Monday, July 27, 2009

The "Man Room"

My obsession with HGTV real estate porn continues, despite what should be a housing hang over after the crash in the market. Safely ensconced in my two bedroom 1928 apartment filled with period details and a brand new kitchen, decorated with 1930s-1940s furniture and tchotchkes, I watch horrified as boring couples buy McMansions in suburbia. Aside from the ubiquitous hardwood-double sink-granite counter tops (a new requisite is that it should be a full slab, never stop at the edge and be set into wood )- stainless steel-two or three car garage- open kitchen litany of United States utopian home-owning, a new sinister area has come into view. The "Man Room" (alt "Man Cave") Not only is there no possible area in my home that could constitute this thing called a "Man Room" but there isn't really any indication that a man would ever live here, that is, unless he is called Pedro Almodovar, I guess.

This fantasy Shangri La known as the "Man Room" is apparently meant to house things like massive plasma TVs, bars, refrigerators, pool tables, speakers, guitars, and drum sets, bean bags, La-Z-Boy recliners, leather sectionals, as well as enormous collections of sports memorabilia (football and baseball). Fully-grown men become as excited as little dogs at the sight of a chew toy when they consider this fantasy space. Often these areas are found in basements, relegating the men to a nether-region of the home normally associated with humidity, flooding, vermin, washers and dryers, and storage areas. Linked in my mind with the Brady Bunch episode where the kids argue over an unused attic which Greg turns into a groovy room/chill out area, such liminal areas of the home are not considered premium real estate. Greg's room might well be a precursor to the Man Room. And these men seem child-like to me, with a teenager's enthusiasm for the idea of their own little room to run away from spousal responsibilities and drink beer while watching the Phillies with their buddies, enjoying their homosocial space of bromance in peace.


The women all gamely go along with this. Perhaps they want the men to get out of their hair?

What I want to know is, where is the "Woman Room"? A room of one's own? A room withe Yellow Wallpaper, perhaps? That's not discussed, although these women do seem to get awfully worked up over spa tubs, little window seats (where they read Harlequin romances?), and large open kitchens so they can "watch the kids play in the garden from the window while I wash the dishes," (hello? WTF is the stainless steel dishwasher for then?) and "interact with our guests in the great room while I cook." Maybe the man is entitled to have his "Man Room" after all, I mean, the woman has her bathroom, closets (preferably walk-in), and kitchen, right?