Pillow talk

Last updated 11:30 05/07/2012

My new pillow is giving me a flareup of "middle class anxiety".

To understand why this is so, you probably need to know that I grew up on the DPB. Despite what you may have been led to believe, this was not a life of luxury wherein we had Kentucky Fried for tea every night and free weed on Thursdays. On the contrary, we had to do without a reasonable amount of the time.

My point is that my family has been working class for as long as anyone can remember, so much so that I sometimes still think of myself in this way even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary (our household income is not too shabby, I consider an iPhone as a necessity of life - that kind of thing). However, my new pillow, in all its foamy innocence, is reminding me on a daily basis of my middling place on the socioeconomic scale.

My pillow cost $99.99. In my defence, I didn't pay full price for it because it was (here comes my holy mantra) On Sale. In fact, I only paid $70 for said pillow. Still, to someone like me 70 bucks for a pillow feels like an extravagance on par with having a gold-plated stapler. I mean, the thing even came in its own box. A box! For a pillow! What, were they afraid someone was going to break it? This only confirmed my bias that fancy pillow people are not like normal people.

The ultimate in fancy pillows...The picture at right is my "artist's interpretation" of what a $100 pillow should reasonably look like, i.e. that it should be made of clouds and come bedecked with donuts and a giant rasher of bacon. I would happily pay $100 for that.

But I do have a good reason for entering, somewhat reluctantly, into the ranks of "fancy pillow people". It's my neck, you see.

A while back I noticed on waking that I had a bit of neck and shoulder ouchiness. More than a bit, actually. I fully expected that this was caused by my odd habit of Voguing in my sleep. I seem to frequently "strike a pose", wrenching my neck at strange angles. It's not unusual for me to wake up with no idea where my right arm is because I've completely lost feeling in it from shoulder to fingertip due to the fact that I've rather artfully flung it up over my head. It's quite a strange sensation to expect your arm to be down by your side only to find it's somewhere else. I can't say as I recommend it, to be honest.

Still, I expected that the pain would ease once I got a few nights of uncontorted sleep in. But it didn't and I felt that there were only so many shoulder rubs I could ask the Silver Fox to give me before I should really start paying him.

In the meantime, the neck was starting to bug me as I would often forget it was a bit tender and turn quickly to catch sight of something only to yelp as my neck reminded me of the state of play. I didn't want to miss out on anything important and could well imagine the following dialogue taking place:

Silver Fox: Whoa! Check it out! There's a woman over there wearing a pair of Crocs as a hat!

Moata: What? Where? *turns* Aaaargh!

Silver Fox: Are you screaming because it's really ugly or have you hurt your neck?

Moata: BOTH!

So something had to be done. Which is how I ended up spending perfectly good shoe money on a sculpted "memory foam" pillow from Farmers.

I don't know. I almost feel as if pillows, like coathangers and socks, are the sort of thing that should just exist in your home and that you should never really have to outlay significant funds to replace them.

And yet, here I am, now a "fancy pillow person". I feel like such a diva.

It's been less than a week with the new pillow and I'm sort of getting used to it though its lack of snuggliness annoyed me a little to start with. Is it improving the state of my neck? Not sure at this stage. It's certainly not getting any worse, so we'll just have to see how that goes. I suppose, I may even get used to the idea of being a "fancy pillow person". Certainly a gold-plated stapler still seems pretty far off, so maybe there is hope for me still.

Do you ever wake up to find yourself contorted into weird postures?* Are any of you fancy pillow people too? Is $100 for a pillow the height of extravagance or have you done worse?

* It's all right. I fully expect some of you to go smutty with your answer to this question. Just keep it publishable...

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Lanthanide   #1   11:40 am Jul 05 2012

I've been using my home-made (by mum) foam latex rubber pillow for about 22 years now (think she made it when I was 6 or so).

By *far* the best pillow ever. Not like those crummy dacron/fibre pillows I'm sometimes subjected to in hotels or other peoples houses etc. It's springy, can be molded to my head and provides good neck support. Better than those fancy memory foam pillows too, which are really quite firm and not snuggle-able.

No idea where you could get foam latex rubber these days (or cheaply), I think she originally got it from Para Rubber as a cushion support thing that you take to places with horrible wooden seats. Just cut it up into little cubes and stuck it in a simple cotton bag made with good strong material.

Davo   #2   11:41 am Jul 05 2012

OK. I have an admission as well. I also grew up in the east of Chch, from a working class family, who never had money to go around. I also have a iPhone, and more income than my parents ever dreamed off. And yes, 3-4 weeks ago I bought not one, but TWO memory foam pillows. Because not only am I fussy about what my pillow is made of, I also have to have it at just the right height! I feel so embarrassed. And to make it even worse, I can't even remember how much they cost me! I have become middle class without even realising.

Niri Tacen   #3   11:52 am Jul 05 2012

I have tried pillows like those. The problem I kept having was that after a while the pillow wasn't supporting me properly.

I tend to turn a lot at night, much to the discomfort of my beloved, who has the ability to assume one position and stay there. Which is why the cat prefers that side of the bed.

I can't remember where, but I saw some advice saying that for people who toss and turn, the best thing to do, pillow-wise, is get a firm pillow and a soft pillow. Put the soft pillow on top of the firm pillow. The firm pillow gives you the lift, while the soft pillow changes shape to support your current sleeping position.

So far this has worked for me, and I haven't a sore neck for quite some time. Also, waaay cheaper than a snobby choc-biscuit $100 pillow, which are only bought by people like Charles Emerston Winchester, the third.

Kim   #4   11:59 am Jul 05 2012

Moata - go see a chiropractor!

Alice2   #5   12:04 pm Jul 05 2012

Not quite a sleep contortionist, but I do tuck my hand under my cheek when I sleep. Which resulted in the transfer of a Sharpie smiley-face from the back of my hand to my cheek last weekend.

I'm a stationery nerd. I spent $80 on a lovely fountain pen. That doesn't work. And since I don't have the receipt anymore, can't return it.

Caitlin   #6   12:09 pm Jul 05 2012

I love those memory foam pillows! If I had a spare $70+ to spend on a pillow, I'd definitely be buying one. My boyfriend had a good point - he pointed out to me that people are willing to splash out huge amounts of money for a good, supportive mattress, so why not the pillow? You spend a good 8 hours every day lying on it, after all.

viffer   #7   12:19 pm Jul 05 2012

I too have one of them thar pillows, as does my SpousalUnit, only she covers hers up with a feathery/downy one, as she hates the foam one. And our bed. Y'see, I had an op a couple of years back, and had to sleep flat on my back for at least 3 months (!) THREE MONTHS!! Being a "lie on my side" sort of person, this necessitated visiting several bed stores and test-driving their best, most fancy offerings until one was found that had no pressure points. Then they talked us into getting matching pillows, so the total was around $1700 (!!). Alas, there was no base that suited us, but they said, "Don't worry - we'll sort that out for you!" "Just a cheap one will do, please - it's just a base!" "Yeah yeah - we've got some for a few hundred dollars".

So, the bed turns up, as does the $1500 (!!!) base. Alas, the salesperson was "just filling in", so we have trouble getting them to come and pick the base up and provide a more modestly-priced unit.

As for the bed/pillows - they worked perfectly, enabling me to sleep OK on my back (as opposed to not sleeping at all), but the SpousalUnit still *hates* the "made of plasticine" lack of snuggliness and bounciness of the bed and pillows. It's kinda like the Quicksand Bed: you go to roll over, and the bed gives, then traps you in that position. No bounce, no rebound, no springiness. Sorta like $3200 of uncooked bed...

Rita   #8   12:29 pm Jul 05 2012

"Fancy Pillow Person" Pffft! This year I became a "Fancy Bed Person" - we bought our own bed, brand spanking new. As one wit put it "So, you've slept in a lot of other people's beds eh?" "Yes. yes, this is true." Now I awake without the aching hip and am really appreciative. Might have to search out the "fancy pillow" to match.

cupcake_di   #9   12:32 pm Jul 05 2012

I am a 'fancy pillow person' too... I succumbed to buying a Latex type pillow for $90 at the suggestion of my physio. I think she was grumpy at the number of times I came in complaining of a sore neck after 'sleeping wrong'.

I love it... actually it's not latex, it's made of something a lot more comfy than latex. It came in its only plastic zip bag too... which I take with me on holidays and sleepovers. Yes I've become one of people that take my pillow everywhere!

PB   #10   12:45 pm Jul 05 2012

I have a memory foam pillow and it is incredible, mine was a cheap one $40, but I've had it for years and I love it. In fact lately I haven't been using it as I've moved house and wasn't sure where it's now located. My neck's been sore because I haven't been using it, must dig it out!


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