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Sunday May 6, 2012

Oh, for a man cave

Every guy needs a bastion of manliness, where he can indulge his inner child and return to simpler times.

AN unfortunate circumstance of living in Hong Kong is that unless you’re a highly paid banker, the entitled spawn of a millionaire, or have married into money, you’re probably living in a space that would be a closet in another country.

Yes Malaysia, I live in your closet.

Not that I need a ton of space but as guys grow up (am I grown up yet?) the need for what I’ve always called “The Room of Jay” or what has been popularised in media as a “man cave” becomes more necessary.

Ashley Wood’s moody soldier: Do I really want to stare at him on my wall day in and day out? Maybe in a man cave.

Every man needs a man cave for a few reasons. The first is that every single grown man has a giddy, idiotic, 14-year-old inside of him. This inner teenager realises he’s got a credit card and is just aching to wallpaper his otherwise mature, well-adjusted home with posters of bikini girls and Modern Warfare and eat nothing but bacon wrapped Jolly Ranchers. This is the endless deep-seated psychological conflict of man. Literally man; I’m not sure what the conflict is for women – reconciling buying shoes or cosmetics, I suppose.

A case in point is a recent art exhibition I went to for Ashley Wood. Wood, if you don’t know, is a former illustrator for Marvel and DC comics who has brought this style to paintings, and typically his work is all kinds of incredible.

From giant gun-carrying robots in wispy smoke blown landscapes to gas mask-wearing WWII era-inspired soldiers on a break from apparently fighting zombies, Wood is the official painter of my inner teenager. And as much as I love the artistic flair he brings to these huge comic book panels painted in oil, my adult side knows that I can’t hang a scene of a long-legged vixen riding the shoulder of a giant robot into battle in the middle of my living room.

I mean I could, but it’d be a little weird – even for me.

Now if I lived in a place that had a room I could dedicate to my inner boy, I could put unlimited amounts of zombie battling robots on my walls and combine that with a nice lazy boy and a giant TV on which I can play Call of Duty 4 and Starcraft 2 to my heart’s content with a bowl of buttery popcorn or Twizzlers never more than arm’s length away.

The danger of not having such a room is that the whims of my inner brat could spill over into my adult world and I would endlessly be explaining why I have a painting of a zombie cowboy riding a ghost horse to foie gras-eating house guests.

All right, I have never and will never serve foie gras, but I’m trying to make a point.

The visible clashing of your inner 14-year-old and your adult self, it ... well ... it clashes.

The second reason why guys need a buffer zone for their inner child is that if you live with a girlfriend, wife, sister, girl roommate, or have a female who stays over one night a week, then your home has no doubt become monopolised by nonsensical throw cushions, mirrors with brightly coloured borders, and a variety of cute candle holders that will never house a burning candle.

A man’s will and strength rarely extends to overpowering a woman’s will for decorating interiors and thus most men are forced into emasculated existences as they’re chided for leaving the toilet seat up and must endure all manner of air freshening devices that reek of flowery old women.

Men need that bastion of manliness in their lives lest they become meek shadows of their former selves. We need some place we can shut the door and roar in proud manliness and beat our chests in conquest. In modern terms this means burp and celebrate our victory against preteen gamers in an Xbox session. Immature, surely, but nonetheless necessary.

Finally, a man cave is a return to simpler times. Too often we look back on our childhood as a simpler time – be sure things were no simpler – but we sure were. No mortgages, no loans, our most complicated relationship with a girl was controlling the urge to pull little Jenny’s pigtails and run away squealing. We were different, all of us.

A man cave can be a return to that simplicity, even if just for a few moments a day. A return to a world dominated by the triviality of games and sports greats. A calming oasis.

Yep, a man cave sure sounds sweet but in my tiny apartment in Hong Kong I’ll probably have to settle for a man nook. It’s a start.

Jason Godfrey can be seen hosting The LINK on Life Inspired (Astro B.yond Ch 706).

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