Not Born Yesterday

Doing the write thing.

The Ultimate Man Cave

No women allowed

To a slightly dyslexic person like me, the words "man cave" can be mistaken for "cave man," but whoever coined the phrase "man cave" probably had prehistoric creatures in mind anyway. A recent article on the subject made me wonder if women aren't being left out in the cold, so to speak. 

A workshop I can understand. Most wives would approve of keeping the sawdust and the sound of power tools out in the garage. But now I learn that some "man caves" go far beyond mere places to pursue hobbies or make furniture, judging by an article in my local paper titled, "The Ultimate Man Cave." In it, the author asks his male readers what they would do with some $700,000 they might have lying around, then goes on to tell what one guy in our community did with that much hard cash. And what he did was to build himself a jaw-dropping retreat filled with his "toys."

I won't mention the man's name or the location of the property, which would be an invasion of privacy, but I think I can safely describe the place. (Although it almost defies description!)  I can tell you that the owner is in his mid-fifties and a retired corporate jet pilot. The job must have paid extremely well, but he says he left because he wanted to dial back and start doing something else.

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It helps to know that his three main interests are woodworking, music and cars, not necessarily in that order. But, let's start with the wood shop -- and what any carpenter would be thrilled to call his own. It occupies half of a 4,000 square foot barn-like structure built from sustainably harvested redwood, which has double rolling barn doors for bringing in Paul Bunyan-sized logs for milling. There is every kind of power tool known to man (he does make some furniture out there). Skylights throughout the building make it a pleasant, light-filled place to work and play.

Occupying the other 2,000 square feet of space in wings off the main room are what he calls his "big-boy toys" on one side -- an Italian sports car, American muscle car and classic motorcycle -- and on the other, a soundproof recording studio (he plays both guitar and drums), and an office for playing video games, watching sports and DVDs on a 60-inch flat screen TV. 

The man says he is living his dream, and who could argue with that? Every morning he leaves the house and heads down the hill on his five-acre property tucked away in a redwood forest to spend the day with his toys and hobbies. He contends that it satisfies his artistic needs, keeps his brain functioning, and helps him stay young and interested in life. At the end of the day he walks back up the hill to his house, feeling as if he has been at work in a job he loves. You could call it a golden retirement, and one that not many men can match or even come close to matching.

You could also say that the guy appears to have everything, and that includes an attractive wife. In one picture she is seated on the back of his Harley-Davidson. Her expression is difficult to read. What is she thinking? More to the point, what does she do all day while he is off playing with his "big-boy toys" and pursuing his hobbies in a place where no woman is permitted to enter?

Personally, I don't envy her. On the other hand, I hear wives complaining all the time about their husbands' retirement years, when they are either underfoot and in the way, or turning into couch potatoes.

If those are the alternatives, I suppose I would prefer that my "cave man" have a "man cave." 

E. E. Smith is a playwright and book author. Her new series of murder mysteries debuted in 2013. The first is titled Death by Misadventure. 

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