Wednesday, 17 December 2008
Making Room for the Man Couch
LaGrange, Georgia. – The way to a man’s heart is not through his stomach, but through a leather recliner. I spent the last two days with my best friend Jessica and her husband James at their home in LaGrange where James took a job a few years ago. Jessica says the house was bachelor pad before she moved in.
Vestigages of that life remain: beer steins and leather couches.
According to one source, a hallmark of the bachelor pad is the lack of attention to detail and cleanliness. The leather couch makes sense, he says. The cushions never have to go to the dry cleaner, which makes cleaning up easy.
A list of men who own leather couches whirls around in my head. Brother-in-laws and rockers among them. In the case of my sister, both she and her spouse decided to put a black leather set in their living room. That was four years ago. Today, she’s wondering why she didn’t recommend them for the den.
This brings me to where the man couch should live. In an earlier post, my architect cousin Beth explained the role of the den, specifically how modern design plans have thwarted this much-coveted man space. Rather than dens or sitting rooms, which were for the ladies, open floor plans force people to share spaces once deemed private for the different sexes.
So what's the big deal? My recent writing on the value of shared spaces suggests that the phasing out of the den is a good thing. It’s not. The best relationships are ones with boundaries, and in the South, where boundaries are often blurred, privacy is at a premium. The man couch in the living room (or what was once the sitting room) looks weird because it is. Where there should be a humidor, there’s a chintz vase in its place.