An online article about "The Decline of the Male Space" contends that
the pendulum has swung from one extreme to the other; instead of creating a world that’s friendly to both male and female space, we’ve created one that benefits female space at the expense of male space.
I left the article to wander room to room, looking vainly for anything of mine on the walls. Any African paintings on recycled cement bags, childhood or travel photos, Guatemalan tapestries, carved wooden masks, even ski posters with inspiring quotes - things that had adorned my life for the 25 years since I was strong enough to push a tack into a wall. I found things I like, things we've created together, our wedding vows, but nothing that is Me. Just a lonely nail where my dream-catcher, given to me by dear Aunt Sally in my rocky adolescent days, was removed yesterday when Sarah finally revealed that she loathes its heaviness in our bedroom.
Just walked around again, counting 9 (nine) wall hangings that are Hers. I do like most of them, but that's not the point. The point is that the author is right, that men have lost their power in the home, settling instead for a mutual agreement practice that ends up usually with the man ceding to the woman's "better taste." Just ask any man who's been asked for his "input" on paint colours.
This is why I get belligerent about not accepting input about my reno projects, my outdoor projects, MY projects. With a chainsaw or a cow or a sledge hammer, I'm in my realm, I'm the boss, I can just Do it, follow my vision and passion without checking in with the other half or my boss or the board. Down comes that tree, just where I'd planned (OK, a bit closer to the chicken coop than I'd planned), and in flows the sunlight just as I'd envisioned. Me and my pitchfork just go ahead and scoop up that manure and lay down fresh straw, and only the cows know. My home may no longer be my palace, but gosh darn it I'm the undisputed King of the Cowshed.
I suppose I could be stronger, demand that the dream catcher and photos etc go up. It's half my house dammit and I should get my own nine hangings. But the reality is that I love my wife and the harmony we have in our shared home, and if an item truly oppresses her then it can't make me happy. If upon reading this she offers to put the dream catcher back up, I'll have to refuse - not out of bitterness, but I could genuinely not feel Joy from it anymore knowing how she feels about it.
So I guess it's time to finally organize my workshop and re-hang all my treasures there, as they have been in the garage or basement or laundry room of all our other homes. I don't need an escape, don't need to drink behind the woodshed or cuss and spit at an all-men's gym. Just need a space (other than my wardrobe) where I see my corny, outlandish, awkward and even sometimes tasteless Me-ness expressed freely. I need my man-cave.