Some guys go all-out when it comes to creating the ultimate retreat from color coordinated bedding, pink bath salts and vases of fresh flowers infiltrating your shared home. From "offices" that could double as an Irish pub to state of the art media rooms, the possibilities for his dudes-only enclave are endless. It is there that he can freely shoot darts next to a life-sized Homer Simpson figure while wearing his old college football helmet. Or he can watch an entire season of The West Wing in a recliner held together by duct tape. Or he can invite his music-loving buddies over for jam sessions (just hope that the walls are sound proofed).
Other man caves aren't so elaborate, but still provide great benefits, like much-needed storage space for all 3,000 of his identical J. Crew sweaters and a place to hang a quite horrifying Willy Nelson silkscreen. The man cave can also work in your favor, if he has to wake up for work a lot earlier than you. He can lay out his clothes in the cave the night before, and suit up for the day while you continue to get your beauty sleep uninterrupted by drawers slamming and closets sliding.
For some couples, like Yasmin and John, a man cave is an absolute necessity. According to Yasmin, the purpose of their man cave is two-fold; to keep the house free of clutter (including John's massive book collection, electronics, pizza boxes and bank statements from 10 years ago) and to give John some personal space. "Apparently men do this thing dubbed 'fire-gazing.' When they come home from work, they don't want to hear about your day or talk about theirs. They want to decompress. The man cave is the fire-gazing zone where John basks in the glow of his multiple computer monitors in his boxers, watching a TV show on one screen, reading the paper on another screen, and playing his Xbox on the third screen … all at the same time."
While a man cave clearly serves many purposes, an unkempt one can lead to trouble. Yasmin explains, "Something we still need to work on is the fact that the man cave is where dishes and empty pizza boxes go to die. I used to worry about the cats swallowing something or getting crushed under a pile of books. I've learned that they're nimble enough to navigate the man cave, though they don't usually like to go in there."
So long as pets are unharmed, women everywhere are embracing man caves, rooms and basements. But it does raise the question: Is it unfair that men primarily get this use of space? Yasmin doesn't think so. "The truth is that giving John the man cave basically gives me free range of the rest of the house. So really, it works out best for both of us."
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