Out with the man cave, in with the study

Published 8:00 am Friday, January 1, 2016

I had to inwardly applaud upon spying a post on social media which read “Get rid of the Man Cave and bring back the Study,” illustrated, naturally with side-by-side depictions of one room, garish in brash colors, posters of cheerleaders, vintage beer signs, pool table and a wide screen TV so enormous that one could count the nose hairs during every close-up of Dabo Swinney, while the other room exuded the retreat where the likes of Ward Cleaver would be found, puffing contemplatively on a pipe, tie still intact, but suit jacket replaced by a wool cardigan, as he determined what punishment would be doled out upon Wally and The Beav.

There’s a reason it is called a ‘study:’ built-in bookcases, groaning beneath shelves laden with the Encyclopaedia Britannica (or if Dad was on a shoe-string, the World Book), biographies of Churchill and Jefferson with Lysistrata and A Farewell to Arms sandwiched somewhere in between…this is a place for research, pleasurable reading, intellectual discourse, amidst the agony of Mahler in the background and the offer of another single malt.

And the Man Cave? “WooooooHOO! Day-um, Cam!!!”

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Oh, they both have their place, I suppose, and one would naturally be lured into the Man Cave as soon as the scent of chicken wings began to permeate the air, but I miss the study and all it represents of a kinder, more thoughtful, America (maybe we’ve never really been that, but, you know, when Eddie Haskell was the worst villain on television), only to be replaced by what is now commonly known as ‘The Media Room’ and all its electronic modern conveniences. It reminds me of comedian James Gregory’s musings that the American family began to go downhill, losing all neighborly contact, when people stopped building porches on the front of their houses and instead, stuck decks out the back. The same rather applies to the gradual diminishing of gentlemanly pursuits.

So I figure if you guys no longer feel the need for a study, hands up, ladies, what do you say we just take them? I see a surge of She Sheds and Woman Wooms on the horizon, all filled with Edwardian writing desks, silver tea services, and chintz covered chaise lounges, with bookshelves filled with Jane Austen for as far as the eye can see. The perfect sanctuary that beckons close friends to linger over glasses of claret and wallow in all things Downton Abbey until jerked back to the 21st century by your nine year old’s soccer practice.

All through history, it’s been the norm for husbands and wives to have their own, private, quarters, right? Surely you’ve toured Biltmore and seen the separate bedrooms? Nowadays, according to sniping couples on House Hunters, it appears only separate sinks will save a splintering marriage. I’m willing to bet the advent of She Sheds and Man Caves will truly bring lasting wedded bliss. With any luck, we’ll only bump into each other on holidays!