I know it’s not Tartan Plaid. Stop splitting hairs – it’s not a very manly thing to do! (Image from shopcurated dot com)
Three things have struck me during my recent viewing of entirely too many real-estate themed reality shows. First, why hasn’t anyone coined the phrase “realty reality TV” or “reality realty TV”? Seems like a natural. Second, why does everyone on these shows say “price point” when they really just mean “price”? Finally, why is it so important for many of these guys to have a “man cave” in their home?
If these shows are any indication, a man’s home is not his castle after all. The most guys can hope for is a finished space just off the laundry room where they can burp, scratch themselves and generally be men without fear of being judged – they call this space a man cave. Historians of the male experience will point out that in bygone eras, the place where a man could act this way was called “anywhere he damn-well pleased“.
Those historians may be a little bitter. They might also be tempted to dismiss the man cave as nothing more than the modern equivalent of the mid-century phenomenon known as the rumpus room.
Since we’re talking guy stuff, it’s inevitable that things will end up getting competitive. Bragging rights are at stake, so I’m daring to ask the question; Which one’s better, your neighbor’s man cave, or my Uncle Walt’s rumpus room? We’ll look at several key components to any architectural space and put the rumpus room head to head with the man cave and see which wins.
Rumpus – Tartan plaid polyester-blend upholstery
Cave – Neutral microfiber with tasteful accent pillows
Winner – Cave: That plaid upholstery wasn’t comfortable when it was new, and the passage of time has done little to change that.
Rumpus – Console stereo complete with record changer and Scandinavian wood cabinetry
Cave – MP3 Dock with wireless speakers and sub-woofer
Winner – Cave: The retro appeal of a stereo which is larger than a casket on legs is all well and good, but my Iron Butterfly and Strawberry Alarm Clock albums are hopelessly scratched.
Rumpus – Shag carpeting
Cave – Pastel tile left over from the kitchen remodel
Winner – Rumpus: That tile might pass muster in your wife’s fancy kitchen, but it doesn’t work for a cave. Any leftover scraps of shag can be used to give that minivan a make-over
Rumpus -Set of three Vargas girls carefully cut out of old Playboy magazines and framed
Cave – Digital picture frame from Radio Shack uploaded with several images of Kate Upton
Winner – Cave: Vargas girls are impossibly leggy and really classy, but cutting them out of a magazine is not exactly high brow.
(Image from foodtruckfestivalsofne dot com)
Rumpus – Pocket billiard table
Cave – video game system
Winner – Rumpus: Your kids will tire of billiards within a few weeks, but they’ll own the video game system. They’ll beat your ass in any game you choose and claim the room as theirs. If you don’t have kids, your man cave is located in the master bedroom. Go breed, Tarzan – we can revisit the rumpus room topic once you’ve got some crumb-snatchers to escape from.
Rumpus – Antique Barber Shop Pole
Cave – Stripper Pole
Winner – Rumpus: Stop pouting, there’s a logical reason for this. A barber shop pole is kind of decorative. A stripper pole is only a chrome pipe, unless there’s a stripper on it. Whose absence would be more noticeable, Luigi from The Clip Joint, or Kandii Krush from the Playtime Lounge out by the airport?
Maybe if you had a long enough barber’s pole, Kandii could come spin on it. (Image from Etsy dot com)
Rumpus – Dart board
Cave – Beer pong table
Winner – Rumpus: I realize you may have spent years perfecting the art of throwing ping pong balls into cups of flat beer, but essentially, this is a drinking game popular with young guys who shave once a week whether they need it or not. Darts is a time honored game for grown-assed men, involving sharp flying objects and a bit of math. If you’re old enough to have a rumpus room or man cave, you’re old enough to risk losing an eye.
Rumpus – Statue of drunk against lamp post which plays “How Dry I Am”
Cave – “Parking Reserved For (Insert Local NFL Team Here) Fans” street sign
Winner – Rumpus: The statue of the drunk is a collectible piece of kitsch. I wouldn’t be surprised if some Fancy Dan on “The Antiques Roadshow” got himself in a lather over one of them and told the owner it was worth $300 or something.
Few things speak to the essence of maleness more than drunk statuary with music boxes inside. (Image from ebay dot com)
Rumpus – Wet bar with tufted leatherette front, butcher block top with assorted beer labels and a few coins sealed beneath 10 coats of polyurethane
Cave – Wet bar with brushed stainless front and granite top purchased at discount during the kitchen remodeling project
Winner – Rumpus: Tufted leatherette just screams “Manly steakhouse!” Also, watching guys try to pick up the coins never gets old.
Rumpus – 1958 Kelvinator refrigerator in Bel Aire Blue finish retrofitted into early keg-a-rator complete with partial keg of Rheingold Extra Dry
Cave – Frigidaire refrigerator in Almond finish, left over from kitchen remodel, stocked with several varieties of micro brews, each with edgy names and artsy labels, plus bottles of mineral water, peach wine coolers and Coors Light
Winner – Cave: That Kelvinator has always had a smell to it and the sheet metal work to convert it into a draft beer dispenser is not exactly shop grade. Even though that Rheingold is likely flat by now, this one was still close, largely due to the presence of water, wine coolers and beer flavored water in the Frigidaire
Rumpus – Six bottles, including blended scotch, bourbon, Canadian whiskey, gin, vodka, and white creme de menthe
Cave – Multiple varieties of single malt scotches, boutique bourbons, and triple-filtered ice-distilled vodkas in frosted glass bottles
Winner – Cave: Standard issue booze might’ve been okay for those lushes on Mad Men, but this is 2014. Spending three times more for spirits aged in French oak and distilled by virgins is worth every penny. Besides, using the leftover tiles from the kitchen and the old fridge freed up some serious cash
Gimme a Sidecar, a Gibson, a Dirty Mohican with extra capers, and a Rusty Nail for the lady in red. (Image from fiveoclockcocktails dot com)
For those of you keeping score (probably the dart players), Rumpus Room has squeezed out a one point victory. Please stay tuned for more of this exciting hair-splitting in upcoming posts.