Believe it or not, my husband actually has something in common with England's Prince Phillip. Can you guess what it is? No, they don't both have to walk two steps behind their wives (the only time one of them does that is when his wife is hoofing it to get to the Ladies' Room in the airport terminal immediately after disembarking from a three-hour flight.) And no, they aren't both members of the Danish-German House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg – at least not that I know of.
What the two men have in common is this. They both detest duvets. It's true. While touring the private quarters of the decommissioned Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh, Scotland recently, our guide pointed out that the bed in Prince Phillip's sleep chamber was outfitted with a traditional quilt because he absolutely hates duvets! Honestly, I wish you could have seen Marc's face when he heard that. I mean, here they are, two gentlemen from completely different backgrounds, generations, nationalities and socio-economic positions, yet they are bound together like blood brothers by their mutual intense dislike of a simple linen covering.
Oddly enough, ten years ago Marc had never even heard the word "duvet”. Now it is the bane of his existence. That's because as a frequent business traveler he spends an inordinate amount of time – sometimes as many as fifteen nights per month – sleeping in hotel beds, and where for decades if not centuries, those beds were reliably made up with cheap scratchy sheets and thin beige blankets that tended to pill, these days they all wear duvets.
Oh sure, a duvet looks impressive, like an enormous poufy, billowy, white meringue on top of a large rectangular cake. And when you plop your tired self down onto one and your body gently sinks into its smooth, cool caress, it feels as if you're floating on a cloud. Such euphoria is understandable too, given that the whole thing is nothing but a great big bag filled with plump, soft downy feathers (or the industrial synthetic equivalent thereof), and even Marc is okay with it up to a point. It's sleeping under one that drives him batty.
You see, the problem with a duvet is that it's all one piece, and because hotels are increasingly opting to forgo an additional top sheet, this means you either have to slumber underneath a massive mound of heavy, decadent, over-the-top bedding, or else throw it completely off, thus leaving yourself bare and shivering through the rest of the night. Personally, I'm okay with all that excess covering. My husband, on the other hand, being a rather hot-natured fellow, is not – which explains why each and every night while he is on the road, I receive late-breaking texts back home just before going to bed that simply read: "Another stinkin' duvet!”
Not long ago Marc and I were joking around, and in typical fashion the topic of our conversation turned to ways we could really torture each other. (I wonder what this says about us.) Anyway, we decided the best way would be for each of us to bury the other with something they hate, thus forcing them to spend eternity with whatever item that happened to be.
In my case, the fact that I can't sleep whenever there's a tiny light from a power strip or an electronic device visible in the room (my bedtime ritual involves systematically placing socks over any and all such illuminations); coupled with my intense loathing of saxophone music (to me it sounds like someone slowly pinching the air out of a balloon) led Marc to declare that he'd install a single bright green, slightly strobing light in my coffin, along with a piped-in continuous loop of Kenny G's greatest hits.
I fired back that I'd make sure he went through the afterlife staring up at a TV screen airing nonstop cooking shows and romantic comedies, while securely wrapped in (you guessed it) a duvet.
As for Prince Phillip, I can't quite see him playing such a game with Queen Elizabeth. Oh sure, he might good-naturedly wink and tell her he's decided to erect a giant bronze statue of her in the middle of Trafalgar Square wearing nothing but a halter top and Spanx. But knowing her she'd probably just fix him with that cool, steely, prim glare of hers and reply, "We are not amused.”
Well, "they” may not be amused at such a thought, but you can bet I certainly am.