When it comes to the various kinds of cavernous entities, man caves fall somewhere between the fourth episode of Planet Earth and the Bat Cave on the coolness scale (and far, far ahead of that atrocious Mumford & Songs song). A man minus his man cave is hardly a man at all; it’s in the Old Testament. Where else can a guy watch sports, drink beer, play video games, and fart with impunity? I’d much rather have the world’s most jaw-dropping man cave in my house than running water (water is free, people. It’s called clouds), which is probably why I am not what insurance ads call a “responsible home owner.”
Now I don’t have a PhD in interior decorating or anything, but I do know a thing or two about how to ensure your personal man cave achieves its full potential. People should be impressed, not repulsed, when they come over to watch a game. To accomplish this, you don’t need artistic flair or smoke and mirrors (though those could be awesome if implemented correctly). You just need to adhere to a few basic and practical principles:
1) Keep the Cave Clean: For some unknown reason, society has deemed it okay for young men to celebrate their filth, wearing their dirtiness like badges of honor. I know it seems “cool” to be indifferent towards things—it totally makes you like James Dean, bro—but sanitation shouldn’t be one of them. Yeah, there’s a weirdly tempting component to being lazy and grimy, leaving beer cans strewn about like the shreds of Amanda Bynes’ dignity, but nobody will want to hang out in your man cave if it reeks of garbage and MRSA. This may seem obvious, but cleanliness is not a four-letter word.
Your man cave doesn’t have to be pristine, but it shouldn’t look like a landfill had a vicious bowel movement in your house. If you have enough money for a television and cable, you have enough money not to live in squalor. Cleaning isn’t fun, I know, but investing thirty minutes of your time every week towards tidying up pays big dividends. You want your man cave to be the place your friends want to watch the big game at, not the place where they have to don hazmat suits before entering. If you find the whole purification process dull, make yourself a cleaning mix to pump yourself up. I recommend nothing but MOP. There’s little that’ll make you want to dust and recycle faster than Billy Danze screaming how he custom-makes caskets. Don’t download the explicit-lyrics renditions of the songs, though; you’ll want the clean versions.
2) Stick to the “Classic” Posters: Anyone who knows me is aware I’m a big fan of plain white walls. I’ve always found them oddly comforting, like a tepid hug of blandness. Most people, though, find them creepy and off-putting; nobody has ever outright accused me of being a serial killer, but I’ve definitely noticed the suspicion flicker in their eyes. So don’t be like me, folks, and instead invest in some posters.
It is in the best interest of your man cave that you refrain from anything too obscure or weird. Seeking individuality is for emotionally weak teenagers. People in the real world want consistency and normalcy, which means you should avoid the Kandinsky prints and Miyazaki movie posters in favor of the classics that every dude owns: that iconic John Belushi photo, something Boondock Saints or Pulp Fiction related, a Bob Marley poster to let everyone know how “chill” you are, etc. There is a time and a place for uniqueness, and decorating the walls of your man cave isn’t it. Nobody likes the ostentatiously quirky guy (unless you’re a female in a Joss Whedon creation), and nobody wants to chug brewskies in his domicile. Sorry all you twee special snowflakes: that’s just a fact.
3) Have Reading Material Available: Yeah, reading is for dorks and geeks and “the literate,” but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to accommodate those people in your man cave. A lot of nerds really enjoy sports, and keeping some reading material on-hand will help prevent them from having panic-attacks when they realize they’ve gone over an hour without burying their acne-ridden noses in a book. Does this mean you need to keep Thomas Pynchon novels and collections of Petrarchan sonnets scattered about? No, because then you’d be a pretentious jerk. Magazines and maybe Motley Crüe’s The Dirt will suffice.
When it comes to reading material, there’s nothing that beats Sports Illustrated. First off, the magazine is about sports, which is a fact I’m not sure a lot of people know (the name is kinda vague). I assume you’ll be using your man cave to watch football and not America’s Next Top Who-gives-a-crap, and your choice of magazine should reflect that. Secondly, there are plenty of pictures for your friends that can’t read well but like to feign it. Having Cryptonomicon taunting them from the coffee table is just going to cause backbreaking depression. Of course, the best part of having an SI subscription is the yearly swimsuit edition, which you should definitely keep atop your periodical pile for when you have female guests over. Trust me, there’s nothing that will please and delight them more than airbrushed bikini models. It gives them entirely realistic expectations to shoot for.
4) Own a Video Game System: Nobody besides masochists and the parents of the commentators enjoys watching halftime reports, so it is essential to keep some video games on-hand to kill time between halves. Some idiots and haters may argue video games are a waste of time, but those people have never had to endure Lou Holtz breaking down highlights with all the verbal dexterity of rotting catfish.
It really doesn’t matter what system you choose to own…as long as it is an N64 (and isn’t a Dreamcast). As everyone knows, the N64 is the Zeus of all gaming systems (without the whole turning-into-a-bull-and-raping-people thing). Though it is an ancient machine in technology years, it is still superior to any of the overpriced counsels currently being peddled by Sony and Microsoft. The N64 is durable, delightful, and highly useful in determining who your pathetic friends are (just observe who picks Kirby in Smash Bros). It’s like a five-tool baseball player if that player had controller ports instead of limbs, which would render him an ineffectual baseball player but a damn fine means of playingMario Kart.
5) Keep Breakable Junk On-Hand: This last bit of advice is the one most overlooked by people when they’re constructing their man cave, yet it is probably the most critical. Sports can induce a roller coaster of emotions. The phenomenal highs and devastating lows can be tough to handle if you’re incapable of self-control and/or drunk on Steel Reserve. Cathartic releases are critical to ensuring you don’t bottle up your feelings inside only to release them in a fit of psychotic rage that would make Bruce Banner blush. My proposed solution? Keep some old, discarded, worthless junk around that can be smashed in either joy or despondency. Blown-out speakers work great, as do fragile chairs and fine china. It’s a lot cheaper than paying a therapist.
Of course, you want to make sure you break the junk outside the actual confines of your man cave, like out in an alley or on your neighbor’s lawn. Being overly rambunctious while still inside is a recipe for disaster. You don’t want to risk a man cave cave-in, mainly because I haven’t yet written a top-five list on how to survive such a disaster so you’d be SOL when it comes to advice. That’s probably why you shouldn’t seek guidance from random Internet articles. That’s just a dumb move.