In Praise of the Man Cave
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I am a big believer that a good marriage is based on honesty, love, trust…and space. Lots and lots of space. I believe people deserve emotional space to be who they are and think what they think. But they also need physical space to retreat. I personally need a lot of alone time and subscribe [...]
I am a big believer that a good marriage is based on honesty, love, trust…and space. Lots and lots of space. I believe people deserve emotional space to be who they are and think what they think. But they also need physical space to retreat. I personally need a lot of alone time and subscribe to the Virginia Woolf notion that we all need a room of one’s own.
A room of my own seems like a distant dream because the never-ending call of ‘MOM!’ keeps me deep in the family fray. I write these blogs at six in the morning because it’s the only time here that’s quiet. So the second best way for me to get my personal space is for Brett to have his in the recently popularized ‘man cave’.
Brett and I have both been married before. We both lived alone for a long period of time after our divorces. There are both benefits and challenges to a second-marriage. Marrying again has given us the opportunity to right some previous wrong moves in our first marriages .You live, you learn, you apply those learnings in hope of a better outcome. One of those learnings for me was that a man cave is a good thing indeed.
What is this man cave concept and why suddenly did it become part of the pop cultural dialogue? Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge ever plus the occasional error) defines is as ‘not a cave but rather a metaphor describing a room inside the house, such as the basement or garage or attic or office, or outside the house such as a wood shed or tool room, where “guys can do as they please” without fear of upsetting any female sensibility about house decor or design.’
I guess ‘go out to your cave’ sounds a whole lot better than ‘go out to your metaphor.’ I get it. Men get the cave and women get the rest of the house. But I can’t help wonder when this phenomenon reached its tipping point. When did this retreat become something that was not only accepted but encouraged to a certain degree? According to Dictionary.com’s 21st Century Lexicon, the term “man cave” started being used in 1992. Wiktionary.com contends that “man cave” is a play on the term “cave man.”
Then when I started to think about it, there are all kinds of cultural references to the male ‘room of one’s own’ that had just yet to be labeled ‘man cave’. Think about it. For the obvious mid-century reference, think about Mike Brady and his study. Think about Michael Corleone’s study in The Godfather. It’s always been there, just without the label.
But man cave is the brand of the 21st century and it has spawned all kinds of brand extensions. There are websites and books (and more books) dedicated to the topic. There are contractors dedicated solely to building out your man cave, even one here in Seattle called Man Cave Builders, if you aren’t of the DIY ilk or want something a little more classy and high-end. There is even a show on the DIY Network.
Needless to say, with all this man cave momentum, we have always agreed that a man cave for Brett was a necessity. While on my own, I had grown accustomed to living without empty beer bottles or posters of Star Trek or walls of bikes all around me. Nor am I necessarily fond of loud drums or Pearl Jam. I don’t want to take those things away from him. I just don’t want them in front of me. So a space for a man cave was close to the top of our list of ‘needs’ (not wants, mind you) when we were shopping for a house.
Brett’s last man cave was an attached one-car garage that housed said bikes, stinky bike clothes and shoes, computers and multiple monitors, workbench, tools, big electric saw type things and, for a brief period, a kegerator. Yes, really.
But the really big TV, the electric drum kit and the gaming consoles lived in the family room, which had really just become an oozing out of the man cave into the home space. We knew we needed a bigger man cave. And we found one.
This house has a car-port which was enclosed to be a proper garage. At the back is a room, complete with windows, ancient curtain rods and heat! Yes, heat! There had once been a major beam and wall separating the room from the carport which had been removed, for reasons we cannot fathom. The roof was being held up by temporary metal wall jacks. Brett and his parents have rebuilt the wall (still needs dry-walling, but that will be post-electrical work) and he has his new and improved man cave. It oozes into the garage and I have no problem with that at all. He is attempting organization and even built shelving to house the plethora of stuff we need to store. (Hint to family: We are FULL up on Christmas decorations, thank you.) In essence, he has a two room man cave out there to keep him happy for hours at a time.
So the main reason I am in support of a man cave is that, while he may have a room (or two) of his own, I end up with a whole house of my own. I wonder what Virginia would say about that.
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Brandy O'Briant, DIY, man cave, Mercer Island, mid-century modern