Now here's a contest right up my alley: Ugly Furniture.
Every year, we hold different contests through the Lodi News-Sentinel and Lodinews.com, and, for the most part, they're tepid. Cute kids, charming holiday photos, deserving citizens and the like all par for the course.
But when I was told about our latest offering — the Ugly Couch Contest — I was giddy. Here's something that most of us can identify with. Who hasn't owned an ugly couch at some point?
I've had at least three.
When I was a teenager, I had a bedroom that was big enough to accommodate my bed, a desk, a drawing table and a couch and loveseat set. None of it matched, and the couch was probably the most stylish thing in there — even though it was hideous.
This particular couch and loveseat was born somewhere in the late 60s, early 70s. It was light green with a pale, sparse floral pattern. The fabric was something akin to a burlap sack, and the 8-foot couch and 5-foot loveseat were held up by stained wood legs about six-inches long. I loved it. It was completely out there, as I imagined my personality to be.
I have no idea what happened to that ode to bad taste, and I wish I had taken more pictures of it to memorialize bad design.
My second ugly couch was yet another set, but this time purchased from a garage sale right here in Lodi some 13 years ago. The fabric, a tighter weave than its predecessor, had a night-sky blue, blood red and “gold” striped pattern, with, again, a type of floral print interweaving the stripes. This set had a deep, brown clawfoot design to support the atrocious up-top. And, it came with a matching glass-topped end table.
I was in hideous heaven. But that couch and love seat was beyond comfortable. Many a nap was had thereupon. That set survived a few moves and stayed within my household for a few years.
Old Stripey eventually broke down and we had to get rid of it. It was a sad, ugly day. I still have the end table though.
At that point, my wife and I were given another couch, an eight-footer, by my mother. Her little place had no room for it, and we needed one.
Here's the catch: It wasn't always ugly. When my mother first bought the set, it was quite stylish, over-stuffed and comfy. Over the years, the couch took on a personality. An ugly one.
It started becoming threadbare, exposing the wooden skeleton underneath. The once-comfy stuffing became stiff and uneven. Stains appeared, pet related and otherwise. It stunk.
Finally, when we returned to Lodi, that material monstrosity went away.
I know I'm not the only one with such sit-upon stories. And I know those sofas weren't the only uncomely couches to exist.
This is one contest I'd enter if I were eligible. Obviously. I'm writing about it.