Ben Kweller--"Sawdust Man" (mp3)
It's pretty clear from chatter between me and Billy that there's a lot of Spring cleaning or something going on. Right now, every single room in my house is in total chaos--the sun porch is to become an extension of the living room, which means I had to get all of my music and guitars and folk art and random stuff out, but where to go? To the basement, of course. But the basement was my daughter's room, and now that she's home for Spring Break, she wants to get her new room on the second floor set up, but that means all of the extraneous stuff in that guest room--suitcases, baby mementos, books, an extra bed--has to come out. And where will it go? Into the hallway, which is now so narrow that one small slip and you're over the banister head first.
Which means time to retreat into the basement and to create a new "man room."
Doesn't every house ( that contains adults of both sexes) have some kind of a man room? The basic negotiation between husband and wife goes something like this:
"Honey, I'll give you the entire house, including rooms you can fix up perfectly and never let anyone even set foot in them, as long as you will give some area, even a closet or a cubbyhole that I can make into my man room."
"Baby, why can't we just share the whole house?"
"Because I have to have a man room."
"To do what?"
"And I can have the rest of the house to fix up however I want?"
"Of course, honey."
"Okay, it's a deal," she will say, knowing that eventually she will find some way to take over the man room or at least start cluttering it with storage items and piles of unfolded laundry.
I have a friend who had a "man cave." It was a little house out behind his regular house. Of course, it didn't have running water or heat, but I think there was an electrical plug in there somewhere that worked and I think we met there once for Monday Night Football, glorying in the sense of roughing it and the pioneer spirit. While his wife reclined in the well-lit, warm house, flipping through a magazine. We ate some kind of man food, too. Probably cooked over open fire.
I suppose it needs to be said that a workroom, tool shed, garage or any other place where chores are meant to be done or to be avoided, is certainly a manly place, but it is not a man room. It also needs to be said, "Pity the fool who thinks that the family den or tv room is his man room!" Finally, it needs to be said that if you saw the movie Juno, then you know how in the hands of the wealthy and creepy (the Justin Bateman character), the man room can become an abomination. It cannot be filled with expensive things that a metrosexual has treated himself to. Yeesh.
HERE'S YOUR SELF-CHECK TO SEE IF YOU HAVE A PROPER MAN ROOM:
1. Things do not match.
2. Remembrances of things past, especially previous lives abound. These might include outmoded forms of music reproduction, photographs, letters, books and yearbooks, games, mugs or plates or mementos that fit the decorating scheme of a college dorm room or first apartment, but no longer seem to go with the "vision" of the current adult home.
3. If you look around, you will find at least one beer cap, if not an empty bottle or two that has rolled under the couch.
4. The space is deficient in some key way--it lacks heat, it leaks, there are squirrels living above it, Brown Recluse spiders thrive there, it has that "musty" smell, etc.
5. It contains "toys"--guitars, games, golf clubs, handheld electronics like Game Gear, Walkmen, or other items that may or may not still work, depending on the efficacy of the batteries that have been in them for the last 5 years.
What do you mean you don't have one? If you build it, they will come. At least the spiders.