Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Separate Bedrooms for the Rich

Another reason our houses are getting enormous and our rich neighborhoods sprawl: the new fad among those who can afford it is to build a second master bedroom, so husband and wife don’t have to share a bed. This seems to be due to snoring men and restless women, more than anything else. According to the New York Times, most custom-built homes – which, almost by definition, are for the upper middle class and richer – will have dual master bedrooms or “owner’s bedrooms” by 2015.

This story has been much commented upon in the marriage-related blogosphere. Most have commented on the effect of dual bedrooms on sex. This seems to me a not very important part of the story, especially since the consensus seems to be that it has little effect on the couple’s sex life. More interesting, I think, is the fact that the writers have noted snoring as the main cause of the separation, but they are reluctant to spell out who is doing the snoring. The particulars make it clear that it is noisy men being sent away by easily disturbed women.

What strikes me the most about this story, though, is that the class implications are invisible. As is often the case with Times lifestyle pieces, this story about the minor travails of the upper middle class has been presented as if this were a widespread trend among all Americans.


Anonymous said...

My evolutionary psychologist colleagues would make something of the juxtaposition of your two posts. While the wealthy (more often white) couples may have sufficient success to enjoy sleeping apart, their current reproductive rates assure that their children will be a smaller segment of the population in the future.

Meanwhile, the concubining young man who attraction certainly eludes me will have generated quite a few more like himself.

It's noticeable that our public policy debates usually focus on trying to restrain the concubiners, while taking for granted the health of middle-class couples. Perhaps it's time to look at programs to keep them strong - before they sleep in separate houses.

Anonymous said...

Amen. Point one of my campaign for married middle class fertility: Consider Three. (Kids, that is.) That would go a long way toward correcting the birth dearth, while still allowing college for each one.