Designing Your Man Cave Detroit-Style

            The term “man cave” is thrown around a lot these days.  For some, the man cave is just that…the dark side of the basement untouched by female hands where a man is free to express his masculinity with impunity.  Others define a man cave as a testosterone-saturated, hi-tech sanctuary where a man or men can gather to watch sports, grunt, scratch themselves and generally reinforce every negative stereotype about the male gender.  This article will focus on the latter…done Detroit-style.

            Remember your first apartment after graduation?  More than anything else, it reflected your inner-dude.  He’s the guy you want to listen to when you design your man cave.  Had you followed your instincts and ran at the first hint of the M- word (that’s marriage, single guys), you might still be listening to him.  Chances are, your apartment was sparse, yet still bore the accoutrements of masculinity: the smelly, befouled couch, the TV on a make-shift board and cinderblock shelf, the beer-packed fridge, the swimsuit model posters in plain view and, of course, the filthy, prison-issue john minus seat and handle.  While this lair of licentiousness may have perfectly suited your lifestyle back in the day, it certainly wasn’t the type of place you could bring the honeys.  Now that you’re married or living with a woman, your man cave space has been defined.  By her.  Clearly delineated, the line your filth cannot cross is policed by the scowl you bring to your wife’s face when the Tiger’s game gets too loud or your gas too unbearable.  But you have a space, a man cave to call your own.  It may be raw material, but you can mold it into a thing of beauty.

            More than anything, your man cave must reflect your personal taste.  Or, lack thereof.  This is the place your personality, no matter how well concealed, can come out to play.  For example, let’s say that you are quite literally the biggest Lion’s fan on the planet.  You’re the guy tailgating outside Ford Field the day before the game with your face painted Honolulu Blue and your beer belly growing larger every quarter.  Then it would make perfect sense to turn your man cave into a place to “tailgate” during the away games.   If you’re more into movies than sports, you might give your man cave a theater atmosphere.  Central to any theme you choose is the TV.  Television is the altar at which men worship and the cornerstone of any Detroit-centric man cave.  You gotta have a place to watch the Wings and Pistons win, right?!

            When choosing a television for your man cave, the rule of thumb is to put your thumb down and choose the biggest TV you can afford to finance without sending your house into foreclosure.  If you are one of the .00001% of American males born without an instinctive understanding of the rules of buying a television, here’s a quick refresher: the bigger, the better; the more speakers the better; the flatter, the better; and, of course, the more channels, the better.  Oh, the more universal the remote…the better.  A good place to start fantasizing is www.abcwarehouse.com.

            Other appliance necessities include: a DVR to record your favorite shows, a DVD player with surround sound, speakers powerful enough to rattle glass in the next town over and a mini-fridge capable of holding at least two cases of beer (cans, of course).

            Perhaps the second most important thing in your man cave is the seating.  Face it: a man cave is no place for a love seat.  You need something BIG you can sink into for hours at a time.  You need a seat that lovingly accepts your butt and will quickly form a permanent, unencroachable groove where it belongs.  You can find a place to sit that meets those requirements in a recliner or a couch.  The best place to start is www.la-z-boy.com.  Or, if you don’t have La-Z-Boy kind of money, visit the Salvation Army for a comfortable couch – that’s a couch on which you feel comfortable spilling just about anything because it’s already one giant stain.

            Once you know what’s going into your man cave, it’s time you gave at least some thought to the décor.  Traditionally, décor has been viewed as the exclusive province of women.  But this is your man cave.  Those words might as well be Latin for “untouched by female hands.”  Just because it’s called a cave doesn’t mean the dirt floor has to stay that way.

            Throw down a carpet remnant or have a professional install some stain master carpet – ‘cause you know you’ll be spillin’ up in there.   Just in case you missed their obnoxious, but memorable jingle, Empire offers next day service and do quite the quality installation job.   You can view their selection and request an in-man cave appointment at www.empiretoday.com.  While you’re at it, invite some buddies over to paint the walls.  Remember, the darker the color, the sweeter your man cave will feel.  (Or is it, “the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice?”  I forget.)  In addition, a darker color will hide stains caused by cigar smoke, food thrown at the walls and half-empty beer cans hurled in lack-of-defense-related frustration.

            Speaking of the walls, if you’ve been itching to get a Fathead wall graphic for the house but have been thwarted by the wife in the past – the man cave is the place for it. Fathead wall graphics are life-size, hi-def representations of fan-favorite sports and entertainment stars. With over 500 wall graphics to choose from – including players and logos from every Detroit team – you’re sure to find something for your man cave.   These wall graphics are a great way to put your bragging rights on display without being completely obnoxious.  Visit www.Fathead.com to find yours.

            While you’re at it, fill your man cave with all of the sports equipment boxed up in the garage.  Then you and your buddies can play full contact football in the basement in any season.  For safety’s sake, be sure to use only soft or Nerf-like products when playing sports indoors.  Anything your wife or boss has deemed unfit for public consumption – that you still treasure – belongs in your man cave.

            Depending on the size of your man cave, it may be full after including all of the above.  If you’re lucky enough to be married (or live with) a woman who allows you to expand your cave to higher latitudes, use the space wisely.  Fill it with all the crap you had in your bedroom growing up.  The stuff your wife’s been bugging you to take the curb?  Man cave it.  The taxidermied trophy rainbow trout?  Man cave it. The beat-up beanbag that reminds you of ancient college trysts?  Man cave it.  The hand that’s really a chair, model airplanes that used to hang from your bedroom ceiling, your moldy porn collection…all great man cave stuffers.

            Ultimately, you’ll want your man cave to be as self-contained as possible.  That means junk food to get you through double overtime and into the next game, a fully stocked fridge (Stroh’s, of course), enough beef jerky to feed the Louis and Clark expedition and, of course, a bathroom.  Despite the nomenclature, the man cave is still inside your home…defiling the floor isn’t an option unless your divorce is pending.  Be it bucket, bottle or the latest Kholer with three colors of water and an auto flush feature – you’ll need a place to relieve yourself that won’t require you to leave the comforts of your man cave.

            Last, but pretty freakin’ far from least, your man cave will need a lock on the door.  Nosey kids, hungry dogs, itinerant wives, repo men – all are easily deterred with a solid dead bolt.  Even if you’re not trying to keep people out, a man still needs his privacy.  Y’all know what I’m talkin’ about…

            When it’s all said and done, your man cave is a sanctuary where you and your friends can let it all hang out and watch sports and Arnold Schwarzenegger movies (excluding Twins and Jingle All The Way, of course).  Ownership of a man cave implies you have the best of both worlds: besides your cave, you also have a loving significant other who keeps a good clean home you can show your parents.  Remember, your man cave survives at her leisure.  Keep it down.  Don’t encroach on “her” area of the house (which is pretty much everywhere that isn’t the garage or your man cave).  Word to the wise: don’t let your man cave be a mystery to your girl - bring her downstairs for some quality time when your buddies aren’t around.  The happier your significant other, the longer the life your man cave can enjoy.  As long as you play by the rules outside, you can live without them inside your man cave.