Man Caves. Love them? Hate them? Wish you had one for yourself? I have a complicated relationship with my man's cave: It makes me angry. (You too? Aha.)
"Why are you so cranky?" my husband asks me. I just look at him. And then I explode. (Just kidding.)
"Your man cave makes me mad," I reply. Then he either rolls his eyes or laughs—and yes, each reaction makes me a bit more cranky. Chalk it up to a typical married-with-kids scenario, making too many snacks and lunches in a row or busy times at work, but yes, I have a real bitter spot for his Man Cave. I hate it.
Let me get down to the nitty gritty, so you have all the details. His man cave is our detached garage. My man has been known to spend 36 hours a day in there working on very, very special and delicate projects that needs definitive TLC at the highest levels: His current hobby is rebuilding a classic car. If that isn't a true man cave activity, then I don't know what is. (My own dad used to build race cars when I was a little girl—and yes, it made my mom very cranky, too. I guess I should be used to this, but turns out, I'm NOT. I understand now, Mom, I understand.)
Photograph by Jill Simonian
Turns out, I also resent this man cave business as a married mom of two. My judgments have not been respectable lately, oh Man Cave. So far, I've counted 26 thoughts on a repeat cycle in my head every time he retreats to the cave:
1. There are only 936 weekends that happen before a child turns 18 years old and doesn't want to spend full weekends with her family anymore.Your man cave has already sucked away more than 260 of them.
2. I'm lucky to have a husband with a hobby.
3. He works hard, and he deserves to unwind—uninterrupted.
4. It could be worse, he could be bar-hopping.
5. It could be worse, he could be womanizing.
6. It could be way worse, he could be barhopping and womanizing.
7. Get your ass back in this house or else your life might very well turn into a living hell for the next month on account of my cranky attitude.
8. Is this scenario (a man having as much free time as he wants and woman having zero unless she calls a babysitter) happening with all of my friends, too?
9. How do you make man cave arson look like an accidental freak catastrophe?
12. Tomorrow I'm going to get up early and hide before he wakes up so he has no choice but to tend to the kids without me. That'll show him.
13. I'm mean. Why am I so mean?
14. What he's doing in there is productive, creative and therapeutic. It's making him a happier person. Don't I want him to be happy?
15. He never had a man cave before we had kids ...
16. Would I be as irritated if he asked, "Hey, is it cool if I spend all day in the cave?"
17. If he even pretended to ask, instead of just assuming I'm all good with the amount of time he spends in there, I'd be cool.
18. That's it. I'm just gonna drive to a salon and get a manicure, pedicure, facial and massage and then go shopping and spend a million dollars so that he'll see our charges and think twice before going back into the cave and leaving me unattended with credit cards.
19. Going on a shopping spree is a stupid idea.
20. If he gets total control over the garage, then does this mean I have total control over the rest of the house? Maybe I should repaint the walls pink. For ME.
21. Poor guy, he really just loves having alone time and building things and I'm in here complaining about it when he really does do difficult work.
22. If I just locked him in to make a point, would he think it's funny?
23. So-and-so's husband does this, too. It's just part of married life. Totally cool.
24. I should be flattered that he has no doubts or qualms about my abilities to handle the kids and household by myself. He thinks I'm Wonder Woman.
25. If he thinks I'm Wonder Woman then why is he hiding in that cave all the time?
26. Maybe I should start dressing like Wonder Woman. That'll get him out here.
By this time I just start feeling like a mean old bitter witch teetering on some kind of very real edge of insanity. So I asked some of our fabulous Mom.me writers if they had any thoughts about husbands being in man caves.
Gretchen Bossio of That Mama Gretchen offered: "Where is my woman cave? Does he know how hard it is to bathe three kids alone? I should send at least one child in there to keep him company. He'd better be working on my Mother's Day gift."
OK, most of us deal with man caves and most of us don't like 'em. And yes, I probably am envious about not having my own cave. And yes, I realize there are bigger problems than man caves. What's the solution? Who knows. Maybe he'll read this and see the power of words in print? Hmm.
But complaining doesn't help anyone, so I should probably just stop. And maybe paint that wall pink.