Since reading Anna Hezel’s essay about West Elm’s Peggy couch on The Awl last week, it’s been eating at my brain like a deadly lake-dwelling amoeba with a lengthy incubation period, or a weeks-long headache you ignore because you don’t want the doctor to tell you it’s cancer. Anna bought the Peggy sofa and hated it. I bought the Peggy sofa and think it’s fine. Or do I?
Much like Hezel and her boyfriend (whom, for the sake of full disclosure, I know), my partner and I purchased the Peggy sofa some time after moving into our first apartment together. A friend had one, and though she warned us about the threat of popped buttons, convinced us they weren’t a huge problem. (She reattached hers!) Peggy was comfortable enough. Peggy was the right size. Peggy was priced to own. So, in April 2015, we bought her. And for almost two happy years, we’ve enjoyed sitting on and looking at her. Peggy was a wonderful addition to our home. I loved her. Until now.
Hezel’s essay—and the rabbit hole of Instagram comments from other furious Peggy owners—has made me question everything I thought I appreciated about the Peggy, and I’ve had a hard time looking at her the same light over the past few days. Her color (a muted mint green) has faded. And even though none of the buttons have popped in some 22 months, they now feel like aging, unexploded bombs, capable of bursting off the cushions at any moment, with any poorly calculated scoot. What I’m trying to say is that I have sofa dysmorphia.
Peggy has never done me wrong, but I suddenly expect her to fail me. The crimes she’s committed against others have tainted her otherwise blemish-free image so greatly that West Elm has decided to remove her from their stores. She is no better than her button-free stepsister, or evil red cousin who collapsed at Hezel’s New Year’s Eve party.
Have you seen the movie A Perfect Murder? It’s about a very rich Manhattanite (Michael Douglas) who hires a man to kill his wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) after learning she’s been having an affair. Paltrow survives the hitman’s attack, and immediately begins to suspect Douglas—who pretends to be completely innocent—was responsible. She’s right, of course, but plays dumb until figuring out that he knows that she knows. “That’s not happiness to see me, is it,” he asks the woman he once tried to have murdered. Lately, Peggy has been whispering the same thing.
Peggy. Oh, Peggy! You used to be fine, and now I fear you.
NOTE: Soon after writing this post, West Elm announced it would be offering full refunds and replacements to anyone who purchased a Peggy sofa after July 2014.