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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Monday, November 21, 2011

MEN CAVE

"A man cave is a lair of refuge and escape where bros can be bros well into middle age, even when married and occupying a house with a female co-inhabitant."

Sweet Mancave Brodwag
Wow the Man Cave, can there be anything more masculine and manly? Have you started making your own? Maybe this Christmas you can get some stuff to put in yours, such as these suggestions from the website "Bro Bible"
  • A Urinal
  • A Pin-Up Calendar
  • Neon
  • Kegerator
  • A Humidor
  • Indoor Putting Green
  • Stripper Pole
...and so on. Apparently being a man is about sex, beer, and sports. At least, to Bro Bible.

I sympathize with men wanting a place they can call their own, a spot in their house they can retreat to and be in comfort and happiness. I remember well Al Bundy retreating to his bathroom on Married With Children to escape the family. It was the one place in the house that was truly his, instead of controlled by his wife.

And that's the problem, isn't it? Its one thing to have a game room where you can go to have fun, but its another to have a man room, because that's basically an admission that you have surrendered the rest of the house to the woman. If you have only one room in the house that really reflects your personality and masculinity, that means the rest of the house... doesn't.

Now, I'm not saying the house should look like a cross between a frat house and a hunting lodge. Women typically are better at decorating and its her house too, in a marriage. She should have her input too. But if you're shoved off into one room while she puts 15 pillows on the couch and teddy bears everywhere, there's something basically wrong not just with the relationship but you as a man.

I know its easy for me to say as a single guy but men: when a guy comes into your house and it looks like the set designer for Oxygen channel fixed up the place, that says a lot to us about you. Its fine to have her touches, but the place should have your touches too. I don't want men to turn into interior decorators, I just want us guys to have our say and our stuff int he house as well.

Every married comedian on earth has the same basic gag: when you get married kiss all your stuff goodbye. Now, some of it probably ought to go. You're married, its time to give up the milk carton furniture and that utility company spool you use as a coffee table. You have a wife now, so your massive collection of porn and the girlie posters are not necessary any longer (in theory), and probably insult and make her feel like she's competing with women she can't even yell at.

But then... women carry baggage from their youth that should be abandoned too. I know you adore that stuff you carried with you from teenage years, but... let it go. You expect your man to grow up and abandon the trappings of his single days, you need to as well.

And think about it. What does it say about our comprehension of masculinity when the entire concept of a man cave is about permanent adolesence? I don't have a problem with beer, video games, and beautiful women. I have a problem with that defining your gender. Men are not bigger and older frat boys. Masculinity is not defined by the word "brodawg" and how many beers you can chug.

The entire concept of a "Man Cave" is like some child's misconception of what dad's room was like, its a juvenile caricature of masculinity, surrendered to female supremacy. A man's study with books and hunting trophies, a good comfortable chair, and so on was about what a man accomplished in life and how he bettered himself, not about how he parties, pukes in a trash can and lusts after ever-younger women (relative to his age) that are ever more out of his reach while playing video games.

Its fine to have a room especially masculine in a house (like a woman might have a room that's especially girly), set aside for a guy to escape into. Believe it or not, guys need to get away from women once in a while, and that's not unreasonable - women need to get away from men too, and since the workplace can't provide that any longer, this is an aid. But this room shouldn't be an island in a sea of femininity and it shouldn't be some throwback to your early 20s single party years.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Eric said...

My wife pretty much decorated my man cave for me... I guess that means I need to turn in my man card.

I've always thought these guys miss out on a lot in their marriage by being absent from designing the look and feel of their home. That is an area that has been the catalyst for a lot of bonding between my wife and I over the years. Our tastes run in similar directions; sometimes we disagree, but the bottom line is we want the common areas of our house to be appealing and comfortable for each of us.

We have a barn with a little room in it that could be considered a man cave (complete with beer stocked fridge), but every "decoration" out there is something my wife picked up and gave to me because she thought I'd like it... and she was right in every case.

9:56 AM, November 21, 2011  
Anonymous Eric said...

I don't have any porn out there, but I do have that "God Will Burn Your Barley Fields" book cover hanging on the wall.

9:59 AM, November 21, 2011  
Blogger Philip said...

I'd comment, but I keep falling to the floor giggling.

Yes, marriage should be 50-50, yadda yadda. Equal partnership, striding together through life and all that. Some input on the home on the male behalf regarding the house is nice, often sought, and usually welcomed.

But your schtuff isn't going to be in the main part of the house. There might be The Chair. But that's it (well - I used to be a professional cook, so the kitchen is mine).

Considering we've been married almost twenty years, the arrangement looks like it works.

5:38 PM, November 21, 2011  
Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

Sounds like it works great for her.

6:21 PM, November 21, 2011  
Blogger Philip said...

Let me know if and when you set a date to get hitched, son.

5:03 PM, November 22, 2011  

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