Defending the man's room

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Oct. 9, 2006

Dear Julie,

When the man's room was established more than six months ago, the idea was to give myself a tiny sanctuary, a home within our home.

Our house is filled with things DC likes: knickknacks, Mission furniture, more knickknacks, laundry baskets filled with everything but clothes. I wanted a single room filled with stuff I like: an electronic putting green, a panoramic mirror for evaluating my golf swing, golf swing gadgets, guitars, an amp, yoga mat, TV and VCR, comfortable reading chair, desk, books. There's just no room for a big-screen TV.

DC was not happy about the man's room initially. Though pocket doors shield the room from outsiders, it has had to be defended against invasion.

The dogs venture in warily from time to time as if on foreign soil. Smelling no food, they retreat.

DC occasionally has tried to reclaim parts of the room. Once I entered to find the floor lined with boxes. Another time she decided to clean out the closet in the man's room and left the remains piled on my chair, a signal to me that she wasn't giving up territory without a fight.

"For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women" is a book written for men who hope to understand women better. The findings are based on a national survey of women mixed with anecdotal evidence gathered by the husband and wife authors.

One of their claims is that no matter what men do or say, women are insecure about whether they are really loved. Thus wanting a bit of space and time alone, natural for a man in the book's view and mine as well, can be interpreted as an attempt to escape from her.

Men need space. Women need hugs and reassurance.

In their survey, seven of 10 women said their relationship is on their mind anywhere from occasionally to nearly always. Four of five women admitted to being insecure about whether their husbands loved them.

Why women would be perpetually insecure about their marital relationship is a question the book doesn't take on. They just are, it says. Go from there. Reassure her.

I don't know whether DC thinks the man's room is an attempt to escape from her. She'd never say so. I guess that's one of those things we men are just supposed to know.

The part of "For Men Only" that sounds definitively true contends that women can't ignore feelings and thoughts the way men can. That explains why DC can skip from topic to topic in the middle of a conversation, leaving me flatfootedly wondering if I missed a leap of logic. I never did figure out why she cleaned out my closet and never cleans out hers.

On my desk at home resides a new computer, a birthday gift from DC I took as a sign that maybe she's starting to accept my little corner of the house.

The reality is, the man's room doesn't occupy me much.

Like the ocean, I just need to know it's there.

Love, Sam

Sam Blackwell is managing editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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