Wednesday, January 26, 2011


The term “man-cave” has always bothered me. This quaint nick-name given to the space that is located, generally, in the cellar and serves as the primary residence for the man of the house has never seemed quaint to me.
Initially, I assumed that the man was relegated to the basement thus leaving the rest of the house which he is helping to pay for to the woman. She, reigning supreme in the upper world of air and light, would proceed to decorate the entire place from the ground floor to the attic, singularly in her own taste. Shouldn’t both partners have run of the house?  Is the man but a family pet not trusted to leave the upstairs carpets unsoiled? It used to be that nothing said “buddy, grow a pair” like a guy all hunkered down in his man-cave. Then I began to consider the possibility that the man happily escaped to the shelter of the basement, thus leaving the management of household to the woman. Relegated or escaping? This was a bit of a puzzle. That is until I heard the news that British men were generally granted nothing but a single drawer in a shared bedroom dresser. A dog crate is bigger. Men in Britain don’t even rate the space given to a dog? Can this be true? I shudder to think. Is this the final evolution of the man-cave? If so, then my little puzzle is most assuredly solved. No one escapes to a drawer.
Anyway, I bring this up because it occurred to me, in startling revelation, that I have a “man-closet”; less than a basement, but more than a drawer. Although as if from a dream I feel that I may have long, long ago shared an entire house, I do very distinctly recall, with great clarity, that I once had the entire main floor office as my own. Living was easy then. I was so young and naive. Robert’s rainforest had yet to invade and the great horde of “hey David, 70% off” Asian furnishings and oversized celadon pottery had yet to breach the entry. But these days are gone now. The gates have fallen and Robert’s rainforest grows within the bastion walls of my once uncluttered office. Oddly, working amidst the great swath of South Pacific decor and eco-system, the demise of my “man-room” hadn’t even occurred to me until I noticed something in the corner of my beautiful, soon to be overgrown Dutch mahogany desk.
It was a box of tissues. Huh? And the box of tissues was underneath a smart cube of textured blue faux-leather that was embossed with the gilded emblem of the Carleton Club, the quintessential gentleman’s club in London. What?
I have personally never purchased a box of tissues in my entire life, let alone concealed one inside a spiffy Kleenex-cozy. Anything tissues can do, toilet paper can do better. That’s my motto.
Immediately after the significance of this new presence on my desk sank in, I slowly peered out from behind my laptop and the tropical Far East rose before my eyes, ‘too silent to be real’. Lo and behold, I was in the heart of Middle Kingdom, but only really noticing it for the first time. It was too late, the room was lost and the desk was under siege. With great trepidation I looked back over my shoulder to the final stronghold of my “man-closet” that was still, by all appearances, intact. I will be purchasing a lock for it.

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