In the winter my basement stays warm with little help needed from the heating system. In the summer, it stays cool without the aid of air conditioning. Some say the reason for its self-sufficiency is simple: it’s underground.
But I know better. In reality, it’s its own beast—a living eco-system. You can feel it breathing as you descend. It tries to keep quiet, but the occasional clangs, clicks and booms from the boiler room give it away.
I’d like to share the story with you of exactly how the beast came alive.
It started with a monstrous bean bag chair. It was a wonderful present from my wife. But once it started taking over the family room, we thought it’d be best to set it free in the basement.
The basement happily consumed the overstuffed chair. That is when the change started. All of a sudden, it wanted more. The large, empty basement called to me. It needed more. Next came the Playstation, some amps and guitars, the electric piano, a mini-fridge, a drum that doubles as an end table.
With the addition of the pool table that converts into an air hockey table, the metamorphosis was complete.
To my shock, the hungry hole at the bottom of the stairs had become a man cave! What is a man cave you ask?
Mancavesite.org defines a man cave as “A dedicated area of a house, such as a basement, workshop, or garage, where a man can be alone or socialize with his friends.” But that doesn’t quite cut it.
Urbandictionary.com defines it as “An emotional sanctuary for men when they’re stressed and need ‘space’ or time away from females, responsibilities, etc.”
But the first law of the land when it comes to man caves is, phrases like “emotional sanctuary” cannot be used.
A co-worker defined it as “a fortress of solitude.” Now that’s a lot closer!
A man cave is a place where your beard grows a little quicker. The more time I spent in the basement, the more I felt at home there. More than “at home,” I felt at ease–like my new cave was providing a place where the less evolved root of my psyche could recover from doilies and throw pillows.
As with any newly established territory, I thought it would be a good idea to lay down some laws.
Tom Waits would be the music of choice, played in heavy rotation. The toilet seat must be left up. Shoes do not need to be removed before entering. The only form of exercise endorsed is push-ups. Yoga may not be practiced. Women and children enter at their own risk.
Things to be kept in a man cave can include: video games, pool table, air hockey table, foosball table, posters, movies, instruments, awkward furniture (see leg lamp in the movie “A Christmas Story”), mini-fridge, trophies, black light, black light posters, bar, barstools, bean bag chairs, sports memorabilia, poker table, folding chairs.
The man cave’s power grew as it established itself. No longer was I the only one who could hear it calling. Friends also felt the pull.
My brother-in-law heard the call of the air hockey table. My friend Phil was drawn to its coolness in the summer heat. Already armed with the mini-fridge from my college days, my dad started making a man cave of his own.
“There’s something about underground basements,” my friend Phil said as he re-surfaced from one of his many visits.
“Yes, there certainly is,” I said with a devilish gleam in my eye. “There certainly is…”
Thinking back, maybe my basement wasn’t an omnivorous orifice looking to take over the entire house, maybe it was just my primitive subconscious looking for a way to MAN-ifest itself!