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Bordello Chair

November 21, 2014

This is the history of a chair, nothing as important as a throne or relic, but it has been in the Chatterbox household for forty years—our so-called bordello chair.


Mrs. Chatterbox and I had only been married a few years when a really stupid idea crossed our minds, the type of idea that’s fodder for TV sitcoms—we decided to move into my parents’ unused lanai. (An enclosed patio with a kitchenette and bathroom.) We figured that saving rent for a year would give us enough money for a down payment on a house.


My parents agreed to let us move in, but Mrs. Chatterbox had yet to experience prolonged exposure to my opinionated mother, and we quickly learned we’d made a dreadful mistake. Fallout from Mom’s constant advice soon had an unpleasant effect on my bride, but we were broke, having spent what little money we had moving into the lanai. We had to wait a few months before we could afford moving back into an apartment. An old chair had been left in the lanai by previous owners and my parents had long planned on getting rid of it. I vented my frustration at once again living under my parents’ roof by stripping the chair of its many layers of black paint, refinishing it to highlight the natural rattan.


Flash forward thirty years and we still had the chair, with its original dingy green corduroy cushions. The green didn’t blend with our current décor, but I was unwilling to get rid of the chair after all those years and decided to have it reupholstered. I asked Mrs. C. to help me select material.


“Nope, it’s your chair, so you pick something,” she said.


We’d selected fabrics before, but no matter how hard we tried, we were never comfortable picking bold materials or patterns. We were like Mr. and Mrs. Yogi Bear living in a hollow tree—everything brown. Time had come to go wild. I decided on a leopard print.


When I mentioned this to Mrs. C. she said, “Do you really want this chair to look like something Peg Bundy would sit on in Married With Children?”


Well, she had me there. But I stuck with my plan anyway.


It was a cold day when I ventured to the fabric store, where I was the only guy among a dozen female shoppers. I asked the salesperson to direct me to animal prints, and before long I was confronted with a dozen patterns and textures. Soon, I attracted the attention of the other shoppers; I had on my black leather jacket and must have looked like a chubby reject from Sons of Anarchy. I lined up the ladies and asked them to vote on which leopard pattern looked the most authentic. After lengthy deliberation—and a tie vote—I made my decision and drove fabric and cushions to an upholstery shop.


A week later I brought home the cushions, and was less than pleased with the result. The material didn’t look like authentic leopard skin to me; the spots were too even, the waves of color too uniform. I asked our son CJ what he thought.            


He said, “Dad, do you really want people to think you care so little about an endangered species that you’d use its skin to cover your chair?”


Well, he had me there.


Since then, the chair has rarely been sat on. But when CJ was in college and he and his buddy Mike would visit, Mike would drop on the chair and smile. Mike is married now, and his wife has seen the chair. She doesn’t appear to share her husband’s appreciation for it.


I once asked, “Mike, why do you like this chair so much?”


He grinned at me. “I like the way it looks, and it feels good when I sit on it.”


A fine answer, had he stopped there. Instead he added, “Besides, it’s a bordello chair.”


I was appalled, and could have handled him saying it looked like it belonged at Graceland in Elvis’ jungle room, but a bordello? “It doesn’t look anything like a bordello chair!”


“Are you sure?” he countered, with a knowledgeable wink. “Have you ever been inside a bordello?”


Well, he had me there.


I’ve made a provision in my will: if anything happens to me, Mike gets the chair. 




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A great tale, it seemed to have a few "Well he had me there" in it which made me laugh. How we see something one way and then the rest of the world sees it differently......:)
By: John on November 21, 2014
wow, kudos for slipping in two katey sagal references in one post! :)
By: TexWisGirl on November 21, 2014
Did Mike have first-hand knowledge of what a bordello chair looks like?
By: fishducky on November 21, 2014
I see it a s a throne for an African King. Just picture James Earl Jones in a lion skin ala "Coming to America." Funny story.
By: Cranky on November 21, 2014
An entertaining story.. as yours always are. Lucky CJ!.. :)
By: Hilary on November 21, 2014
Great one, as usual. I can honestly say that I don't know what a bordello chair looks like, either. I suppose they have chairs as well as - other things...
By: Mike@A Bit About Britain on November 21, 2014
I like Mike! And I like your chair, spots and all. Great story.
By: Bouncin Barb on November 21, 2014
I love that chair! If Mike doesn't want it, I'll take it! (May have to sneak it past SWMBO though.)
By: Catalyst on November 21, 2014
Bordello chair? I'm stumped, too. That's a place I've never been. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on November 21, 2014
well now....."if anything happens to you- Mike gets the chair" Almost sounds like the "electric chair" I am laughing my spots off .....
By: Kathe W. on November 21, 2014
Ha! Very funny. It so happens that I'm in the market for a chair...
By: The Bug on November 21, 2014
Do bordellos even have chairs? Actually, I really like it. I must have Peg Bundy taste.
By: Akansas Patti on November 21, 2014
So sorry for sounding critical, but you left out the part about what CJ answered when you asked him if he had ever been inside of a bordello. Fishducky and I would like to know.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on November 21, 2014
Answering as you did about the bordello was the only smart way to do so. So much for the public record then. Now about that chair. It's a great looking chair, marvelous conversation piece and it gives you a legitimate entre to ponder how it might be used in bordello fashion.
By: Tom Cochrun on November 21, 2014
While i'm not sure what a bordello chair should look like, i know my mother loves animal print, and she would probably love that chair. Now i'm going to be wondering what that says about her!
By: messymimi on November 21, 2014
You are the man! I think you ought to get a custom boudaire styled undies in a leopard print. I love the chair.
By: Dan on November 21, 2014
"Chubby's house has our chair in it!" Sung by the original cast of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
By: Val on November 21, 2014
I like your chair. the fabric goes with the chair. Mike's pretty lucky to get this chair.
By: red on November 21, 2014
I love this chair! It's a classic. Ahhhh if only chairs could talkâ¦.I'm sure this one has some interesting stories.
By: Marcia @ Menopausal Mother on November 21, 2014
The chair is beautiful, the print makes it so. I bet Mike doesn't know anything about bordellos.
By: Madeleine McLaughlin on November 22, 2014
I'm with Cranky ...go with the African throne approach. Will be worth lots of money!
By: tom sightings on November 22, 2014
I love the chair! It's not a bordello chair - it's a resort chair, but usually the cushions are covered with white canvas. I've seen thousands of them; they're in every resort, hotel and patio restaurant on the Red Sea.
By: Lexa Cain on November 22, 2014
I like the chair! But I'm guessing that episode of living in your parents' lanai was like "Everybody Loves Raymond."
By: Pixel Peeper on November 22, 2014
Hey, I was always smitten with Peg Bundy. My kinda :)
By: Scott Park on November 23, 2014
*That was actually a line from a favorite episode of Friends. ;)
By: Scott Park on November 23, 2014
That'll teach Mike for making a comment so...accurate.
By: Robyn Engel on November 23, 2014
When I get a good look at the chair it does look sturdy. There, I found something nice to say about it.
By: CiCi on November 23, 2014
Has MIKE ever been inside a bordello?
By: Mitchell is Moving on November 24, 2014
I like it - but, then again, I've never had good taste! And our family members always display an uncanny knack of "having us there".
By: Bryan Jones on November 25, 2014
Stephen: It sounds as if we've both taken the tour at Graceland. I've seen the Jungle Room too!
By: Michael Manning on November 25, 2014

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