Man finds comfort in masculine surroundings

By Karl Terry: PNT managing editor

Greetings from the man cave.

Maybe I’m going through a mid-life crisis, maybe it’s just a desire to focus on me. Either way things took a decidedly masculine turn for me over my recent vacation.

First of all, before the vacation really got started, I decided I would totally forsake my electric razor — and, since we were headed to the mountains — go for the mountain man look.

The mountain man’s bride began to complain about the beard before our pack string ever left the driveway. She’s never allowed whiskers on her man. Her whines subsided once we reached our mountain retreat and we went our separate ways — she, with credit card in hand, to the main drag lined with gift shops; me, with fly pole in hand, to a quiet mountain stream for some fly fishing.

Once the mountain excursion was over I spent the remainder of my week off on a much-delayed personal project: creation of my own man cave. For those unfamiliar with that term, it’s basically a guy’s den. A place where he can go to watch guy TV shows like football, Westerns and hunting and fishing programs. A place where a bouquet of silk flowers isn’t allowed and coasters are only OK if they have ducks or deer heads on them.

NFL great Tony “Goose” Siragusa even hosts a show called “Man Caves” on the DIY network. I’ll have to admit the show usually deals with creating man caves that are three times the size of mine with poker tables, pool tables and wet bars, but my cozy little cave will suit me just fine.

When we moved in to our home we set the office up in the smallest of the bedrooms partly because we envisioned the larger spare bedroom as a guest room. The other reason I set the office up in the little bedroom was that the bigger one had yellow and pink paint with a butterfly wallpaper border. I knew it was going to take some effort to remedy that situation and I couldn’t see myself writing my column surrounded by butterflies.

After much effort stripping wallpaper, the butterflies are now gone, replaced by rich earthtone brown walls. The essentials are in place.
Those being the computer, the television and the bookcase. Now it’s time to start decorating.

My wife has never allowed me to keep dead critter parts for display on our walls but I have a few treasures of which she’s maybe not fully aware. There’s the mounted cutthroat that belonged to a good fishing buddy that I acquired after he died several years ago.

There’s also a spindly set of white tail antlers that belonged to my grandfather. Somewhere I’ve even got my first set of rooster pheasant tail feathers.

I’ve got other hunting and fishing and hiking mementos and photos that will go up. I have some wildlife prints I’ve acquired over the years and I have photos I’ve taken of some of my favorite places in the outdoors.

I’m planning on reupholstering the wing-back chair that belonged to my father-in-law as one of the main pieces of furniture. I’m also thinking fly rods on the wall would look nice.

More book shelves and maybe a 32 inch flat screen LCD television would be nice too but will probably have to wait until my next financial windfall.

If during my mid-life crisis I’m to have an existencial meltdown like the Geico caveman on TV, at least I’ll have a comfortable place to do it.

As for the beard — it’s two weeks old and I’m kinda liking it if the darn thing would quit itching. The wife may just have to put up with varmints on the cave walls where the hairy caveman lives.