Comrades in Twin Beds
Ricky and Lucy might have been quite the scandal for showing bedroom scenes on television, but a decade or two later, they were laughable. Two people sleeping in separate beds. HA!
Well, time must be cyclical because here we are, a bunch of Lucys and Rickys.
Thanks to claustrophobia, a decent amount of selfishness, and apparently too much money even in a recession, the idea of having separate beds is now no big deal. Studies have estimated that 1 in 4 married couples sleep separately. In fact, the growing trend is for married couples to have separate bedrooms, apartments or houses altogether, to live in separate cities or yes, countries.
Ironically, couples are moving in together before marriage and moving apart afterwards.
Then there’s the commies. Under Communism in Eastern Europe and Russia, the goal was to “free” married couples from domestic constraints so that they could find their value in being workers.
Freedom always sounds lovely, but the way this goal translated in normal life was anything but freeing. It turns out, most couples truly in love preferred to be together, which was not much of an option.
Women in Russia became increasingly depressed and angry as their husbands were encouraged by party members to have affairs and be away from home as much as possible.
In Romania, newlywed couples were purposefully separated and sent to jobs across the country from each other for the first year of marriage.
Such tactics were the only way to convince these Romeos and Juliets to care more for the state than for their spouse. It never worked, but then again neither did Communism as a whole.
Soviet author Alexandra Kollontai, in the 1920 paper “Communism and the Family,” describes the Communist goal well:
In place of the individual and egoistic family, a great universal family of workers will develop, in which all the workers, men and women, will above all be comrades. These new relations will ensure for humanity all the joys of a love unknown in the commercial society of a love that is free and based on the true social equality of the partners.
The women of the working class…need not worry over the fact that the family is doomed to disappear. They should, on the contrary, welcome the dawn of a new society which will liberate women from domestic servitude, lighten the burden of motherhood and finally put an end to the terrible curse of prostitution.
Servitude continued, by the way, via Communist concentration camps. Prostitution got worse, as did alcoholism. And motherhood, which was once a blessing, became the burden that they described it as because many of the babies starved to death.
Also, “comrade?” Probably the most unromantic word out there.
In order to succeed, Communism has to own its workers. And State ownership of human beings is never a good thing.
But it is also not compatible with marriage, because in marriage ownership is the right of the beloved. The other is yours. They become your lover and your responsibility, your blessing and your curse. In Eastern Europe, couples fought like mad for that ownership. In the West, we build separate houses.
When people in love are forcibly, geographically separately by the government, or disapproving communities, or military duty, or any other reason that is not distinctly their choice, it is tragic, and the couple mourns the loss until they can be reunited.
What would such wanderers say to couples here who are so desperate to be apart?
Perhaps if you both need a separate house, you are not lovers, or even Lucys or Rickys. Perhaps you are just comrades.
Some couples have found that it works to be apart, especially when it’s simply unavoidable. Many couples have spaces to themselves in the home, or enjoy some time alone.
But some of us, liberal and conservative alike, are moving toward an extreme – the enjoyment of separation. An extreme that is considered great suffering by many people with less liberty.
We have the freedom here to be Romeos and Juliets, but we prefer to be Lucys and Rickys. Comrades in twin beds. Refugees from each other by choice.