Am I a millennial? (1) The Top Sheet Test

I am embarrassed to admit how often I have had the conversation with people about whether or not I am a millennial. It probably comes across as though I am desperate to have a generation label or feel lost as a person born in the precarious year of 1980. I have also argued multiple times that yes, I’m a millennial; no, there’s no way I’m a millennial; no, I’m in a super special set of time that doesn’t have a label; or yes, I’m a millennial, but I’m not a Capital M Millennial (as though anyone has a clue what that is and is not something I just made up spontaneously one day).

I blame a couple of things for my slight obsession with this issue. First off, I’ve worked for a couple of big employers most of my life (Mayo and the State of Minnesota) and for much of that time, I’ve been forced to go to “retreats” where we learn about “diversity” but since we don’t want to offend anyone by talking about something controversial, we’re going to talk about generational differences! (Or personality types. I’ve taken the MBTI so many times that I switched from an F to a T mostly because I think I was annoyed taking the test so I was like “Hell no, I don’t use feelings to make decisions” even if that is not true.) The point is that “generations” has been a consistent topic of discussion in my life since I was 22 years old.

Can we take just a moment to laugh at the multi million dollar industry that Boomers and Gen Xers created for themselves by demonizing the hell out of people born in an approximate 17-year window? Go to Amazon. Type in “millennial” and peruse that list. There are COOKBOOKS aimed at millennials as though we/they EAT like aliens. It is an incredible feat these people pulled off to make just a shit ton of money.

Anyway, that’s not what this series of posts is about. This is all about me (because it’s my blog and because I am bored). So we’re going to play the stereotype game and I can decide once and for all what I’m going to consider myself. I was going to do all the stereotypes at once, but then… Well. Then the “Top Sheet” phenomenon showed up.


Before we begin, please take two minutes of your life and watch this video. There is a lot to unpack in this and we’re going to unpack all of it to uncover this very odd yet amazingly consistent thing among many of the millennial friends I have (and The Millennial herself, which I really and truly thought was just a quirk but apparently, it is a generational-defined belief). (I know this because of one Facebook question and a conversation with three or four of them so obviously it is totally true.) Anyway, let’s begin…

Fox News is, of course, the one who unearthed this hard-hitting news story. So they begin by asking people on the street about the “top sheet” and one person says, “No, I’m not [currently sleeping with a top sheet] because it gets all jumbled in the legs.” Okay, yes, the top sheet can do that… if you insist on untucking it from the mattress which everyone apparently does because otherwise they “feel like they’re in a coffin” which makes exactly no sense.

He then goes on to say, “They’re really hard to put on.” Really, person on the street? YOU WILL PUT ON A FITTED SHEET BUT THE TOP SHEET IS TOO HARD?!? Fitted sheets are like the devil’s linens. I will do almost anything to avoid having to put a fitted sheet on my bed. It never gets on correctly. I remember fighting with a fitted sheet for almost ten full minutes one time because the person who made it thought somewhere directly between a full and queen was exactly the size they should stop at. I LOST FEELING IN MY FINGERS ON THAT FITTED SHEET, PERSON ON THE STREET. A top sheet is a fucking walk in the park downhill compared to the fitted sheet. They are not hard.

Another person says, “They just seem unnecessary.” Yes. We can make an argument that all things in life are unnecessary, but I don’t think these individuals are promoting absurdism.

“It’s just extra work. I don’t have time for it.” Am I confused about what a person has to do with a top sheet? Like, do you get home from work and think, ‘God, I would love to have a sheet, but I just can’t get it done before my yoga class’? Or you have to decide between going out with friends or putting the top sheet on the bed?

“It’s just an extra thing to buy.” I absolutely IMPLORE you to leave me a comment or send me an email or call me or text me or DM me or message me or send me a snap (just kidding) telling me you have EVER purchased a top sheet separate from a fitted sheet. Where? When? How much did it cost? Why? Are you Oprah? What the hell?

“And just an extra thing to wash.” Yes. The top sheet is so much more annoying to wash than the fitted sheet, which I am still under the impression everyone uses.

Next, they interview someone who sells “high-end bedding” and again, I think, ‘If I am at the very tippy top end of the Millennial Generation, then presumably I will have purchased the most sheets of everyone. The last set I bought was at Kohl’s. What the hell is high-end bedding and who can afford it?’

This person who sells high-end bedding is from Europe “where most people sleep with just a duvet” and attributes this shifting away from the top sheet to “convenience and comfort.” I’m not arguing with the comfort. The convenience is weird.

Thank god Fox News then interviews an actual medical doctor about the hygiene of forgoing the top sheet. Let’s all imagine how that phone call went. “Hello, doctor who went to school for around 12-15 years for a medical degree. I’d like to ask you about the hygiene of not using a top sheet.” How many doctors did they call? Is there a person who specializes in bedding germs? I’m sure there is. I’m sure I am still completely traumatized by the mattress salesman who told me once that if I didn’t buy the $100 cover that I would regret it because a mattress gains somewhere around 10 pounds due to SWEAT ACCUMULATION during the night. Whether that is true or not, that is a fantastic story to gross out a customer into a $100 sale.

Anyway, they interview a medical doctor who makes the (what I find to be a ridiculously optimistic) claim that most people “wash their top sheets once a week” while people are less likely to wash their duvet that often. But you should, says the doctor. Germs are everywhere. We will all contract dysentery from whatever we use to cover us. Wash it once a week. (I do not know anyone other than my mother (BOOMER) who washes their sheet/blanket/duvet once a week.) No one. Speaking of inconvenient.

I assume I am a millennial with regard to my frequency of doing laundry which is entirely decided by how much underwear and/or socks I have left. That’s it. I’ll change the sheets as frequently as I can, but it isn’t happening weekly. MY LAUNDRY ROOM IS ONE FLOOR AWAY AND THAT SEEMS INSURMOUNTABLE SOMETIMES. (When I lived at Poor Life Choices Camp, the laundry room was 15 feet from my bedroom and yes, I did laundry more frequently. It makes me feel like the laziest person on earth that this is true.) Anyone who has to use a laundromat isn’t washing their sheets weekly. Are they? And if they are, WHY IS A TOP SHEET A TIME-CONSUMING INCONVENIENCE?

Then they interview “the other side” because Fox News is fair and balanced. The guy at the 1:40 mark seems sexually stimulated by his top sheet.

At the end of this hard-hitting news report, the USA Today ran a poll (on Twitter) regarding who uses a top sheet and 71% of people do. But I want to focus on the 4% of people who USE NO SHEETS AT ALL. Who are THOSE monsters? Are they the generation AFTER millennials? Do they find ALL sheets to be time-consuming? We need to interview those people. Because if they are sleeping on a naked mattress then I have questions.

This doesn’t really rule me in or out of being a millennial because I had never considered the top sheet “a thing” to consider. How can anyone accuse an entire generation of “killing” this? How can an entire generation have decided that THIS was a thing they needed to eliminate? I literally asked two of my closest millennial friends about this and then asked if, like, instead of learning cursive, they had a debate class regarding bedding? How can it be this ubiquitous?

I have no real conclusion to this. I don’t need a top sheet, but I use one because I don’t find them inconvenient or time-consuming and because they COME WITH THE FITTED SHEET. Is every one of these tests going to make me feel like I’m missing something super important?


But seriously. If you have purchased a top sheet separately, hit me up. I need to know.

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