Sunday, June 24, 2012

Why Don't I Like The Phrase?

Man Cave:

is a male sanctuary, such as a specially equipped garage, spare bedroom, media room, den, or basement. It is not a cave but rather a metaphor describing a room inside the house, such as the basement or garage or attic or office, or outside the house such as a wood shed or tool room, where "guys can do as they please" without fear of upsetting any female sensibility about house decor or design. Paula Aymer of Tufts University calls it the "last bastion of masculinity".
I have not like the phrase "Man Cave" since the first time I heard it. I still don't. Maybe even more so after reading that description from Wikipedia. It kind of makes me think that it is a place for some unsocialized heathen of some type. It almost smacks to me of stereotyping, which I don't like to have happen to me,
While a wife may have substantial authority over a whole house in terms of design and decoration, she generally has no say about what gets "mounted on the walls" of a man's personal space. Since it may be accepted that a woman has input on the decoration of the rest of the house, a man cave or man space is in some sense a reaction to feminine domestic power.
Feminine domestic power?

It gets worse, doesn't it. Now we are back in the hunter-gatherer world. Me, Tarzan. You, Jane. I am not some throw-back cave man. My wife is not some over-bearing domestic dictator. What are we trying to escape from? Our spouses?
[Man caves are] a place to be alone, to be away from women and from female sensibilities, to indulge in hobbies, and to hang out with male friends. It is, loosely, a male-only space to retreat to. ... Some psychologists claim that a man cave can provide refuge from stressful surroundings and be beneficial to marriage.
But why call them a cave?
In a sense, for married men, it is a way to recreate some of the space and freedom of their bachelor days since it was like a "pad" similar in feeling to a frat house game room or a college dorm room where people could come and go "as if they owned the place."
This really goes downhill fast, in my humble opinion. A frat house or dorm room? THOSE are the best years of our lives? You've got to be kidding me. You couldn't get me back there for all the tea in China. Freedom? Sure, if a small, smelly, cramped room is your idea of freedom. Fun? Not on your life.

Ah, but here's the line I love:
Martin thinks that any space in the house will do, even a lounge chair and a set of headphones, provided there's an agreement with one's wife or girlfriend that the space is under the control of the man.
I am the boss--
and I have my wife's permission to say so.

I agree that the husband - as much as the wife - needs to have those places where they can express their hobbies and interests. I know that I have taken up too much space with my stuff in our houses and apartments, but my wife has had her space free (mostly) from my interference. I have a computer room, she has a sewing room. But I feel demeaned and minimized by the term "Man Cave". I expect is is the same as a woman would feel by being called "The Little Woman." (Yuck!)

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go put on my headphones, listen to music, and read. Somewhere. In the apartment. Just don't call it a cave.

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