Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Secrets Of The Man Cave

Anyone visiting our home can often find Rigel in one of two places: our backyard, performing manly chores such as the whacking of weeds and the crushing of spiders, or in his office, one of the four bedrooms in our home, one which we have appropriately named The Man Cave. (Actually, he got this a few weeks ago, so now you'll frequently find him in our driveway, buffing the leather seats or cleaning the tires with a Q-Tip.)

The Man Cave is an oasis of manliness in a our girl-centric home, a place for him to go after being 'Heather' in a rousing game of Mall Madness or spending four hours assembling Polly Pocket's Pollywood Limo. While every other room is littered with cast-off skirts and jewelry, bottles of nail polish and copies of Vogue magazine, wander in to Rigel's office and you'll find: several guitars and amps, electrical devices of unknown function, an elaborate stereo system, assorted sports gear and a book collection that contains not a single self-help guide or celebrity biography.

The effect is subtle, but even without a flashing Budweiser sign or a taxidermied elk head hanging on the wall the message is loud and clear: Man Cave Ahead. Testicles Recommended.

There are undoubtedly supernatural forces at work in The Man Cave. As if it senses the presence of anything pink or fluffy or that says, "I love you berry much" when squeezed. These things either disappear completely, meeting some tragic end or mysteriously find their way into my office. (You know dark forces are at work when Kira finds her Hello Kitty lipgloss in the -gasp- trash can.) And where my office is home to school projects, six hundred varieties of craft supplies, wrapping paper and vestiges from every holiday imaginable, The Man Cave boasts no obvious traces of family life. That saying, "No man is an island" is missing the last part of the sentence. It should read, "No man is an island, but they all sometimes wish they lived on one."

The sacredness of The Man Cave has its benefits. A couple of months ago my old PowerBook that had become the 'homework' computer sputtered and died. The girls seized this as a chance to infiltrate the hallowed halls of The Man Cave and started using the computer in Rigel's office, spending long stretches of time at his desk, cluttering it with half-drunk juice boxes and tainting his hard drive with downloads of Hilary Duff mp3's and Google searches for NeoPets. When someone left the cap off a Magic Fun Glitter Pen and it left a round, gooey blob on the cover of his new Zeppelin cd, it was the last straw. It's true what they say - it's hard to see a grown man cry. But I got a new computer very quickly, and the girls got my old one, souped up with extra memory and a brand new monitor.

Since breaking ground on The Man Cave many of our friends have followed suit, envious of Rigel's hideaway and monument to testosterone. Some have hung plasma TV's which they watch from the comfort of their regal leather couches, others have soundproofed the walls and set up mini recording studios. This has given me some ideas for a new magazine I plan to launch similar to Real Simple, targeted at men, and called Really Crude. It'll contain helpful how-tos on everything from turning twelve empty beer cans and a pizza box into a table, to fashioning a nifty window cover from old issues of Maxim.

I don't begrudge him his own space. Every man deserves a retreat, a place where they can thump their chests and proclaim to the world, "I don't eat no freakin' quiche." You have to feel for the guy, surrounded by three women, and bossy ones at that. Recently he's been on frantic mission to fix up the garage, and although he never said it out loud, I know he's thinking, "In a few years, when you're all on your periods at the same time, I'll need somewhere to hide."

Unfortunately, this is probably true, since by then The Man Cave will be just a memory. Eventually the girls will want their own bedrooms, and both of our offices will go to them. He and I will move our desks and computers into their room, which we'll share as a workspace. He'll have to suffer through his desk being used as a gift wrapping station, and want to hurt himself when I use his amp cords to tie back the curtains. But maybe, if he's behaving, I'll have mercy on him and let him have the room all to himself once in awhile, so he can crank the stereo way up, have a beer and remember when he was King of The Man Cave. Maybe.

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52 comments:

  1. I have a friend with teenaged boys who have turned her basement into Man Land. I can see my son's eyes light up whenever he talks about it.

    What is it about men that they HAVE to have one part of the house that is devoid of the color pink?

    I like pink.

    Of course, I HAVE to have a whole house devoid of Austin Healey posters so I guess letting the man have one room of his own isn't asking too much.

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  2. Every room in this humble home is a partial Man Cave. The Mole has a way of claiming all that surrounds him. There is a room that we spent countless days reconstructing in our basement we affectionately call THE MOLE HOLE that he has since abandonned. It holds all his most precious objects which no-one in their right mind would actually want, but that he took inventory of every few days. Moments of panic would arise and accusations of things "stolen" or "missing" thrown around that nobody understood (except The Mole) and we all learned that "this is just what it takes to live with a Mole".
    The most recent room taken over is "the office", a room that I thought might be a lovely, yet tiny area, wher I could hide away and do MY THING. It is now known as THE BLOG ROOM.

    I love your writing style. You are extremely entertaining.

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  3. I am sat in my own Herr Lair typing this at the PC my wife must NEVER TOUCH (she is a walking EMP). But this is sooo good I'm going to print it out and show it to her. Something I have never ever done ... that deserves a trophy of some sort. The only thing that troubles me is that men assume for the purposes of our self-esteem that we are mysterious and inscrutable. I don't think we'd appreciated that we were so ... er ... transparent. Does that mean you know atht when we ... no no .. better leave it.

    One hint in return. It is womenfolk that seem exercise an iron-fisted control over bedroom decoration. Sat hunkered in bars men get drunk and admit to each other that their performance is not being enhanced by being asked to get jiggy in Barbie's dream boudoir. It feels a bit like I'd always imagined my GI Joe felt when kidnapped by my sister to participate in bizarre day long marriage ceremonies to her dolls.

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  4. OMG he and my husband should unite and form a club. Hubby has to deal with three bossy females daily as well. The two younger ones will be getting their period soon, then all that can save him is prayer.
    Apparently our unfinished basement is HIS Man Cave. There are things down there I don't wanna see. I sleep better that way.

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  5. I love it. Hubby has a room too. But his is filled with old comic books, pez desopensers and CD's for groups that I coudn't name if I tried. I think with 3 girls and just one guy, it is only fair for him to have his own room. And that's what he calls it, 'my room'. The nerd. Ha, at least you got your own computer.

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  6. This is hysterical. The garage is my husband's area -- full of manly tools and manly tool chests and sawdust -- and I call it the Homo Den just to razz him a bit.

    It works.

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  7. I can say for certainty that Terrance feels his pain. As he picks the playmobil out of his feet and has glitter lip gloss applied to his cheeks.

    And When I was pregnant, my mother was starting menopause and my sister was starting her period. My poor step-father was in a no win situation. ALWAYS.

    I tell Terrance that this is his Karma paying him back for not calling some girl back.

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  8. I have a girls 18 month bathingsuit on my desk...

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  9. I totally cannot let J read this post, for he will certainly want his own Man Cave. After all, he is living in a house filled with females (even the cats are girls!) Right now he has his Man Corner of the living room with his prized laptop, computer war games, copies of Maxim and FHM, favorite plastic ugly cup, and other dude-like sources of entertainment and sustenance. Giving him a whole ROOM would be too much.

    Then again, at least I could banish all of those Man-Things to a remote corner of the house. One with a door I could shut to keep all out of sight. Hmmm...

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  10. Poor Pookie doesn't have a man-cave. He can't wait to move to NH where we'll have a basement and he can turn it into his place.

    Because us girls will never go down there, not with spiders just waiting for a chance to jump in our hair.

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  11. Mr. Half has his office over the garage, but it also houses all of his archery, hunting, scouting and golf stuff. Plus other junk too tedious to go into here.

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  12. Laughing. Out. Loud.

    The Husband has a Man Shack - a fully outfitted shed that he built in our backyard to escape all of the estrogen. I tell him that it will one day be a playhouse, that it will host tea parties.

    He takes his beer and shuts the door.

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  13. Amp cords tying back curtains... Great idea. Functional, hip, and black is always cool and matches everything. We have some old cords our cat chewed the hell out of and God knows why we haven't thrown them out, but now I have an idea for how to make them useful.

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  14. My man calls the basement his "bat cave," though the only evidence of his occupance are the stacks of linguistics books arranged on the floor around the futon and the empty beer bottles decorating the bookshelves.

    Did you ever see the Cosby Show episode where the mom got her own room? She kept the kids locked out and just lay on the empty floor giggling.

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  15. Love it! J has his Cave, too. I don't venture in there often, unless the server needs to be reset. His desk is full of Experiments. The kind that mad scientists use when preparing to take over the world. I am pretty sure the congealed mess in the cup next to his keyboard moved the last time I was in there. I am afraid.

    I know I am in trouble, his icon for IM is Dexter, from Cartoon Network. And you are right, nothing is on his desk except his stuff.

    Meanwhile, on mine we have:

    bottle of glue, toy from a fast food kids' meal, 3 different remotes, a plate of my daughter's snack that I haven't taken to the kitchen. 2 toy knights, a pile of drawings, a container of toothpicks, 2 DVDs, 3 homemade "mini light-sabers" and a crapload of other stuff whose origin escapes me. My desk is a wormhole...everything ends up here.

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  16. At some point when the hubby stops procrastinating, the Man Cave will be in the basement. So maybe in another 100 years that, as well as the new fence we need, will actually happen!

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  17. Awww. I actually feel sad that he'll be ousted for his man cave someday. The image of using his amp cords to tie back the curtains brought a tear to my eye. Seriously.

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  18. I'm convinced that man caves are the key to every successful marriage. Without them, the men would drive the women NUTS with their eccentric little toys and habits (and vice versa, I say with reluctance, still hardly able to believe that anyone would be annoyed by the tracings of femaleorabila in a household ...).

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  19. He hem...

    As a minority commenter (ie.male), I can testify to the absolute necessity of man-caves. I myself have had one for many years and can confirm that nothing pink and/or fluffy gets near it.

    It has indirectly saved the life of many a cat and ensured that I have stayed married for 22 years. The only trouble now is that it is getting a little cramped due to the vast eclectic book collection bursting out of the door.

    Still - let 'em find me behind that lot!

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  20. Fantastic Article! I too am the father of daughters. My daughters are a blessing and have enriched my life. Having said that, I'm not sure what I would do without my fortress of solitude. Without a chance to recharge in my man cave, I would probably be wearing pink bows right now. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Now please excuse me while I get back to my game of Mall Madness.

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  21. My husband would love to covet your husbands man cave!

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  22. My husband doesn't have a man cave--yet. I'm a tomboy and a minimalist, however, so although he lives with me and our daughter, our home is relatively "girly free"...at least for now (as baby diva isn't quite one year old).

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  23. hilarious post, but one I will need to make sure the old man does not stumble upon. spare room is going to become fung shui inner sanctum if it kills me (but only have son, and unknown to contend with at this moment--house is not girly-fied at this juncture).

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  24. I totally need a Man Cave. Unfortunately, living in NYC, I'm lucky to have a Man Chair. I'm extremely jealous of Rigel. But if the glitter pen leaked on any of my CDs, I'd be pissed too! I guess we'll just have to chalk that up as another parenting sacrifice that we make for our kids!

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  25. There have been many times when I had to talk my husband out of converting a portion of our family room into Man Town. So he has repaid me by dropping his underwear and dirty socks, beer bottles, and sporting equipment all over the house. I'm thinking the dog house might be the appropriate place for his Man Cave.

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  26. My husband has his own little man cave, too. It has an entire band set up- guitars, amps, banjo, drums, keyboard. Insane. We face the same office collision if we decide to have another child anytime soon. A growing family can be tough on these guys!

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  27. We have unique 'issues' so my H doesn't have a place to call his own, yet....

    But I think every man deserves a man cave...a place to spill the testosterone around(keeps them from circling the house peeing to mark their teritory)

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  28. Man cave! LOL! No matter who's house we are in my husband will always create his own little man cave!

    Currently he doesnt have a place to call his own since we live in an apartment but in 1 month we will be living in our house so he gets his man cave back!

    Did you know that some wives get upset about this? Seriously. I know some people that think their man should not have a man cave. I just love that phrase!

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  29. LOL poor guy! Better work on that garage quick, cause 3 PMSing woman/girls at once is no joke!

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  30. Part of me wants to let my hubby read this and we can laugh out loud together but the other part quickly reminds me that all I'll really get is a big fat ,"see, why can't I have a room of my own?"

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  31. Can I have a woman cave? My hubby and son took over my house- there are cars (toys!) and carparts (real and toys!) and car dvd's and car mags....
    It doesn't even have to be pink and perfumy, I just want somewhere where I'm not stepping on matchbox's and stepping around cam shafts!

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  32. Yes - it's a great idea. I want a man cave. Uh, I want a man and I want a cave. Does that count?

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  33. You just gave me a glimpse of my future - or rather, Kyle's future. With three bossy, demanding women at home, even the most easygoing guy starts yearning for a cave.

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  34. My dh has a *bonus room* over the garage that is unfinished that I know he plans to try to make into a Man Cave.....we'll see. It would also make such a cool playroom, but by the time we have the funds....our kids may not need a playroom. :)

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  35. When we were buying our home, it was imperitive to my husband that it have an unfinished basement that he could "mess around" in. And he does. He set up an old, dingy couch, a computer, a table with chairs, drums, keyboards, amps, and gadets down there. He swept it out and put down little pieces of cut up carpet from someone elses house that they'd thrown out and got lamp shades from ikea for the light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. When his friends come over, they all stomp, stomp, stomp on down, instruments in hand.

    It's the most dismal place in the world and he loves it down there.

    I do not care what it looks like. I do not clean it. I do not care what gets spilled, or if people smoke or if bottles are left out there. So, it is his paradise, I guess. His friend zone, complain free from me. I never go down and it's all his, his, his!!!!

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  36. I love it...my husband is swimming in a sea of estrogen. We have two girls AND a female dog so he's outnumbered. His man cave is home to the obligatory NFL collector's items, old Sports Illustrateds, and a "prize" from winning a fantasy football league years ago...his beloved olive green ceramic toilet ash tray that says BUTTS.

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  37. This is PERFECT! Tonight J has officially turned our living room into a pseudo-man cave, since he just bought an X-Box 360 and hooked it up to our entertainment center, i.e. family nucleus. *sigh* Such are the cons of living in a small house and being married to a man on the gray side of 30 going on 14. :)

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  38. Oh this is so great! And clearly many can relate to it. Slowly, surely, the more time I spend away from home earning the dough, Nate is turning our entire apartment into his man cave. The PS2 seems to have found a permanent spot on the living room floor, the beer bottles remain far longer than they should, and the porn is spilling off his bureau top.

    I'm thinking it's time to call in that Queer Eye contact I have...

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  39. Allan has a man cave... only we call it the kitchen, and I gladly relinquished control of that place.

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  40. My husband has a "Clubhouse". In other words, the garage.And none of us girl-folk are allowed in there. And that's just fine with me. I wouldn't go if he asked me. so there.

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  41. I just ran across your blog whilst browsing in BE. You write well! Glad I stumbled in...

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  42. I think I'm in trouble. I love self help books, celebrity bios, and quiche. Where do I go to get help?

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  43. hey, i left a comment. where's my damn comment?

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  44. This reminds me of those new damn Burger King commercials where all those men are walking around singing (how manly) about how manly they are. They eat meat and blah blah blah. I am all for men having their masculine rooms and whatnot, but for them to say that they're only real men if they eat meat kills me. Great post, SPM!

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  45. When the girls demand their own rooms perhaps your man can build a tree house. His own little boys club where he can drink beer, watch football, and stare at the expensive guitars he'll never play. Although I do love your whole amp curtain idea.

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  46. My hubby doesn't want a man cave, he wants another man in the house to balance out the hormones. He picked out a kitten once that the vet said was male and even little Max turned out to be a female. A wife, a daughter, two female cats, a female dog and fish that are undoubtedly female too. He's overwhelmed (and loving it, I might add).

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  47. My husband has a Man Cave too. It's a partially walled off room in our basement where he has a desk, shelves for tools, more shelves for the printer/scanner/computer server, ashtrays overflowing with cigarette butts, old half finished bottles of Mtn. Dew. He LOVES it.
    Funny post!

    Word Verification: blggnab=blognab!

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  48. My husband’s man cave is in our attic. It’s filled with sports memorabilia like posters of Mohamed Ali and baseballs signed by Derek Jeter. But he’s such the ultimate metrosexual – he’s furnished the place so that it looks very ‘hip’ and ‘stylish’, like it should be featured in Elle décor or something. Since I’m the only girl in the house (we have 2 sons) it’s actually a bit of a relief.

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  49. This post made me spit my tea all over my chest, but I'll comp you on the bill because of how excellent it was.

    The Boy wants a Man Cave of his own when we buy a house, if only because he had one before his divorce and feels naked without one now. As long as I have the rest of the house to myself, he can stock his cave with porn and beernuts for all I care.

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  50. Hehehe. I need a WomanCave, cuz I live with 3 boys. And I have the opposite problem as your hubby. There is Spider Men, musical instruments, glue, sticks, cars, more cars, sticky video games, and dirty socks all over my house. EUGH. I need a girly place to go!

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  51. We call that the Testosterone Zone here at our house. It has all the accoutrement of the Man Cave, plus guns and porn.

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