By Kent Tan
Kuala Lumpur – Are you a middle-aged man with more space at home than you originally anticipated? Perhaps you married early and your children have left for college sooner than anticipated. Or maybe you have fewer children than you originally planned for, so now there are one or two rooms too much. Or, possibly, you’ve just done well in life and opted to buy yourself abundant space, only now you feel it is a little too much.
If your answer is yes to any of the above, we recommend that you move fast to claim that space for your own, because it is very likely that your spouse is planning the very same thing!
A great way to stake your claim is to create a luxurious haven of self-indulgent time and space; a place you can spend a little “me” time in (that is less taxing than driving out to the golf course) and a temporary oasis at which you might rediscover a little lost machismo.
It is a concept that taking flight the world-over among men wrestling with the inevitable onset of mid-life crisis, but with no inclination to go out and buy a Harley-Davidson. It is called a man cave – yes, you read it right.
If the concept sounds more than mildly misogynistic to you, then consider that large tract of real estate you recently lost upstairs to a walk-in dresser-cum-shoe-cum-handbag-cum-makeup storage room. Fair is fair, right?
Like the name suggests a man cave, “manspace” as it is sometimes called, is an all-male retreat or sanctuary carved out within the confines of your home. It is basically space dedicated to your preferred hobbies, forms of entertainment, strange indulgences or even simply conducive space to entertain the boys without raising the ire of your better half.
The best part is it is not as crazy as it sounds. According to psychiatrist and best-selling author Scott Haltzman, it is actually important for a man’s overall psychological health to have a space to call his own. It taps into that primal male instinct to combat for territory and independence without actually having to hurt anyone in the process. The result (ladies please take note) is a psychologically well-balanced and less argumentative and frustrated individual.
Ironically, it seems, the key to a mature man is to allow him some space to act as immaturely as he likes – where he doesn’t have to mind his p’s and q’s and doesn’t have to explain himself. Here are some popular concepts that serve to achieve this:
THE BAR & BISTRO
The most common and popular design for a man cave is the traditional bar with a pool table concept. The main attraction of this ideology is the relatively low cost of execution; where no major renovation is required to install a mini bar, buy a pool table or mount a TV on the wall so you can watch Discovery Turbo in an unperturbed cinema environment. With a mini bar at home, you are saved from the hassle of driving out to crowded outlets and queuing to use the pool table.
An added plus is there are no midnight roadblocks to contend with either.
THE GAMER’S HAVEN
These days, video and computer games have become an important and integral part of the male entertainment world – almost a life and death necessity in some cases. This man cave concept is probably the costliest, but also coolest, options out there which has become tremendously popular among the Generation X and younger crowd.
A dedicated space that is outfitted with gaming consoles, state of the art audio-visuals or even some classic retro arcade games (like pinball or Pacman) gives rise to numerous opportunities. Just think, you can host your own competition on weekends!
The ALTERNATE UNIVERSE
Though many of us are trapped in an urban setting, guys often believe they belong elsewhere and dream of the wilderness, the ocean’s depths or Middle Earth. Why not create your own escape behind closed doors, where you design your perfect getaway ambience without leaving life’s commitments behind.
Of course the cost of this concept will depend on individual preferences, and yet it offers the most amount of flexibility where imagination is concerned, from a replica of a ship’s cabin to your very own Bahamas seaside cabana.
Some comic enthusiasts might even want to recreate an Marvel universe that filled with the figurines, merchandise, posters, and wallpapers.
The Petrolhead garage
The words “man” and “car”, it can be argued, are synonymous. Therefore, why not make that statement in your very own grease monkey hideout. A “car-man” cave is usually filled with favourite car models, retrofitted parts adorning walls or valuable replicas and collectors’ items. There are two common versions of this room design; a makeshift garage where you can pretend you know what you’re doing with machines, or simply a collectibles corner where you can pretend your toys are trophies.
Such designs are usually accompanied by a mini bar, plenty of auto magazines and a HD TV so you can enjoy the World Rally Championship live.