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“Don’t do it,” she murmured, as she cast a quick glance at the closed bathroom door.
I looked at her, confused, and took in her anxious expression. “What? Why not?”
“Because,” she said as the toilet flushed. “Ikea is where relationships go to die.”
It had been a perfectly normal evening up until then. I was at my friend’s house, drinking a bottle of wine each and stuffing our faces with pizza as her boyfriend played video games and chatted with us. We were all a little full and a little tipsy and it was getting to that part of the evening where all of our clothes come off and we started fucking each other. She slowly crawled toward me, a fire in her eyes, as her ample cleavage spilled out over the top of her form-fitting tank top. Reaching forward, she tucked a strand of hair behind my ear before leaning into me and planting her juicy lips on my —
Oh, wait. Sorry. Wrong story. My bad. I meant to say, it was getting to the part of the evening where they hinted that it was time for me to leave and I tried to bribe my Uber driver to stop for food because three slices aren’t enough when you’re loaded. So, in passing, when her boyfriend went to use the bathroom and she not-so-subtly glanced at the clock, she had asked what my plan was for the rest of the weekend as a conversation filler.
“We’ll probably go to Ikea,” I said, reaching for my purse and pulling up the Uber app. “We need a new table and some rugs, and neither of us have ever been there, actually.”
It was a totally normal, boring response that, in a normal world, would have gotten me out of the door and in Taco Bell’s drive-thru five minutes later. But dumb, drunk me thought that going to Ikea was fine. Lame. Just a thing couples did once they moved in together and started fighting about who should be in charge of cleaning the counters. But it turns out I was dead fucking wrong.
It turns out, Ikea ruins relationships, and I absolutely blame 500 Days of Summer.
My friend quickly informed me in hushed whispers as her boyfriend wiped his ass fifteen feet away, that Ikea was, in fact, a torture chamber for couples. You have to navigate through a maze-like structure that taunts you with farm tables and Instagram-worthy desks you not only can’t afford, but that would never fit in your 500 square foot studio. Then, on top of that, you both end up arguing about which wood stain you like better, which bookshelf doesn’t make you look like try-hard hipsters, and why the other person doesn’t love you and respect your opinions. Then, the next thing you know, she’s crying, he’s mad and getting meatballs, and you don’t talk to each other the entire ride home.
And after talking to every other couple I know, it turns out this isn’t an isolated event. This *is* the event. And if you make it out of there alive, that’s just base camp. Then you have to get it inside your place, set it up, hope it doesn’t break, and pray they don’t hold the fact that you got the white table instead of the black one against you for as long as you’re together.
It’s a lose-lose-fucking-die-then-lose-situation and it’s all Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s faults.
You see, in the movie (which is easily the best breakup movie of all time. Don’t @ me. I don’t care.), two of the cutest people who have ever graced the Earth go to Ikea twice. And those two times, those two scenes, are what set us up for failure.
In The Good Scene, you see them laughing in the kitchen as Summer (Zooey) pretends to cook Bald Eagle in the oven (romantic, right?) and running through the store giggling only to end up making out on a plush bed. An Asian family is watching them but they. do. not. care. because they having too much fun being young and in love-ish. Then basically the next scene, they’re having shower sex.
So must of us watch that and subconsciously think, shit, that’s what it’ll be like when we go to Ikea. We’ll lay on a bed and romantically kiss even though we both actually hate PDA. And then when we get home, we’ll have shower sex. Even though both of us HATE shower sex!
It’s what everyone expects when they wander those sacred halls. But then, when you find yourself arguing about curtains or ignoring each other because he said he doesn’t want his and hers sinks someday (seriously, that’s insane), you think of The Bad Scene. The scene when their relationship has run its course, and you know the big breakup is right around the corner. He tries to make her laugh, but she walks off annoyed and sad, disgruntled at being dragged there. Upset that he’s trying to fix something that is obviously broken. Looking at that scene and seeing the pain we experience shopping for home goods as a couple, you can’t help but think: Our relationship is horrible, it’s going to end, and I’ll most likely die alone.
And it’s all because Summer was a fucking bitch and didn’t end up with Tom.*
So, to this day, I still don’t have a dining room table or a rug. Because if I’ve learned anything from my friends, it’s that the best way to start an orgy is to eat three greasy slices of pizza and down a bottle of wine. I mean, Ikea will ruin any hope you had of finding happiness and sharing a life with someone, and maybe it’s worth having dirty floors if it means waking up next to someone wonderful..
*I actually think the ending of the movie was great, and they really shouldn’t have been together for the long haul. Besides, it’s the perfect movie when you need to cry your guts out while also feeling slightly attracted to the main characters.
Image via YouTube