Following the success of their holding room for actual children, Ikea has begun testing a new thing called “Mänland” on the good people of Sydney, Australia. Because men are whiny babies who lose their shit if you make them go shopping with you for half an hour, their reasoning goes, it’s better for everyone involved to just leave them somewhere with lad mags and video games, and pick them up when you’re done. Ignoring for a second how heteronormative this is (gay people need cheaply constructed futons, too!), it’s also downright impractical. Some of those flärkes are really heavy! Do they seriously expect me to lift them into my basket using only my weak, tiny girl arms?
Here’s the deal: nobody likes going to Ikea. Not even the dumb, stereotypical women of popular imagination. Stop trying to make up stereotypes, Ikea. There is an overwhelming sense of chilly Nordic dread that hits every man, woman and child the second he or she passes through those automatic doors, and everyone knows it. It takes at least half an hour to find what you need, and another half an hour to find your way out again, so all told, it’s a guaranteed Hour of Dread if you’re lucky. But we go there anyway, because we’re not ready to sleep on the floor like animals, and Raymour and Flanigan is a bit rich for our blood. Even if you couldn’t care less what kinds of smoops adorn your living room, you are sort of obligated to tough it out with whomever you share a domicile with in an unspoken dual shouldering of the burden, because that’s what people do when they don’t want to hate each other.
Mänland threatens to throw this sacred bargain all out of whack. I suspect it’s really just a sneaky way of trying to convince us women that we love shopping for desks, when we all know we’d rather be shopping for bras or tampons or other womanly goods. Nice try, guys. Maybe next time you attempt to trick people into thinking that Ikea is a fun place to go, try it with more miniature meatballs and less sexism.