Miss Pop Rocks: The IKEA Catalog Gives Me a Complex

Oh great, the 2008 IKEA catalog is out…just in time to remind me how hideously tacky, uncoordinated, and non-Swedish the Pop Rocks’ house is. Seriously, am I the only one who feels woefully inadequate whenever she looks at the IKEA advertisements, full of their bright rugs, multicolored plates, and other mass-produced “unique” crap?

When I first ventured out on my own, I decorated my abode with the stuff people put out for heavy trash. My artwork included a tattered poster print of that famous Magritte painting with the pipe that was not, in fact, a pipe. (C’mon, I was 23 and drunk.)

At any rate, somewhere along the line you get married, buy the house, and start feeling the pressure to live like an adult. And that’s where IKEA comes in. How better to decorate your pad than with “adult” furniture that still seems “cool”…yeah!

But the thing about IKEA is that it gives you this false sense of security: the belief that by purchasing IKEA’s lovely HEMNES or its cute SOTA or its super groovy GHERKIN (yeah, I made that one up), you will somehow become the hip, politically progressive, thin, `I’m still punk rock’ adult you always wanted to be. You will be a grown up, but somehow you will be the kind of badass grownup you were sure you’d turn into back when you were a disaffected teenager.

Plus, unlike the more upscale Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel, IKEA is actually affordable, making it even more likely that the furniture and house wares Goliath will suck you in with its KVARTALs.

The problem is, it’s all lies. Our house is decorated with a hell of a lot of IKEA product. And you know what? Mr. Pop Rocks is still bald, our cats still have fleas, and I have an enormous zit on my chin the size of a TROFAST. And to top it off, all the particle board backings to every IKEA piece we own are falling off as I type this. Nice.

Still, the catalog arrives every year, and every year I still can’t help but start drooling. Despite knowing better, I start to fantasize, redecorate, and dream…maybe this time if I get that GOSA MJUK, I’ll finally lose those last 10 pounds, have a set of adorable fraternal twins named Hunter and Hannah, and still manage to start my own rock band. – Jennifer Mathieu

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