I am a heterosexual male in my mid-thirties. I like sports, prefer jeans and T-shirts, love junk food and harbor a secret desire to own a John Deere Gator for no other reason than to drive it in circles around my backyard. I am a guy, yet I couldn’t wait to read the brand new IKEA catalog.

But why? The catalog is nothing special. It’s like any Sears catalog you might see. Yet it is read and swooned over and passed around like it contained the meaning of life. I don’t get it.

IKEA’s general ad campaigns are unique. Once, they had a Manhattan billboard displaying a 600 sq. ft. IKEA home, with actual furniture glued on at a 90 degree angle. Others use humor, like the ad showing an old lamp tossed in the trash. We are made to feel sadness for such an unfair turn of events, just before an appropriately ethnic Swedish voice lambastes us for feeling anything at all. “It’s just lamp, it has no feelings, buy a new one, they are better anyway.” The list goes on.

But these ads are not in the catalog, and I can’t say they ever drew me to the store anyway. Truth is, I don’t really know why I love visiting a home furnishings superstore.

I know, I know. There’s no shame in loving IKEA. But somewhere deep inside my man parts I resent the fact that I know the difference between a duvet and a blanket or that I own drinking glasses dedicated to water while others exist solely to contain red wine. Periwinkle should be the name of Snow White’s eighth dwarf, not a color. Just knowing such things somehow makes me feel less masculine.

I think it is the IKEA store itself that seduces you. The catalog is simply a reminder of your first date. Their whole store concept is built on instant gratification. Wander a progressive yellow brick road-like path through sample homes of all shapes and sizes, decorated with each brilliant IKEA idea triumphant in its natural habitat. Come to the end of the journey and load up on ingeniously flat-packed furniture boxes. Grab some handy-dandy free roof racks and strap the whole kit and kaboodle to the top of your car and drive your lifestyle-obsessed butt home, scant moments away from experiencing in your home what you felt at IKEA. .

Well, almost.

I would be remiss at this point not to address the issue of assembly. IKEA does a lot of work to make their furniture easy to put together and I’m sure laid against the detailed how-to instructions for building the international space station they are comparatively easy. However, I have experienced some frustration assembling IKEA furniture.

Okay, I’ve had nightmares that involve giant Alan keys and press-board prisons.

Even still, I sleep on a MALM, supported by a SULTAN and covered by a THISTED. I eat breakfast on ARV, read by the light of a LERSTA, store books on an AGERUM and have knick-knacks resting on a BONDE while I watch my youngest play with a KORALL. Maybe they spike the Lingonberry juice or something.

No, it’s definitely not the ads. It’s the store. The store IS the ad. Like a secret cult, one wanders innocently through their front doors, devoid of fear and lacking understanding of, literally, what’s in store. It only took once and I was addicted. Now, I must have vibrant color, cutting edge design and European functionality in my life. Does this make me less of a man? I hope not. Those IKEA meatballs sort of count as junk food, don’t they?

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