I hypothesize that availability of a couch, futon, or other mass-seating structure contributes greatly to a location’s social desirability. Based on my data, I can fairly conclusively state that the ownership of a couch significantly increases the likelihood people will congregate at any given location and, subsequently, the lack of similar furniture decreases the aforementioned likelihood. Please pardon me, I’ve been writing some academic papers so my speech is a bit overly colloquial right now, perhaps I can adjust.
I don’t have a couch in my apartment. I have a total of 5.5 distinct seats: 1 computer chair, 2 kitchen chairs, 1 tilted-bowl shaped chair, and 1 club-style chair with footrest (the footrest counts as .5). This seemed very logical for me, most of the time there is only 1 person in my apartment, and having 5 chairs per person seemed like more than enough seating variety for me.
What never occurred to me is that those 5 seats are all independent, unique locations. It’s fairly uncomfortable to share any of them with another person, which isn’t an issue because I’ve ever had >5 people in my apartment (I don’t think more than 2 chairs have ever been used at once actually). The real problem is that disjoint seats don’t promote much social interaction, maybe it’s more reminiscent of being in a classroom or work environment. While people sitting on a mass seating structure, like a couch, don’t always have to physically interact with each other the seating location tends to, according to my research, facilitate a shared social interaction. Everyone sitting on a couch tends to talk to each other, watch the same program, etc. People sitting in individual seats have individual experiences. People sitting in shared seats have shared experiences.
For example, without a couch I can’t comfortable say to someone “Hello <name>, would you like come to my apartment and watch <tv show / movie>?” because I don’t have a couch, the common viewing place, for people to sit on. Sure, someone could sit in the variety of seats I have available but then it’s like we are both watching the same material and just happen to be occupying the same space, which isn’t usually what I’m going for when this theoretical request is made. (Disclaimer: I’ve never asked anyone to do this, it’s merely a thought experiment.)
This concern is slightly more fitting now that I actually have a TV in my apartment. Before I had that appliance there was almost no reason anyone would want to potentially come to my place, listening to iTunes / the radio together was cool back in the 60’s… and my computer desk isn’t well positioned to facilitate >1 watchers.
When I was getting this apartment, a couch was on the list of things that other people wanted me to get but I wasn’t really comfortable with the idea. I think, similar to the Queen’s Throne, a couch would be one of those depressingly unused things. At least my discrete chairs see some 100% utilization time, and they are much easier for me to move.
I’ve given some though to non-mass seating solutions, but I think you then get into the “class” of chairs. In social interactions, it’s important for people to have the opportunity to be on the same level with each other, something a couch does really well. A club chair seems inferior to a computer chair, and I always feel a bit strange sitting in the computer chair while interacting with someone in the club chair, I suspect the tilted bowl chair would fall below the club chair. The two kitchen chairs are logically of the same class, but they aren’t particularly comfortable (and it would be strange to sit side by side in wooden chairs like that).
Perhaps I will look into getting a couch wherever I find myself next, though I guess the logical requirement is also people that would use it (perhaps I share a similar underlying concern this year). Until then I’ll maintain the status quo, just like my steak knives. I have more steak knives than I have friends or steaks I have consumed this year. I could probably use like 4 knives per steak, if I ever cooked something like that. Despite my presentation, do not consider this blog an open invitation to show up in an attempt to prove my theory wrong. Should I desire company, I will consider following the protocol as outlined in the though experiment.
Good night moon.