A woman cave doesn’t have to be pink
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It’s where men go to pursue their hobbies but why should they be the only ones to have a personal retreat? It’s our turn now, girls.
Man cave: (definition) A room or other part of a home used by a man as a place to relax and pursue hobbies away from the rest of the family.
Woman cave: (my definition) Somewhere to go when a man is in his cave
Yes, it's time to take a stand. Men have been allowed to get away with their troglodyte tendencies for too long. Now it's women's turn to beat their chests and say: "Ugh!" and give in to primal urges.
Except that they won't.
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The impression I have of a man cave, and I steeled myself to look at pictures on Google, is of much pine cladding; a central, enormous television; a bar; pool table; recliner seats (like Joey's in Friends); maybe a range of guitars or motorbikes; and large woofers and tweeters - that's something to do with sound systems, not dogs and birds.
My computer screen doesn't do scratch and sniff so I can only imagine that, over time, a distinctive male aroma accumulates in the "cave" which makes the occupant feel he is comfortably at one with his own body odours. Unwilling for this to dissipate, the windows and doors stay shut - in fact windows are optional. Why have natural light when you can recreate the unique ambience of a 1970s pub?
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It's odd that people almost exclusively speak of caves in relation to men. Is it really because men want to get away from the rest of the family, or is it that women want men to get away from the rest of the family. Is it more of a banishment than a retreat?
I canvassed some friends to ask what a woman cave would be like. "Full of handbags and shoes," suggested one friend who likes that sort of thing. "Pink and sparkly with Haribo," proposed another.
"Scented candles, and a masseur," said another with a wistful sigh.
This wasn't at all the way it was supposed to go. I was expecting the sisterhood to stride up and take the moral high ground; to challenge gender stereotypes. Not to emulate men but to show them there could be a different path.
I hope this doesn't forever compromise my woman credentials but I do not hoard shoes (unless three pairs counts as excessive) or handbags (I have one at a time), I don't do pink and sparkly, and one candle is enough. The Haribo can stay, though.
What would be in my woman cave? The sewing machine - I have promised myself that I will learn to use it for more than repairing pillow slips. To my eternal regret, I was rubbish at home economics when I was at secondary school. My teacher, Miss Freeman, let me use the electric whisk because I was so slow in cookery lessons and as for needlework. I set the sleeves back to front in my shirt dress so the elbows pointed frontwards. Miss Freeman helped me unpick them.
Then, I would like one of those big chairs - slightly too small to accommodate two adults side by side but big enough for me to snuggle into. I looked them up on the DFS furniture website (amazed to see they currently have a sale) and they're called "cuddler sofas" ? as I say, too small for two adults.
I would need a small table beside my big chair for crosswords, sudoku puzzles, and a set of Lynne-only pens. Maybe I could also have a small safe to keep my pens in, to stop my husband making off with them. And somewhere to keep the Wispas and Twirls. Geraldine, the Vicar of Dibley (Dawn French) kept her Curly Wurlys in the cupboard under the sink.
Oh, and I'll be needing a shelf for the books I have promised myself I will one day get round to reading - Dickens, Steinbeck, Evelyn Waugh, George Eliot, and, an afterthought, À la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust. I know nothing about it but so many people have selected it as their one book ? apart from the Bible and Shakespeare ? on Desert Island Discs that I wonder if I am missing something. Of course, it could be oft chosen because the novel is in seven volumes and, if you got fed up with the desert island sand finding its way into your underwear, you could pile up the tomes and sit on them.
Another shelf will store my box sets - Murder She Wrote, Diagnosis Murder, Law and Order SVU. Pleae don't judge me. So what if I've already watched them all, I'll watch them again - this is my woman cave.
What else could be in my woman cave? Maybe a walking machine to do some secret exercising. I am, as regular readers will know, fitness resistant but if I had a secret place where no one could see me sweat...
The cost of a person cave in the garden ranges from around £800 (it's a shed) or, you could commandeer the garage.
It sounds quite pleasant but who's going to make me a cup of tea if I'm incommunicado? (In case you are wondering, that's not the same as commando).