Castle or Time-share?

by Steve on January 7, 2007

Used to be that a man’s home was his castle. Not so much these days. Were it still so I doubt very much that you would see the trends in modern building that are so prevalent in today’s up-scale neighborhoods. A while back I wrote about the term “retrosexual.” Well add this one to your vocabulary as well: “manspace.” It’s legit – there’s even a book and a website about the phenomenon.

Back in the day there was no need for such a label – every room in a sense was a “man’s space” since they all were protected by the roof of his castle, the one that he provided for his wife and heirs. But that was 30-40 years ago. We’ve evolved since then. In today’s cosmopolitan society of dual incomes and decorated show homes, the male realm within the homestead has been significantly reduced. We have continually lost sovereign territory over the last few decades to the point that we are lucky to retain a room or two with which to assert our maleness. The rest of the house is lost with little or no input required or requested as to its use, color, or furnishings. Survival has brought us to the advent of the “manspace.” In most cases we have managed to hold the line at the threshold of a study or home office and maintain majority control over the garage. Even the study is sometimes lost when the number of children in the house matches or exceeds the spare rooms. At some point in this territorial conquest it was decided that each child must have their own room. This was probably done at the same union meeting which proclaimed that every sixteen-year-old must be given a car for their birthday.

My brother and I shared a room up until the point that the fighting became more than my parents could stand. But I digress – back to the concept of manspace. I have a nice study complete with my Navy “I-love-me-wall” adorned with various framed documents and group photos of young men standing proudly in front of old jets. In that room I’m surrounded by things that define who I am: antique snowshoes and fishing rods handed down by my grandfathers, an old double barrel shotgun from the family farm, a large map of Maine for planning great adventures, and even a few trophies from the taxidermist’s shop. Looking back at how the house evolved after daughter departed, I think the study may have been a solution to the female problem of containing the “man-stuff.”

Hearing me laugh as I was surfing this new term, the wife inquired as to the cause of the humor. Upon hearing the explanation she laughed as well but there was an underlying tone that worried me. She glanced at the 10-point buck staring at her from its perch on the wall and as she crossed the threshold on her way out, she commented, “As long as you realize where the borders are.”

H/T to Cassandra for enlightening me.

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