Inside every man beats the heart of a cave man, only a few rungs up the societal evolutionary ladder from eating raw meat, wearing animal skins and drawing on our cave walls.
Men cook their meat these days. But they still love their caves.
For many men, married or living with a significant other, the “man cave” has become the most important room in the house. It is celebrated on TV, in advertising and on websites where proud men show off their caves.
Not that it has to be a cave, though an inordinate number seem to be in basements and garages. It’s separated from the rest of the house, and, most importantly, it’s theirs.
“It’s that space to decorate, where a lot of times the woman in the house does all the decorating and that’s the one place the guy gets to do it his way,” said Steve Gagliano, of Austin, Texas, whose website mancavegifts.com caters to the modern cave dweller.
Every man cave is different, but there are a few things common to many:
• Alcohol: Not every man drinks, and not every man cave is full of alcohol, but let’s face it, many are. A bar with a beer-tap system and well-stocked liquor cabinet can be a great place to relax with a drink after a hard day of work. Invite some friends over and you can feel like you’re at your favorite watering hole. Many men brew beer in their man caves.
• Sports memorabilia: How could your wife not want that commemorative 1998 Denver Broncos Super Bowl plaque hanging in the living room? How could she not see the decorative value of the sweat-encrusted John Elway jersey signed by the man himself? What about that bobblehead that only the first 20,000 fans at the Rockies game received? A man cave is a place to show your love for your favorite teams and athletes.
• Television: The bigger, the better. The louder, the better. Just be sure if it’s the only television in the house, you have extra seating and flexibility with the remote control, as your cave might frequently have guests.
• Toys: Because you can’t spend all your time drinking beer and watching football. Many grown-up boys play video games in their man caves. Others buy pool or ping-pong tables.
• Decoration: This is open-ended. Decorate it with whatever you like. Favorites include fluorescent signs for cheap American beers, concert posters from the 1970s, placards of John Wayne movies and anything with Claudia Schiffer.
It might seem that a man cave is a place for men to hide from their wives.
Not so. In fact, it can be a healthy place for a marriage.
Colorado Springs marriage and family therapist Sara Sugerman, of the Great Relationships Education Center, said couples having an argument often retreat to their own “caves” to think things through and avoid saying something hurtful. A woman’s cave might be the garden, or going for a hike in the woods, a “time and emotional cave.”
“I think it’s certainly not unique to men, that we all need our caves, so to speak. We need a physical place where we can go and think about things and gather our thoughts and track our emotions and get in touch with what’s going on,” Sugerman said.
And for many men, track the score of the Broncos game and get in touch with their video games.