Way back in the day I worked in a restaurant as a server. In hospitality industry you hear many stories whether you intend to or not and some of them are funny, some of them are scary and some of them can scar you for life. This story discusses the subject of The Man Cave: When do you get one, How do you get one and Where can you put one.
A group of 6 people, 3 couples, were chatting away in their very distinct groups; women on one side of the table and the guys on the other. I was vaguely aware the subject of marriage was being discussed. I wasn’t really paying attention until one of the guys said, “I’ve got another 2 years to go before I can get a Man Cave.”
The wives stopped chatting and looked across the table with a ‘Oh, here we go again!’ look. I began pouring wine a little slower than I should as the wife belonging to said guy replied, “Well you need to put in 10 years of marriage before you can get a Man Cave. Those are the rules.”
“Really?!” cried the man sitting next to the poor husband in question. “You have to put in 10 years, huh?”
The other women nodded and smugly agreed while the men nodded in resigned sadness. Then they started talking about their fantasy Caves while I took their dinner orders before I wandered back into the kitchen to digest this nugget of mysterious knowledge.
Is that the rule? 10 years of marriage equals the right to have a Man Cave? I had to investigate this! I had always assumed a Man Cave was something for a sports nut husband or a Harley Davidson fanatic. I have heard tales of Man Caves decked out as mini pubs, sports bars, pool clubs and mini museums. I have visited arts fairs that had booths dedicated to The Man Cave; warning signs and sly attempts at masculine rule. But was the 10 year rule a universal truth or just a rule for the poor unfortunate husband sitting at one of my tables in the restaurant?
Although I didn’t come across firm confirmation of that particular rule I did come across some other interesting info instead. Since when did men become under the impression feminism had stamped out their masculinity and they needed a place to hide in order to restore their testosterone levels? I scoured through web pages and articles, each writer giving their opinion on the chemical importance placed in having a Man Cave and the necessity of a Cave in order to keep marriages healthy and happy. Just the definition of Man Cave was enough to raise my eyebrows in astonishment. You can find it here
In our home the basement is the Man Cave – it is also the home office so its not completely off limits to the family. My husband is into comics and graphic novels so the walls are adorned with his collections and posters. He’s very proud of it and happily shows any visitors who happen to come by. He has his computer, he can play Company of Hero’s to his hearts content. However, my husband has always been allowed to do that, Man Cave or no Man Cave. He has his interests and I have mine and we respect that about each other. He recently allowed me to set up a small table in his Cave so I could begin my new passion of book binding. I felt like I was in his territory though – I asked first if he would be OK with my being there. He said he was happy to have me there as long as I kept my area clean and tidy. I am mindful of keeping my art chaos as tidy as possible and I make sure I bring a fresh made Nespresso Macchiato as a token of thanks if we are there together.
The point for me is I would have let my husband have a Cave from the beginning if he wanted one and there are many husbands who have had a Man Cave before their wives. For some men I know it’s important to have a space for tools or a motorcycle, or card collections or hobby War Gaming. For others it might be the simple need for space and perhaps that gets forgotten along the way. Why wait 10 years when you can pack them off from the start?! And instead of a room for the man, try understanding that it can be any space as long as it is space; a quiet corner of the sitting room, an hour alone in front of the TV, an evening playing PS3 with his mates while wearing a Wi-Fi headset so he can talk to his comrades. Some of you may not agree with me: for some a Man Cave is a right of passage and if that’s the case, so be it! The essence of this topic is the apparent need for space – the need to be alone, to lock the world away for a few hours in order to come out anew and tackle whatever life throws at you and that should be available for anyone. It’s not just men who need that, women do to. Oh, and FYI, being in the kitchen doesn’t count!
Do women have caves? Apparently so! I will leave you with a few names I came across:
Fluff Fortress (seriously?)
The Kitchen ( oh ha ha, Men.)
NBA Arena (No Boys Allowed)
and finally, a favourite of mine: The Control Room