Pillow Fights or Pillow Talk?

My Queendom for a Good Night's Sleep

Pillow fight or pillow talk

Remember when you were a kid and pillow fights were fun? Remember when decorative pillows were piled mile-high on your bed just “for show?” Well, these days my pillows and I aren’t even on speaking, no less sleeping terms!

It started months before COVID quarantining. So, I cannot blame my pillow pain on the pandemic, although I blame most everything else on corona or family dog, Olga.

I needed a new pillow. Mine, after years of loyal head-resting service had gone flat. I ran into Target, and like Robin Williams in the movie Moscow on the Hudson, I was instantly overwhelmed at the multitude of choices. Foam! Gel-filled! Polyester! Good for side-sleepers! Back-sleepers! Stomach-sleepers! Good for side-sleepers AND back-sleepers!!!

So many choices! So many exclamation marks! It was enough to cause insomnia.

Pillow Fight: Round One

Remember when buying pillows was easy? They used to come in just two sizes, standard and king. Now they also come in queen and full-body sizes. They used to come in just two fillings, feathers and something non-feathered (I forget what.) That was it.

Yes, back then, life and shopping were easy. Of course, back then, when we were younger, even falling — and staying — asleep was easier.

And today’s prices? Yeeks! I swear the last pillow I bought could not have cost more than $15. Yet that day in Target I was looking at prices of upwards of $168! Why I could buy a mattress for the price of a couple of these pricy pillows.

My weary, sleep-deprived head spinning, I grabbed a cheap pillow, paid for it, and sped home. I tried to nap but couldn’t. The pillow wasn’t comfortable. Sadly, it was too plush (or my head and neck too puny). I tried and tried for three sleepless nights. Then, exhausted, I gave up and returned it.

Pillow Fight: Round Two

On my second shopping foray, I was armed for battle. I had done my research. I had read a dozen articles with titles like “10 Best Pillows of 2021, According to Bedding Experts” and “Best Pillows from Consumer Reports’ Tests.”

Yes, this time I would not be undone by overwhelming options on fill, firmness, size, and well, whatever voluminous verbiage manufacturers would pillow toss my way.

Yes, I had my fill of research on “fill.” I knew all about foam, gel, and even buckwheat — which is a handy option for late-night snackers. If you get hungry, no need to stumble to the kitchen, just bite open your pillow and take a nibble!

I admit I wasn’t 100% clear on the subjective nature of “plush,” “deep plush,” “dense,” “fluffy,” and “plump” but still I felt reasonably comfortable that I — a woman who once had advised a Secretary of State about U.S.-Soviet relations — could select a pillow.

Anyway, after pacing back and forth for 57 minutes in the Target pillow section, I finally made my choice.

Pillow Fight Pain

Two neck-racking nights and one emergency visit to the chiropractor later, I accepted the obvious: I had made my second pillow purchase mistake. But by then California’s shelter-in-place order had been issued. And ever since then, I’ve been ordering pillows — so many pillows — online and returning them.

By this time, it’s fair to say I’ve spent more time researching pillows than I did selecting my mate! Honestly, I don’t know how I did so well with my marriage. Blessed Beginner’s Luck I guess.

And regarding this infernal pillow quest, I have three fears:

  1.  I’ll never find a comfortable (or even tolerable) pillow which means
  2. I’ll never get a good night’s sleep ever again in my life, and
  3. Amazon will finally lose patience with me and ban me from the shopping site because of my excessive returns.

Amazonian Nightmares

And speaking of those Amazon returns, have you ever tried to return a memory foam pillow? Well, good luck to you!

A memory foam pillow arrives all cute and neatly compressed in an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny box. You open the box up and out pops the pillow like a non-scary Jack-in-the-Box. Then, over 24 hours — like magic — the pillow decompresses even more.

Unfortunately, to return it, you need the patience of Job and the strength of Hercules to wedge it back into that same itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny box.

I once tried compressing a memory foam pillow back into the original box. It was more twisty and painful than squeezing myself into Spanx after a holiday eating spree!

Now, after almost a year of striking out with big plush pillows, I’m going small. Tonight, I’m trying out a three-inch deep memory foam pillow. I think this narrow pillow is actually sized for a child. But my aching neck is begging for relief.

Throwing in the Towel

Meanwhile, as I daydream of that perfect comfy pillow, each night I lay me down to rest on a rolled-up white towel I stole (I mean borrowed) from the gym. It’s sorta comfortable, although unfortunately, it doesn’t hold its rolled-up shape throughout the night. I’ve tried using ribbon to keep it together, but the ribbon bunches up, leaving ridges in my side-sleeping cheeks.

Still, the towel is my best option so far. It’s obviously not chic, it’s not good for pillow fights, and it certainly isn’t much “for show.” However, it is a breeze for cleaning — and no ironing is required. So, that’s a double plus!

Yours in aching shoulders, a pinched neck, headaches, and muddled sleepless despair!


🛌 🛌 🛌

PHOTO CREDIT: TIME 100 Photographs The Most Influential Images of All Time


4 replies
  1. Judy Keele
    Judy Keele says:

    You’ve got me laughing again Karen! And please don’t give up! I’m suffering your same muddling mess!!! Just this morning I was having pillow talk with my pillow – and it wasn’t sexy! I was punching it – mulling and muddling over the fact that my poor nights sleep, was yet again, my pillow! And I’m terrible at returns so my closet is full of one night stands!!! Please, don’t give up your quest! When you find the perfect pillow-not towel-that didn’t work for me-please print it – publish it – let the whole world know about it. I’ll be waiting, watching, and reading for your miraculous pillow find. Muddlers need you!

    • Karen Galatz
      Karen Galatz says:

      Oh, my! A one-night stand. How could I have missed an opportunity to use that line? Curses. You are so clever! Beat me to the (pillow) punch! And yes, I will definitely share with you any news of pillow perfection … if I ever I find it. I’m actually amazed stores accept returns. I hope they burn them when they get them back and don’t resell them. Gross! ‘Til then, we dream – or try – to dream on.

  2. Andrea Serra
    Andrea Serra says:

    A physical therapist once gave me the secret to a great neck support and lo and behold it was the cheapest pillow IKEA sells because you can scrunch it up under your neck and then you get a second one to rest your head on. It works great!


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