It seems to be the new in phrase … man caves. From what I can figure out it’s supposed to be a man’s sanctuary, sort of a cross between a bar and a sports arena mixed in with a theatre. I like the idea and it’s about time. I’ve seen numerous examples on the home improvement channels on the television and some of them are down right fantastic and some others were defiantly not designed by men, at least grumpy old men.
I think the idea of a man cave goes way back where the home was decorated to a more gentle, non-offensive taste and not by the bold-in-your face, look-at-me décor that us old farts tend to gravitate towards. Granted there is a place for all the other stuff that goes in the home, like a nice sofa, area rugs, dining room tables, china cabinets, drapes or blinds and, of course, the color selections that go with them. The trouble is we rarely get a say in the selection of said articles and the idea of a man cave came as sort of compensation. I mean where can you hang that master angler trout you’ve got mounted or those deer antlers? In the living room? Good luck with that. I’ve watched some of those home improvement shows and usually the man is relegated to a bobble head figure and is told to agree on what’s going in the home and where it’s going to go. On those shows if the fella decides he wants to put in his two cents worth he is usually ignored or told why he should keep out of it. Some of those hosts wouldn’t get in my front door no matter their credentials.
The man cave is usually located in the basement, far away from the rest of the household and isolated. This is for a good reason. Reason number one has to do with the different forms of entertainment. No man cave is complete without a big screen TV, the bigger the better and it doesn’t matter is there isn’t much room. You can have an 80-inch flat screen HD TV that sits two feet from your couch and to you and your buddies it’s just perfect until someone gets a bigger one. You can’t have just the TV… oh no, you have to have the sound system that goes with it. We aren’t talking about a couple of old stereo speakers, we’re talking surround sound with a sub woofer and multiple speakers placed perfectly to give you the impression that you part of the action on the tube. If you’re watching a MMA fight then you’ll want the black eyes and busted ribs that go with it and with some of those woofers out there it feels like you in the ring and losing. The most difficult part of the whole setup is connecting all those cables to the right outlets and face it most of us can’t even program our cell phones. That’s when you grab your 12-year-old and let them loose and they’ll have everything working fine in under 10 minutes. When you first try it out, if you can’t part your hair and scare the living daylights out of the cat and dog then it’s just not right.
No man cave is complete without some sort of bar. Face it you need somewhere to gather with all the other grumpy old men and tell lies and the more you consume the bigger and better the lies. Along with the bar you can add things like a pool table, if you have the room or a dart board. Now the dart board can be a good idea or a really bad one depending on if you are going to have serious game or whether you want to make you buddy dance as you lob projectiles towards his toes. I have scars from this activity and have retaliated in kind. Some guys have added pin ball machines to their man caves and it’s a good idea if you can afford it. The sofa or the right kind of sofa is a must as well. If your wallets big enough then leather seems to be the fabric of choice. Nothing says man cave like a dead cow. If the cost is too great then you’ll want something where the word firm doesn’t come to mind. If you can sink into it and not see the person next to you then its perfect. When you’ve got everything you need for you man cave then its time to invite the rest of your grumpy old friends and test it out. If you have to shout at the person next to you to communicate, if the place looks like a cross between a dungeon and a biker bar, if it smells like 40 unwashed overweight sumo wrestlers have taken up residence … then it’s just perfect.
Well-known raconteur Len Podbisky is a former Thompson Citizen and Nickel Belt News reporter and former news director of Arctic Radio CHTM-610 AM who now lives in The Pas