If you’re are planning to buy, or recently bought a house, put your priorities before anyone else in the family… at some point.
And then… the time came when the Neanderthal left his cave dwelling. He evolved. His cognitive abilities exploded. He went forth and embraced the concept of ‘society’ as a Homo Sapien. The light of day broke yonder and…
Back up a second! Tell me again why he left the cave? These dwellings are safe, dry from precipitation and, if well ventilated, a roasting fire provides the opportunity to enjoy cooked meat and warm surroundings.
Why are we so f*cking civilized all the time? Our ancestors didn’t need ‘accent walls’… they simply needed… WALLS!
Make your Neanderthal forefathers proud and carve out a place for yourself in your new home. And if we are going back in history, you and I are related. Here’s some advice from a 400th cousin based on our shared Neanderthal-come-Homo Sapien DNA.
If you’re buying a brand new home, in a great school district with plenty of rooms, you’re likely broke. I speak from experience. It took me eleven years to create a man cave for myself. When we bought our modest house in a town with great schools, I threw up in my mouth several times when we signed the mortgage papers.
Here’s the truth – you will not get a man cave right away. Your wife’s priorities come first. If a child is on the way, your man cave plans and the sketch you made on paper will be used as toilet paper when your wife goes into fulltime-nesting mode. And if you push it, she will go Neanderthal on your ass and whack your head with a (golf) club. Kids come first! Assemble the crib, piss boy!
You will also have another remodeling project that is higher in priority. Despite your 2005 remodeled bathroom, those black floor tiles have to go. Get over it… and accept the fact that you will have to bend over for it… to give your wife what she wants. She deserves it.
Then… and only then, is your time to strike! If you’re the breadwinner, you earned yourself a man cave. A stay-at-home dad? You changed enough diapers to earn it. Both parents working? Half the house is yours, screw everyone else, you earned it!
Henceforth are the five rules to abide by when you create a man cave for yourself. Accommodation will not be made for anyone, and if your mother-in-law complains about your plans, banish her from the cave.
#5) Room to work with: If it is not a room in-and-of itself, there must be enough space to accommodate a couch, a comfortable chair and a flat surface to do whatever the hell you want. If you want to geek out and game with nerd friends over the internet, so be it.
#4) Decorations: Things do not have to match, wall colors do not require ‘punch,’ and what you choose to do is your choice alone. If it connects to a bigger room, like a basement, wall color will represent a negotiation with your wife, accept this fact. Your core man cave area? You can put whatever the hell you want on the walls, sans nude women.
#3) The Dream: It could be a jam studio to rehearse (soundproof), movie watching (projector & screen recommended), sodering (use that funky Iron-Man helmet thing for God’s sake) or even a battleship model you glue together. Don’t let your dreams die with the cavemen! Do what YOU want to do in your space, and if anyone questions your logic, simply reply, “I don’t give a f*ck!”
#2) The Screams: You are likely a thoughtful and caring father. You will remain so when you are present and accounted for when your children, spouse and perhaps when your in-laws are in town for an extended stay. If at all possible, install a door to insulate you from the chaos of family life. The door should preferably have a lock.
#1) Time: That’s what this is all about. It will take time to design and create your man cave. You will need money as well, which takes time to save. You will have other financial priorities 99% of the time but the day will come when you can carve some time out for yourself in order to have some time to yourself. And, the time you set aside for yourself will make you more amicable, cheery and accommodating when you spend time with family and friends.
Case in point on #1 – My son woke up at 6:30 am. He sauntered into my man cave and we tooled around on my computer. He inquired and held one of my man cave decorations (an ostrich egg from Africa, don’t ask). At 6:55 I booted him OUT of my MAN CAVE in order to write this article!
Which is for a blog dedicated to men who are working hard to be the best dads they can be. So there, I’m not entirely selfish.
Don’t sacrifice the dream. Keep it alive and one day your man cave will become a reality.
Before and After Shots / My Man Cave:
BEFORE: The original crypt that was my basement. Would you like another serving of mold and dead bugs? It was so bad, I put glue strips beside the outside door entrance to the basement to stop the infestation. It kind of worked. This was original to the home, built when Elvis was a pre-teen.
AFTER: The walls were sealed and I had a carpenter build this bookcase from scratch. Hidden above the wooden beam is a projector screen that drops down mechanically – I got that off CraigsList for $150 bucks! I cut corners to afford the bookcase, and when I was done, I had honestly had nothing left in the bank. Cry me a river.
COOL SH!T: A Fijian War Club. The flat end was used to bludgeon someone on the head. The ‘V’ gap was then placed squarely on the victim’s neck in order to snap it. I got this on our honeymoon – nothing says romance like a death mallet!
MORE COOL SH!T: I used an empty scotch container filled with coins as a bookend. I finished the bottle before I finished the man cave. I found the ashtray when I was cleaning out my deceased mother’s house. My hope is, when she traveled to Egypt, she liberated it from the hotel where she was staying. Suckers!
OLD-SCHOOL SH!T: Electronic toys from my youth! If you recognize these, you’re a pure-bred Gen ‘Xer. If not, don’t bother to ask because you won’t understand what the hell I’m talking about.