Most men would be happy to live in a cave.
The other day a friend and I were talking about how the ‘man cave’ phenomena continues to spread across our culture. The concept of the ‘man cave’, by the way, is rather primal instinct for men – a place to go hide and be alone. A safe place away from distractions and all things not doused in testosterone. Anthropologically speaking, I’m pretty sure this practice goes back to the days of our long-haired, Neanderthal ancestors who holed up in literal caves to get away from the pack.
Last night my friend joking lamented about how when they bought their house he envisioned the basement becoming his own personal ‘man cave’. His wife, however, promptly – and rightly – converted it to a playroom for the kids.
“Yeah, I figure when I do get around to it, the place will most likely be an ‘old man’ cave. You know, one with a recliner and one of those little refrigerators in the corner.”
Men and women are without a doubt, very different. Somewhere in the male DNA is a natural urge to be left alone for periods of time. I’m not really sure why, but we seem to get antsy without having a place to call our own. And contrary to what popular culture would have people believe, we don’t really need a fancy place with a giant cinema screen and a dozen powerful speakers to rock the foundation of our neighbor’s house. We just want a space to imagine as a home base, so to speak, a place to reach out and tag once in a while.
Garages, if you think about it, have always served as a natural environment for men to retreat to for hours at a time. The fact the car could be parked inside just served as a bonus.
The other day another friend told me of how when her father retired he basically retreated to the detached garage and launched into an endless list of ‘projects’ – basically piddling away with his tools and anything mechanical.
Sounds like a cave to me.
Fortunately for my wife has always seemed to understand this biological tick of maleness. For as long as we’ve been together, she’s always helped carve out a space in our home for me to spend time immersed in my favorite past time, tinkering with words. Over time I’ve had a desk sitting on a plank of wood in an unheated and uncooled attic to eventually working my way up to unused bedroom. And over time, these spaces, so Spartan and simple, found themselves named by our kids as ‘the boring room’ – a place they’d certainly never want to spend any amount of time against their will.
So in the end, a ‘man cave’ is nothing to fear. The crazy, over-the-top versions featured on television are just another example of pop culture gone wild. Men are simple creatures. We need love, food and a place to call home.
And if you can work a little cable TV into the equation, all the better.
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