Under the tundra, tucked past the laundry room, or stashed in the same room where the ironing board, sewing goodies and boxes of shopworn clothing awaiting transport to a charitable bin is the one room of the house men find solace.
It’s a Fortress of Solitude; a guy-made panic room and beige-walled Tardis sometimes blaring heavy metal or Waylon Jennings ditties. And whether that room is garage, third bedroom, basement or carved out attic space, the man caves across American are sacred spaces.
At my house, my daughter occupies three rooms, including two bedrooms, three beds (she digs the air mattress) and a playroom. She’s like a Trump heiress counting properties along her Atlantic City boardwalk. Meanwhile, the rest of the house belongs to my wife, save the one room, which I’ve captured for you here:
|You will note that my mancave is actually a mankitchencave. |
The irony is not lost on the author, but I’ve got my own fridge.
All that said, for many men, a man cave of some sort is a must, like a favorite worn shirt or that THING. And since the Ermas are hip-deep in lists, what better way to roll into February and all its amorous then to cover five rules about man caves (the other 13 are classified ‘top secret’):
1. Let him decorate it. Really. Dallas Cowboys jerseys, Night Ranger posters, “Big Bang Theory” ironic tchotchkes. Old beer mugs. He’s taken time to dampen the ground around this spot with his feral spray. Barring bikini-clad pinups, ensure he has full reign to throw up (and that’s probably an apt term for what will serve as décor) whatever he wants.
2. Don’t touch anything. Piles of automotive magazines. Tools tossed into greasy piles making a metal miasma. Stacks of CDs. All of it may look like a hurricane hit it, but there is a sophisticated, meticulous organizational system at work here. Anyone having the impetus to “do him a favor” and “clean up this mess” would only be obliterating weeks of laborious, detailed organization. Besides, those discarded Slim Jim wrappers won’t recategorize themselves.
3. Requirements. Mancaves that are not garages have mandatory stocking requirements. They include: a giant television, a computer, a LOUD SOUND SYSTEM … LOUD, a bar (but where a bar can’t fit, a small fridge), and a lingering scent that will drive most others out of the room.
4. Earmuffs! This is hallowed ground. It’s the one place the man can go with other men and let the language freely flow about fishing lures, shovel passes and bed liners. The syntax that prevails in these conversations sometimes makes drunken sailors blush.
5. Mind the door. I say this with the full knowledge that my own office does not have a door. That said, a closed door is an opportunity to allow man vapors to secrete without hindrance; to crank the volume knob to 11; to play the Imperial March and allow the office walls to reverberate; to think manthings and concoct manideas, most of which we get in trouble for in the first place.
Yes, at times, our knuckles drag. We slobber. We have a favorite pelt we wear often and wash little. It only makes sense that our caves resemble us. So, peek inside and tell me: what’s your mancave like?