Hey Remember Waterbeds!

When was the last time you saw a waterbed? This was a quitessestial 70’s/80’s must. I haven’t even seen one in years. Our dad and step mom were swept up in a wave of this fad and overnight we all went from having normal beds to these sloshing things. It was a crazy time, baby boomers were coming out of the 70’s and starting to make real money, and what else finishes off your 80’s lifestyle in addition to the chrome and the arena rock; you needed a 500 gallon heated balloon to sleep on.

For those of you not born before 1990 you may have never slept in one of these womb simulators and that is your loss. Just like I will never see a Led Zepplin concert, you may never sleep in a waterbed, or as they were named by the designer in 1971 “The Pleasure Pit”.

The experience of getting a waterbed began with filling it with water. You hooked up a garden hose to a special adapter and turned it on. Then standard practice was to go watch TV and eat a sandwich while you waited for hours for the thing to fill. Then you would forget about it until a nagging feeling in the back of your head caused you to rush into your bedroom to be confronted by a giant blue water balloon. If you never got the nagging feeling the rush of water told you to call your insurance guy.

Waterbeds had personalities and foibles all their own. They are super snugly on a cold night, climbing into them was a pleasure, the trick was climbing back out. The comfort level could be adjusted by the amount of water in the thing. From kinda springy to womb like entombment. Additional people also changed the character and they are not as easy to “get busy” in as one might think. That took practice to master. It was always comical to see a naked struggling person trying to escape the clutches of “the pleasure pit” Finally if you had a spat with your bed buddy and wanted to give them the cold shoulder… good luck, waterbeds force you to spoon.

A fun fact, waterbeds are also surrounded by a sort of vortex that was constantly sucking things into them. When you jumped into a water bed with any enthusiasm the giant bag would slosh and distort briefly creating a momentary gap along the sides where stuff got sucked in and then trapped. Mine ate my wallet and Walkman on a regular basis, it also liked to absorb the cordless phone. One of our cats found out the hard way about the vortex and spent a good half hour trapped by my water bed until I took off my headphones and heard her muffled mews.


Then one day suddenly as the beds arrived, they became uncool and poof.  I was the last to let mine go. I miss it, I don’t care if they were terrible for you. I’m not even sure they are bad for you, I think that maybe was the reason our folks gave us for suddenly removing them as quickly as they arrived. The real reason was probably the electric bill.

10 thoughts on “Hey Remember Waterbeds!

  1. I used to leave mine cranked up all week, so it’d be warm and toasty when I arrived at Dad’s for the weekend. They probably wondered why the hell the heating bill was so high when they never even turned on the heat. Seriously, I couldn’t zip my frozen pants on in the morning unless I slept with them in my bed the night before.

  2. I never had a water bed. I think I sat on one a couple of times, but I think it was the cheap version because my ass could feel the bottom of it. I get what you mean about the wombness of them though. When I lay back in it I felt enveloped and at the same time it was as if I were at sea. Kinda a bizarre experience for me. I don’t know how I would have gone sleeping on it, but then I love the ocean so maybe we could have worked out 🙂

  3. My husband and i bought ours in our first year together. The only problem was that, 1. It was a California King and wouldn’t fit in our bedroom and 2. It didn’t have a heater. We were young and creative so we decided that it would be cool to have it in our living room. Who needs couches anyway? As for the coldness factor- laying blankets on it helped some. After having to be bounced to get my huge pregnant self out of bed and then fearing for our babies life when she layed with us, we sold it. It served us well and it gave us some good and funny memories

  4. Pingback: The Battle of Midway | Milk & Whiskey

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