A Bad Idea that Luckily Never Quite Caught On

No Telling

“Because everything in her home is waterproof, the housewife of 2000 can do her daily cleaning with a hose.” – via Foresight Culture, Popular Mechanics 1950

Does anyone remember Naugahyde? My mother had a harvest-gold couch covered in the stuff and it remained indestructible until we yard-saled it sometime in the late 70s. It was impervious to spills and stains. It stuck hermetically to the backs of our legs so that rising from the nauga-couch in the summer snatched off a layer of skin. It was almost atomic and just about the grooviest piece of furniture my mother ever vacuumed under.

I even had a Nauga-monster, which the company still makes. I’m not sure why I had one, and I’m truly confused why anyone wants one now. They’re cold and uncozy until they warm up near you and become That Doll You Peel Off of Your Face.

Wistful memories aside, I’m not ready to go nauga-retro just to ward off an errant stain or two. Besides, there’s no built-in storm-drain in my living room floor. Not that it wouldn’t be handy.

I’m also not a housewife, so there’s that. Even if I were a housewife, I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable about spraying water willy-nilly from a garden hose all over my living room. The ad-men on this little project must have imagined a bookless, magazineless, clothless world. Great in theory, but not in any house I’ve ever lived in.

I won’t even talk about what a cleaning ritual like that would do to a hair-do that took two hours once a week at the local beauty shop, and was meant to last from one visit to the next. There’s not enough Aquanet in the whole world to make that right.

Of course, she’s smiling. Since those were the days before anti-depressants became all the rage, I’m putting my money on Valium or one of its cousins as Mother’s Little Helper. Anyone want to hazard a guess?

28 thoughts on “A Bad Idea that Luckily Never Quite Caught On

  1. Oh goodness haha. I am a child of the 80's so I never really experienced being stuck to a couch or any piece of furniture for that matter, unless you count white vinyl seats in a ridiculous purple car my family used to have.

    The thought of hosing down my living room seems very strange to me, and rather inconvenient. It's one thing to clean it, but quite another waiting for it to dry. I'm glad this never caught on.

  2. We may have had the matching mustard gold side chairs to go with your mother's couch. I'm sure when the upholsterer redid those Nauga-hyde chairs for me by the early 80s he found a few layers of skin in the cracks. Ummm . . . ewwwww. Great memories. πŸ™‚ M

  3. You just made me think of the late, great, Warren Zevon – “I got a part time job at my father's carpet store, laying tackless stripping, and housewives by the score, I loaded up their furniture, and took it to Spokane, and auctioned off every last naugahyde divan… ” from 'Mr Bad Example'. Wonderful music & fantastic images to go with it! Thanks!

  4. Would come in handy if you were having lots of sex on the couch! lol

    I remember that horrible leg sticking furniture. Just the thought makes me squirm in my seat!

  5. Wow, Sandra. A purple car with white vinyl seats beat a Naugahyde couch any day.

    Oh the chairs, Amuse Me! Bless your heart, because if your legs were covered, you could slide right off those chairs without any warning at all. And the sound they made when you sat down in them…there's that.

    5thsister, I hope that particular apron was waterproof or the whole hosing-down-the-couch enterprise was pointless. My favorites were the “dinner party hostess” aprons – nothing utilitarian about those frilly things.

    Isabella, Thank YOU for reminding me of Zevon! God, that was a great song. There's a crew trying to get him inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    Oh dear, Otin. Still not worth the trouble, I'm afriad.

    Did anyone else notice the floor lamp and wonder about electrocution?

  6. Me! I did! (Waving my hand here!) I thought about all the stuff plugged in. Uh, hello? Seriously?

    I can honestly say that I never saw nor owned a nauga-monster doll. Scary. Looks like I didn't miss much. πŸ™‚

  7. Hell, if it meant I could clean with a water hose, I'd build the floor drain, but I'm not quite sure how to waterproof my zillions of books in every room. Guess my house will have to stay dusty instead of just-hosed-off-sparkly-clean.

    My number one item on the Lotto/PowerBall list: a maid, a laundress, a cook (oops, married one, can take that off the list), a dishwasher – in short, a wife. *g* You know, one of those smiling, cleaning wives from your picture. I'll supply all the Mother's Little Helpers she needs πŸ™‚

  8. Don't worry about that hairstyle. In the year 2000, even hair will be waterproof!

    Oh…wait. No, that wouldn't work.

    My great-aunt still has her sofa and loveseat covered in plastic. I think I split one of the seams last time I was there. Shhh.

  9. Thank you, Pat. I began worrying about that woman's safety with all those plug-ins and such. Water hoses and electrical wiring don't mix.

    Was it a shag carpet, Serious Replies? Because that's what I'm thinking.

    GunDiva, we begin our lottery here in Arkansas for the first time this month. You and I seem to have the same wishlist.

    I know those women, Calamity and Saphron. Bless their hearts. And bless yours, Saphron, because clearly you're going to hell for messing up the plastic covers. I'll never tell.

  10. The only way the couch I am sitting on could be any better is if it were Naugahyde. My grandparents actually still have the naugahyde recliner in their living room and I don't know whether to be apalled or thrilled.

    They also said we would have flying cars that don't run on gas. Monda, where is my no-gas flying car, cuz this current one with wheels and like a gas motor and shit needs its oil changed and a bunch of other stuff? I are not amuse.

  11. She DOES look a little pinched, Robin. Something in me wants to fix her a sandwich.

    If anyone in the whole world needs a Nauga-monster it's you, Julia. And I'm a little pissed about the Jetson's promise of flying cars and robotic maids myself.

    There you go, Jennifer. Poetically said.

  12. I can't remember for sure, but I believe I, too, was once harmed by naugahyde. Because of that vague memory alone, I'll not be garage-selling my fabric couch anytime soon. But I'll take that floor drain from the picture and put it in my kitchen , thank you very much. I'd truly love to be able to hose down my kitchen. It's one of my dreams.

  13. That sounds so groovy, Emmy!

    MJ, the kitchen AND the bathrooms. Drains in the floor and spigots in the ceiling – that way we'd just flip a switch on our way out and, voila.

  14. I laughed and nearly cried while reading this post. I was raised in Naugahyde Land! We had the matching piece to anything that anyone could have had or thought possible! Why? My family was in the Upholstery business and Mother thought “Nauga” was the best thing created. It was like living on fly tape, OK maybe not that bad, or as I called it peel-n-stick furniture. She liked it so much she made a book “sack” for me out of it and it's still in perfect condition 29 years later. Dad even made furniture for my dolls with it! A little black couch I'll never forget! I wish I still had it. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  15. Boyles, I hear you. It's like the road dust just hangs in the air until it gathers the strength to pour into open doors. I've done a little country-time myself.

    Naugahyde is forever, JJ. You can't kill it. You've GOT to post a picture of that book sack somewhere.

  16. Gin. She' high on gin, sister.
    Our family had an olive green naugahide couch in the 60s. You and I need to compare scares on the back of our legs.

    When deciding on flooring for my home, I tried to convince my husband that polished concrete with drains was exactly my dream home. That picture could have been me; but husband couldn't be persuaded.

  17. Nathanael, if you ever quit posting or commenting entirely I'll never get a wink of sleep from the worry. My heart is heavy thinking of you over there soldiering.

    Watch those throw pillows, Deedee.

    I don't know, Maybelline. She looks to me like the kind of girl who'd drink a Grasshopper at The Club. I could be wrong. And let me warn you about that polished concrete – everything that falls, breaks. That includes dinner guests.

  18. Thank you so much for posting this! I just had a flashback to spending weekends curled up on my Nana's indestructible avocado green Naugahyde recliner with her multicolored afghan, watching my uncle's collection of beta max Disney Classics and eating Lucky Charms out of one of Nana's many Cool Whip bowls. Ahhh, memories.

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