The Bulwark

News and Events from Blythe's Bulwark, Chico, CA

With Apologies to The Geico Cavemen

March 15, 2013 By: Blythe Category: Pool Poker and Darts

flintstoneDM2004_468x343When I was growing up, my grandfather had a small room next to the hallway, near the kitchen. This hallowed room, was roughly 30’ x 20’ and bedecked with a large sliding closet was colloquially referred to as “the office”. We were never to go into “the office”, even though my grandpa had some of his best toys stashed in that room. Sometimes we would get lucky and he would let us come in while he was paying his bills, and play with some of the treasures he kept back there, but normally it was sacred ground.

As houses are getting bigger and bigger, and young families are investing in more personal space the house has evolved. Children get their own room, master showers become these large spa experiences that resemble car washes, kitchens practically become galleys, and there may even be reading nooks, or play rooms for the children. All this expansion has seen the advent of a very unique neologism, the “man-cave”.

As a man, who it’s assumed would benefit from having a rock shelter on the premises, I have always felt the term surprisingly demeaning. I assume other men may feel the same way, because I would often hear the term followed by a verbal eye roll. Now I am not assuming all men feel this way, some men eagerly eke out their man cave with all the gusto of a Paleolithic napoleon. I was always under the impression that the term “man cave” was the preferred term for the fairer sex, unable to sum up the needs of a man’s personal room because they maybe “just don’t get it”.

Recently when discussing this issue with several men, I had mentioned my thought and a friend of mine disagreed with me. She was of the impression that a man-cave would be quite the den of inequity, with beer bottle chandeliers, dead animal skulls, and shag carpeting. This got us talking about the term, and we came to a startling conclusion; no one likes the term “man cave”.

05-man-cave-man-land-northShe proffered that when her and her husband start working on a house they would have a theater, den, or entertainment center. I channeled my grandfather in responding with “but it’s not a den, theater, or entertainment center, it’s my office”. She pointed out that my, and my coworkers’ “office” would likely be the site of several fruitless past times, including Call of Duty, poker, and pool. This brought us to the crux of the argument; there really isn’t a word that describes a place for men to just do their thing.

Women have all sorts of terms for their ideal room, Victoria wants a “spa”, my artistic girlfriend has a “studio”, and another friend has a “drawing room”. All of these terms express themselves as the purview of the feminine, a place where Y chromosomes need not apply, and nor should productive endeavors. There isn’t a term for a man that has that same connotation.  In the days of yore “gentleman’s clubs” offered welcome relief for men, but in the modern era that term is polluted by seedier places, “smoking rooms” have been offset by awareness of the harm tobacco causes, and as I pointed out earlier little work will get done so there is no need in calling it an “office”.

This is why we have stuck with “man cave”, it’s unfettered by the connotations of cancer and strange women who take off their clothes. It immediately implies a place where children ought not be, and where the wife only wields a fraction of her immense power. That said, why stick with a cheap buzzword that nobody likes? Be the man you are, strike out on your own and talk to your partner about what you need in your own private “lounge”, talk to her about your “speak easy” and clarify the expectations for your “bar”. It’s your room, it’s up to you; what are you going to call it?