sometimes think they are gay, but they’re not, but they’re also not bothered by the mistake. In fact, they find it a little flattering. They are one of those people who believe in bringing back the rustic refinement of the gentleman. (This can be annoying to people who have more real world concerns than trendy affectations, but the annoyance fades once you realize that he knows everything about lots of things, and lets you borrow his records and throws great dinner parties with sincerely interesting people.) As they grow older, this adherence will become less about perfectly-coiffed facial hair and aged leather accessories and more about being a good dad. They do not have kids, you assume, because you associate the presence of babies and their taller counterparts with all-out destruction. Your carefully arranged home will become a goddamn madhouse once you baby up.  So the buyer of this couch, being worldly enough to know this bit of truth, would never purchase this piece of furniture, would never bring its pristine, terrifically tarnished orange-colored fuzzy folds into a baby-ridden home. But he probably wants them “someday”.

They work. So when they buy a couch like this, it’s exciting. They have money now, but they earned it. They are probably not a 22-year-old with a trust fund. (They might be, but we aren’t talking about those furniture buyers because they are wholly uninteresting in terms of consumer analysis; their entire aesthetic composition is painted on; they’re boring from having too many options. So if a bunch of rich kids own this couch, you don’t care.)

You wonder at someone’s ability to commit to this couch. It’s a statement piece, which is a term you only know from reading, never from shopping. You are at the level of owning “statement pieces” in your closet, not your living room. It’s a dull, ripe, rusty orange, for fuck’s sake. It will change whatever room it’s in. It possesses the most mass; everything else must shift its orbit to revolve around this couch. This couch is a commitment, but like the gentleman this person strives to be, he is brave and sound, and likes commitments to beautiful things, like his intellectual and attractive wife, and unique, weighty pieces of furniture. This couch will be talked about, commented on, fawned over, cooed upon like the babies it would never cohabitate with. How can someone choose just this couch, with all the benign-but-beautiful, safe-but-stylish, probably-a-fuck-ton-more-fiscally-reasonable couches out there? Then it hits you: if someone has $4,998 to spend on an orange leather couch, this is probably not the only couch in their home.

The fantasy is no longer having the cool style confidence and financial resources to buy this caramel dessert sofa; the new dream is having a home – maybe a modestly-but-immaculately designed, re-purposed industrial loft that kept the original exposed pipes but not the original asbestos? Or an in-town bungalow that you’ll actually call a bungalow and not feel pretentious about it because it totally is and you’ve retained the original integrity, the inherent cuteness of the place, but have updated and outfitted it painstakingly and carefully with the newest modern features and design trends to where it’s the perfect, sprawling, bigger-than-it-looks juxtaposition of “love for the old” and “acute awareness of the chic and modern” – a home big and diverse enough that more than one room needs a statement piece, needs a strong, sun of a couch, for all the lamps and chairs and rugs, and curtains and vintage binoculars on shelves and other shit to forge their lesser orbits around. This couch might not even reside in the main living room. It might be one of several sofas. It might rarely be sat on. You hate the person who bought it. You loathe him. You want him inside of you. You want to read the Dwell article about him. You want to pay him to design something. You want to smell his skin and know what kind of overpriced “but totally worth it” raw organic soap he uses. You bet it’s bar soap. It’s definitely not body wash. This man owns your couch and would never use body wash.

To this couch’s buyer, it cannot be a major purchase. It just can’t. No one for whom $4,998 is a significant amount of money would spend that money on a couch. If you’re spending that much on an orange couch, it means that $4,998 is a relatively insignificant amount of money to you. It’s a “great find”, or whatever words they will use to describe the buying process to visitors or clients (you just realized this person is probably an inexplicably successful creative freelancer of some kind, and this couch may or may not end up in their home office; either way, you can be sure they will put this couch in the line of sight of their visiting clients. This couch says, “I’ve got money, but I haven’t sold out; I’ve got balls, but also great taste to back it up.” It’s exactly what a young, newly successful, creative freelance type of guy wants his clients to see. Or a couple, if that’s how it is, wants their clients to see, in a casual-but-choreographed show of “We’re so in sync, we even agree on buying weird orange couches. We’re that couple.”) You’ve never had $4,998 extra dollars to do something with, so you honestly don’t know people do with it. Other than also have a lot more money, and a lot of rooms, and at least one desperately nice looking couch from Anthropologie.