Tag Archives: Trends

To Mancave or Not to Mancave? That is the question.

Mancave, noun: A room, space, corner or area of a dwelling that is specifically reserved for a male person to be in solitary condition, away from the rest of the household in order to work, play, involve himself in certain hobbies, activities without interruption.

– Urban Dictionary

Grunt.

I am also pounding on my chest but because I’m not so well versed in the art of You-Tube and I still don’t know how to work my webcam (do I even HAVE a webcam?), you won’t get to see it.

I’m not hairy (save for several random hairs on my big toe, what’s with that?!). I regularly purchase and use deodorant. I don’t club my women. Well actually, I don’t club men either (I prefer my date alive thankyouverymuch). And my teeth are regularly inspected by a member of the American Dental Association. So I utter a few grunts and groans when falling out of bed each morning.  And yes, I CAN apply for car insurance online.  I think that this means, by last count, that I am not a caveman. Score!

*makes note on resume*

Granted, I’m not your normal guy. I don’t do sports (and by don’t do I mean don’t do without a drink in my hand). I’ve never read Playboy (by read I mean read without a drink in my hand).  And I’ve never fist-bumped three of my other buddies because a really big guy in tight pants carried a Stewie shaped ball over a white line and did a “Hand to Jesus” move.  Big shocker right?  Should I make a Steelers joke right now?  Probably not… don’t want to lose the one reader I have from Pittsburgh.

So, Mancave. Let’s talk about this for a minute. The last time I checked, we’d made it past the evolutionary stages whereby we all walked as if we lived in a French bell-tower (ie: hunched over), grunted our orders, and screamed Yabba-Dabba-Do at the top of our lungs. This isn’t the stone age and a great majority of us haven’t eaten Dinosaur in years (Though I’ve heard it’s quite a delicacy). Yes guys, I know the Mancave is that one space in the house that is all yours.  With the “Keep Out Girls” sign on the door even though Pamela Anderson has held a place of honor on the wall since her first surgery.  You know what I’m talking about.

“Everytime I hear the word Mancave I’m struck by what a giant step backward it is.  Does making a room sound like it has Neanderthal-esque appeal make it more attractive?”

– Meredith Heron Meredith Heron Design

Sure.  It is the one place in the house that you are free to do guy things.  Like play X-Box.  Or watch football.  Or fart.  And yes, some of these actions may seem a little caveman-esque (if I hear “There is more room on the outside” one more time…) but isn’t calling your room your cave just shy of asking to be hairy and grunty again? Bears live in caves. Cavemen live(d) in caves. Trolls live in caves.  Scratch that.  Trolls live under bridges.  But men, we have this great thing the Oxford English Dictionary calls a vocabulary.  Say it with me. VOC-AB-U-LARY.  I tend to think of the great TV men.  Dick Van Dyke. Darren Stevens. Al Bundy. None of them had a Mancave. Van Dyke had a study (and a chair with a really dangerous ottoman). Darren had his office (which I believe was actually immune to his mother in law).  Al Bundy had a toilet in his garage.

Call me old fashioned but isn’t referring to our “space” as the Mancave, no matter how we say it (try it with an English accent, it’s fun!) a little disrespecting?  A little self-depreciating? We’re men yes.  Are we gentlemen?  Some of us. But are we cavemen?  Not unless you’re in a Geico commercial. So what’s the point of referring to ourselves as such?

Before you get your knickers in a bunch (another indicator that we are definitely not cavemen – we wear underwear; most of us anyway), I know that it all comes down to semantics. That Mancave is nothing more than a word.  That in the end, it all comes down to one of man’s most essential needs (after bourbon, football, and sex).  Personal Space.

“In my vernacular, the media/theater room is a space for the entire family; whereas the Mancave is just for the men of the house to be a testosterone-filled play area.  I love the idea of men and women having separate spaces to relax.”

– Angel Robinson Write Robinson Couture Stationery

I totally get it.  The further along you are in life, the more chance there is that people are encroaching on your personal space. Usually it’s little people and they’re trying to play with your toys.  That’s Daddy’s Playstation, Junior!  Steve and I are only two people with a dog and even that can be enough to drive me to drinking. As such, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a room or a space or at least a futon of one’s own.  A domain that isn’t public territory.  To be the master of your own land. It is totally key and although it doesn’t necessarily need a door, it should become a personal reflection of its owner.

BUT, and this is the big but, can we please open up the dictionary and call it something OTHER than a Mancave?  Study. Library.  Mantuary.  Salle des Hommes. My personal preference?  Lair.

And ladies, naming a room is like naming his … um… tool.  When he comes up with his own personalized tag (because you’ve tazed him every time he said Mancave) don’t laugh.  Especially when he calls it “Grawl’s Room of Magical Delights”. Just giggle under your breath and offer him another beer.

Thoughts?

Images via: ScrapeTv, GQ, Toonpool

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Brass Kicks Ass. At least that is what Chuck Norris says.

Brass, noun: Any of various metal alloys consisting mainly of copper and zinc.

Once upon a time, the 5th millenium BC to be exact, the Chinese (overachievers) stumbled upon this natural metallic material.  This material, a low composition of zinc and copper, was a distinctive golden color.  So golden and so rare that Plato determined Oreichalkos to be as valuable as gold itself.  He was a smart man.  I think he was anyway.  Someone told me he was and since he was probably a question on a test I took around two decades ago, let’s just assume he was.

Fast forward a few millenia later and by the 1st century, brass had soared in popularity. The Romans were pretty hot for it.  Later on (a few more years later… or so Wiki says) the Byzantines and the Nords and the Italians were all over Brass like a horny teenager at a pre-70’s Sophia Loren movie.  Seriously.  They were smelting and oxifying and fill-in-random-scientific-term-here at a crazy pace.  And then builders go a hold of it.  I don’t mean builders in 19th century English castles turning out seriously sexy Edwardian faucetry with brass as the main component.  And I certainly don’t mean any number of 1950’s and 1960’s quintessential designers applying the brass element to their still popular creations.

I mean builders in the late 80’s and 90’s.  Do you guys hear me?  It’s your fault!  So they took it and ran with it.  By this point, brass had gone through its puberty and was now just the awkward 35 year old with no kids and a separated marriage.  It was cheap and wound up on everyone’s cabinetry in middle America. (God I love metaphors).  Seriously, you builders almost ruined what Plato called a “Precious metal”.  Bastards.

Anyway…. Brass is back.  And it kicks Ass. Big Time.  Call it what you will if it makes you feel better – gold, antique bronze, that yellowish metal. It’s probably a harkening back to the golden metals of the 1960’s. Or it could be that we’re so into rescuing ancient architecture and there is just no way that blackened steel is going to work in the Loo of an Edwardian manse.  That is unless you’re Sting.  Or Madonna.  But we know blackened steel in a 19th century castle is faking it.  Like Madonna.

Whatever the reason, designers are craving the warm glow of unlacquered brass.  It was once nickel that was the rage.  Then stainless steel.  And hell, chrome showed up in there too.  But I think the general public is tired of all that silver.  Once the entire faucet aisle of Home Depot glistened with silvery blandness, it was time to make a switch.

Personally I’m loving brass right now.  It has a certain glow that exudes warmth.  It gleams of unpretentious-ness but screams “I’m different”.  Used in small amounts it changes an interior unlike any chrome/nickel/steel product ever can.

A tip?  Don’t over do it. Don’t go all crazy and plate every metallic element in your house brass.  Your house will look like you walked though the wrong aisle at the flea market.  Seriously, remember that Plato and the Romans thought of Brass as a metal not unlike Gold.  Use it sparingly but use it in unexpected ways.  Seat backs are one (see the Klismos seat backs above).

And keep in mind that color is important!  Later cheap brass has that horrible jaundiced yellow tinge. We hate that.  My mother had a brass baker’s rack in that color and I’m still telling my therapist about it.  Go for warmer tones.  Look for brass with higher copper contents and of course, that heavenly reddish undertone.

Did you know there are approximately 22 different types of Brass? Including one called Prince Rupert.

Anyway…. don’t listen to the nay sayers.  Are you looking for something a little different?  A little out of the norm?  A little less “I shopped for all my fixtures in a box the size of Rhode Island”? Then try out some brass. I kid you not you’ll love it.

Repeat after me – “Brass Kicks Ass!”

This has been a public service announcement.

Images via: Inspired Design, Lindsey Adelman, Bijou and Boheme, La Dolce Vita, Tracery Interiors

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