Saturday, November 15, 2008

Men Need Their Space

My eldest son Greg just a signed a purchase agreement on a home located in a village near here. Now, instead of indulging his semi-nomadic life of living from lease to lease in various apartments, he may soon become a homeowner at the ripe old age of 26.

What does this mean for me? For one, I can finally move out all his old belongings that he's stored here for years. For instance, there's a couple old road signs that used to hang in his room. They're official highway signs. One says Speed Limit 45. The other, No Parking This Side of the Street. I'm not even sure it was legal to buy them. I bought them at his request from a flea market vendor.

When he gets his house, the signs can adorn his space. I told him he must claim an area of the house to be "his space." His wife-to-be (they're set to marry next May) can visit, clean it, whatever, but he needs to decorate and furnish it to suit his taste. Probably a poster of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model wouldn't be such a good idea. Maybe a full-sized poster of Tom Brady or something like that instead.

"Every man needs his own space in a house," I said. It could be a study, a workshop, part of the garage, or maybe a little den with a bar or poker table. Just something that says, "Guy space."

I mentioned this to my sister-in-law when we were at her house recently and she responded, "Just where is my space then?" I waved my arms to indicate that the kitchen was her domain. She didn't seem to embrace that suggestion.

Do women really need private space of their own? I honestly don't know. Not like guys do, I think. I mean, women don't have the equivalent of hunting camps do they?

Wendy has a separate room of her own down the basement, across from my study. At various times, we've both called it a sewing room but right now we use it for storage basically.

Our youngest son Scott still has his own bedroom here. Though he comes home less frequently with each passing year, it remains pretty close to the way it did when he was attending high school. It's still his space. Among his collections are posters of his favorite Simpsons characters, a baseball cap collection and various stuffed animals from his younger years.

Men having our own space is part of our nature. Look at it from a historical perspective, from the pyramids of Egypt right down to the Oval Office in the White House. When you think of it, it's all a way of man claiming his own space.

Well, it's late and I need to finish this and go to bed. Speaking of space issues, my wife has been claiming that I have been taking up more than my share of space in bed lately, I try to stay on my side but sometimes I sprawl when I sleep. I could just show her this blog to justify my need for space, even when I sleep. But I better be careful. Greg's old bedroom is empty now. I don't want it to become my new space.


Anonymous babette said...

Wendy enforces sides in bed? I should have talked to her long ago, before certain complications arose here.

My family moved across the country to find a Wolverine-free space, but to no avail. Our beloved Patriots play them next week in the quarter-final stage of the state 3A football playoffs. It will be KingCo #1 vs. KingCo #2.

No empty bedrooms here for a long time...and three very cramped bathrooms. Speaking of bathrooms: Your team is in the toilet and mine is poised for the Bowl!

9:17 AM  
Blogger jan said...

I don't mean to start trouble (as much fun as that is) but Virginia Woolf contended that a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction. In other words, women were not Shakespeare or Chaucer because they were usually denied opportunities and space that men had.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Kacey said...

Until we moved to a condo on a golf course, we had a small Quarterhorse farm. "My Honey" had the whole barn for himself. He didn't keep it nearly as clean as I kept the rest of the place, but it was His! He raised very nice Quarterhorse colts and won lots of trophies and futurity monies. He even sold a couple of brood mares to Terry Bradshaw. Now that we live in the condo, I confine his trophies to a couple of tasteful gold horses in the den, one in the livingroom and one in our Florida place. He crabs, because there are at least twenty five more on a high shelf in the garage. I would consider finding a space for a few more, but he doesn't clean the ones in the garage....I do, therefore; his man space is the garage with it's glory and dust.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

I wish I could say my hubby had a room of his own Dave. But in all honesty-our son and his fiancee (who we adore and are glad they're here) get one bedroom, we get one, the office is for all 4 of us and the 4th room is a dedicated room for the grandkids.

someday, someday...

In the meantime-big congrats on your son's new home!!!

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I turned the garage into Mahoney's Bar, which is a great place to escape to. It gets too cold at night to sleep in, however.

My wife wanted a new couch, and I didn't not agree because of the price tag. After it arrived (and I was forced to it a couple nights) I quickly realized what a great investment it was.

8:01 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

BABETTE--They must play some tough high school football out in your neck of the woods. Seems like I've heard there's a nationally ranked top team in your neighborhood that isn't either your faves nor the Wolverines.

Don't put down my Wolverines. You should be cheering them on this week. If they win and the Spartans win, the Spartans win the Big Ten, something that hasn't happened since, mmmmm, the Ice Age I believe.

JAN--I did not know that, but when I think of it, the really good women writers did seem to come post-Shakespeare: Austen, Dickinson, Shelley . . .

KACEY--Garages are okay too. My nephew (who comments as anonymous below your's) has his space in the garage. Whatever works I say.

CARINE--I would love to be able to stock a playroom for grandkids. But first we need grandkids. Well, first we need one of our kids to get married.

ANONYMOUS (Vic) - Yeah, I've slept on the couch myself a few times. It's okay, but as you get older, you much prefer the bed.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Lynilu said...

My son's road signs that hung on the wall of his teen-years room stayed with the sale of the home. He didn't want them, and I didn't want to mess with them. I have no idea where he got them, and I wasn't going to ask, but a flea market vendor is not likely.

And a word of warning from an experienced "room acquirer": be very careful as the kids move out with their stuff. My husband and I grew into every room of a 5 bedroom home!!

8:31 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

It is amazing how much "stuff" the kids leave at home.....Right now Bonnie has the upstairs till she leaves for her new college for the spring semester.

A room of my own,,,,no I don't have that but there are times I wish I could escape to a place of my own to just read or just relax....

5:24 AM  
Anonymous cassie-b said...

I wouldn't bet on him taking all his "stuff". Historically, they leave a few things behind - and I'm not sure why.

I have my space, and enjoy it. We live in a big house, and it's just the two of us and Smokey Joe.

Don has his spaces too. But they're usually piled so high with "stuff" that you can't always tell. We share an office upstairs, and I dread walking into that room. His space is by the door, so I can't ignore it. He's a clutterer, and I don't want the clutter in the rest of the house so I don't complain about his spaces - basement, garage, and office.

And I might add that he's famous for his clutter.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LYNILU--We have to be carefull too as I don't want to acquire more stuff and spread out into the vacant corners of our own house here. Our basement is already filled to capacity.

LUCY--Part of it is me. My younger son put a bunch of his old stuff in the trash. Before it could be thrown out, I went through it to retrieve some things I thought had too much sentimental value.

CASSIE--If clutter is organized properly, it can almost resemble art. I shoot for that effect in my basement office.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the spaces you refer to are know as "Man Caves". There is a show on the DIY (Do It Yourself) channel devoted to man caves. Some are really elaborate.

6:54 AM  
Blogger WordWhiz said...

Watch out! They often come back!!! I know from experience!!!

Thanks for your comment on my site. I don't believe the Red Cross can be of much help.

When my son was in AIT training (post boot camp, but pre-assignment), his very best childhood friend died in a car accident. Among other efforts, I tried contacting the Red Cross. I wanted my son to be able to come home for his best friend's funeral. His friend's family wanted him there too. Ironically, my son was done with training and merely trapped in limbo due to an injury.

The Red Cross would only help if the death involved an IMMEDIATE family member. Otherwise, they wouldn't even discuss it. The army wouldn't budge. I was lucky to even be able to get my son on the phone...not an easy task. You can't call when they are in any kind of training.

My son had to visit the gravesite at a later date. He didn't make the funeral. His friend was buried with my son's photo tucked into his shirt pocket, but my son, the boy's closest friend, wasn't there to see it.

Very sad.

I didn't understand just HOW MUCH a person gives up to be in the military. Sometimes, it's really TOO much...particularly when it's totally unnecessary for the army to be so immovable.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, the kitchen belongs to everyone, get it??

1:36 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Ahhhhhh Dave, I have done that too...sometimes they keep the junk and throw out the good stuff.

2:06 PM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Boy howdy, I am surprised you can get away with that. Just how big is ol' Big Dave?

7:02 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

ANONYMOUS (Gabe, I'm guessing)--DIY channel, hmmmmm. We have over 100 channels but that one doesn't sound familiar. Not sure I would have looked for it on my own though.

WORD WHIZ--I just heard Red Cross was helpful once in a situation involving a serviceperson needing a leave. But you sound more knowledgable about what they can do, and can't.

ANONYMOUS (my favorite sister-in-law, I'm guessing)--Yes, I get it. I was just joking, ya know.

LUCY--And they throw out some expensive stuff too.

HOSS--Hi, Hoss. Believe me, I'm not big enough. I get it from everyone sooner or later.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats to your son on his upcoming milestone!
But, I'm afraid I totally disagree with you that women don't need their space as much as men. Heck, in Victorian days, each had their separate bedrooms.
As for me, I've always required and made sure I had MY space. Usually a room in the house decorated to my taste for me to knit, write, read or whatever. And here I have my separate and detached writers studio. All mine and a place where I can be inspired, creative, or whatever. I think it's only natural and important for both genders to require that place that belongs just to us.

6:56 AM  
Anonymous cassie-b said...

I like my own space - and I think Don does too. Maybe everyone needs a little space to call their own.

4:19 PM  
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