Mind Of Man: Tell Your Dude To Move Out Of His “Man Cave”
I can’t stand the concept of the “man cave.” It’s like a grown-up version of the word “cooties.” One is something you catch from yucky girls. The other place is a spider hole you scurry to in order to escape girls with cooties.
First, don’t confuse the “man cave” with a “caveman.” Generally, I think cavemen are awesome, even if 40 percent of Texans think ancient man rode dinosaurs. I am pro-caveman — the hunting, the grunting, the freely flapping testicles, the whole kit and caboodle. However, they lived short, brutal lives of constant terror. Not the same thing as what I am ranting about.
I will tell you why I loathe the “man cave”: the whole world is my domain. I nobly stride from comic book store to Chinese food buffet to dive bar with a kingly grace. I fear no one, especially my girlfriend. If she wants to go shopping for candles, I can look at her like a grown-ass man and say, “I don’t want to go. Have fun though.” Or maybe I’ll make an adult compromise and purr, “Sure, love. And then we can go to wreck some cheddar cheese biscuits with our face at Red Lobster next door.”
But I will not dart to my “man cave” because my girlfriend requires social interaction. I’m not a small dude. I have a black belt in beer karate. She can’t drag me anywhere I don’t want to go. So there’s no need for me to escape to a clubhouse when she expects me to behave like a boyfriend. Plus, I’m not dating an alien blob monster spreading its gooey tendrils over every square inch of my life, forcing me to retreat to a room of my own. Why are men retreating? Who are men running from? Zombies? Space Nazis? Time-traveling robot octopi? No. Men don’t retreat. We stand our ground. Or, at the very least, communicate like mature, sentient carbon-based bipeds.
It wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time, men and women knew how to co-exist. It was generally accepted that to live with a woman meant that stuff just got more comfortable and pleasant smelling. And if you and the missus needed some time apart, there was the bar around the corner or, at least down South, there was the porch. Enter the “man cave.” Apparently, men are under attack by women. Or at least, that’s what is being sold.
A “man cave” is a detestable marketing term invented in order to sell flat-screen televisions, dart boards, and black leather couches. The original idea was that men needed a place to just be themselves, because football stadiums just aren’t enough. And this place needs to be filled with tacky crap they can easily charge on their credit cards. The idea of the “man cave” has metastasized into a full-blown masculine philosophy. I have friends who proudly invite me to their “man cave.”
No, I don’t want to spend Friday night in your creepy predator pad. You have a beer pong table? If you’re over 25 and still playing beer pong, just stop. Most dudes I know who are inching towards 30 and still haven’t figured out how to get drunk without playing a game designed for the socially awkward are one ratty cardigan sweater away from having to knock on their neighbor’s door to inform them they live next door.
A “man cave” is almost a political statement. Men are defiantly sealing themselves in personal bunkers with a Blu-ray player, multiple tubes of Pringles, and the company of Pudge, a part-time weed connection and Guitar Hero demi-god. A fortress of BROlitude. A “man cave” is this safe place where boys can be boys, which is why most of these dank, smelly hovels look like their parents’ basement. It’s an estrogen-free Alamo of stuff and feet funk. Now, I’m from a proud Texan family. I know the one truth about the Alamo: Texas lost.
I trace this pathetic trend to outmoded advertising attitudes. Take the recent Super Bowl ads that had critics and women wincing. These commercials sought to connect with men by telling them that bitches be eating their dreams. Therefore, it’s OK to be ambition-less.
Apparently, according to CarBeerSnack International, the frat house is man’s natural habitat. Here’s some truth: If boyish pursuits were man’s default settings, the Golden Gate Bridge would never have been built. The Nazis would have used the Ark of the Covenant against us. We would never have shown the moon who’s boss.
I have friends who have home theaters, private bars, and pool tables. They don’t call these rooms “man caves.” Ladies are invited over. Good times are had. They’re not rich, but they work hard, make a decent living, and can afford both nice iPod speakers and curtains. Not one room in their house looks like a cross between mission control and Hooters. There are no balding frat fogies desperately trying to relive the good ol’ days, like aging hippies who just can’t let go of the summer of love.
Besides, there’s not a woman I know who doesn’t love a nice flatscreen or HDTV. Not to mention pizza and beer. It’s just that you have to accept that every so often, the HDTV will be dedicated to watching ice ballerinas like Johnny Weir while eating takeout sushi and drinking Pinot Grigio.
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