Saturday, September 3, 2011

Man Caves


            Saturday. Labor Day weekend. Storming, rainy day passing through. On the couch watching Tarzan’s Hidden Jungle (1955) and thinking about man caves.
            I have heard the expression for a few years now, and I even have a partially developed man cave in league with the basement family room. What I did not realize was that man caves has gone beyond being an expression.
DIY Network airs Man Caves, Sundays at 8pm. It is a thirty minute show in the vein of Trading Spaces, Yard Crashers and other home design shows, but, as the title suggests, it involves taking a room and other spaces and turning them into a space for the man of the house. Most of the converted rooms are basements, and they are turned into football or baseball themed rooms. These rooms revolve around sports paraphernalia, large screen television and a sports bar. There are some pretty cool looking layouts.
And as I researched on the Internet, I found websites dedicated to the concept, or should I say, reality, of the man cave. The “official” Man Cave site was mancavesite.org, followed by oddee.com, mybadpad.com and BroBible.com. All these sites had sections and photographs dedicated to that man space. These rooms are quite colorful and sturdy.
Now, the words man cave may have been a recent combination, but man caves have been around for a while. The Art of Manliness website has a historical perspective of “14 Famous Man Rooms.” Authors Brett and Kate McKay take us into the rooms of Mark Twain, Teddy Roosevelt, Earnest Hemingway and other men of history. There are some awesome photos with the article.
All man caves center around themes of guy stuff and activities where a man can be a man. The colors are bolder. The furniture is more rugged. The d├ęcor are, but not limited to, cars, sports, and/or hunting mostly. Man caves are not a He-Man’s Woman Haters Club where Spanky and the boys said, “No Girls Allowed.” They are a place where most men hang out with their friends. As mentioned above, man caves have some common elements with large television screens and bars, but must also include seating for friends and refrigeration for cold beverages.
My man cave, more of an alcove, includes things that are more my individual focus of being a science fiction and fantasy fan. Yes, Star Wars is featured, but a charcoal drawing of Worf is included and two paintings: the Dungeons and Dragons box cover of the early 80s and the 80s book cover of Thuvia, Maid of Mars. My friend, Scott, has a Batman collection that dominates his man cave. I guess we have Geek Caves.
Anyway, the only thing really new about man caves is the current expression itself; they have been around, well, since the man needed some space of his own back when Neanderthals first hunted, have evolved into “bachelor pads” and will continue way into the future (see Captain Kirk’s or Captain Malcolm Reynolds’ rooms).
Speaking of man caves and watching Tarzan, check out his place, a man cave in a tree. For him, it was a jungle out there.