Macho Guy was at it again, resurrecting his campaign to deformalize our formal living room. I’ve stood my ground for years against his assault on good taste, but I fear he’s wearing me down and gaining ground. Guyification is slyly creeping throughout our house.
It has never been enough for him that he guyified the family room in the lower level. Guyified is putting it mildly. The entire L-shaped family room is nothing less than Macho Guy’s man cave walled from floor to ceiling with dark brown textured wood paneling, so dark I’m tempted to hand out flashlights to visitors. The only thing missing from those dark walls are prehistoric cave drawings. In their place, Macho Guy hung several guyification-friendly works of metal art. [That’s not a typo. I meant to write the word art.]
Macho Guy modified the middle section of the built-in bookshelves on the wall at the top end of the L into a man cave entertainment center to house a 48-inch widescreen HDTV and additional electronic components. [Had the midsection of the bookshelf wall been wider, I’m certain he would have brought home a 60-inch HDTV at the very least.]
According to Macho Guy, the invention of the recliner and the remote control were the second-highest points in engineering and manufacturing history. [The automobile was the highest, of course.] As a consequence, the seating arrangement facing the Man Cave Mega TV is comprised entirely of overstuffed motion furniture. Everything reclines; everything has a footrest. Feet may not touch the floor unless one intends to stand. Watching TV in anything other than a recliner with a remote control in hand is an extremely unsatisfying experience for Macho Guy and is to be avoided at all costs.
The fireplace is at the other end of the L. It is not possible for me to sit in a cozy chair and read while enjoying its warmth because there is no room for a cozy chair. A pool table takes up that room. It spans the area from a few feet in front of the fireplace to the bottom of the L. There is a designated no-furniture easement surrounding the pool table so players have enough room to extend their pool cues while shooting. Hence no place for cozy chairs anywhere in that vicinity. A poolroom triple light fixture hangs above the pool table. A “Billiards” sign and a pool cue rack adorn the cave wall beside it and bar stools line said wall. The entire family room, aka man cave, oozes testosterone.
Unfortunately, Macho Guy didn’t stop there. We have a small galley kitchen beside the family room at the bottom of the L. Macho Guy invaded it, ignoring my wifely sovereignty over all things kitchen. He annexed the counter space and two cupboards in the refrigerator alcove and proclaimed them his bar. He provisioned it with myriad bar essentials and nonessentials and a huge canister of mixed nuts. The nuts were appropriate, considering.
I’m a basically non-violent person who avoids confrontation whenever and wherever possible. I decided the family room, aka man cave, wasn’t the combat hill I was prepared to die on, so I ceded “the bar” and family room decoration rights to Macho Guy with the understanding that he would keep his paws off my formal living and dining rooms. He agreed to the terms I proposed. A year ago, I felt the first rumblings from Macho Guy that would eventually lead to outright treaty violation.
When we moved into our current abode a number of years ago and bought living room furniture, he tried to convince me then to allow him to put a great big honking La-Z-Boy recliner in the living room beside whatever formal furniture I might want to buy. Oh yeah. Sure I would. Uh-huh. When roosters lay eggs.
Conflict ensued and I went into peacemaker mode. I proposed a compromise. I suggested that we buy a La-Z-Boy Americana suite of living room furniture that included a couch, a loveseat and a matching wing back recliner that didn’t look like a recliner. The footrest tucked under the seat out of sight and there were no handles or push buttons to make it recline so it wouldn’t stand out like boils on Job’s backside.
Macho Guy balked, he whined, he sulked and he nixed the Americana suite. He didn’t like anything remotely Early American or wingback chairs in particular. He wanted a real recliner, one that takes up half the room it is in and makes the other half disappear when its occupant reclines and the footrest extends. Nope. No way. Not going to happen.
I switched to psychological warfare mode. We strolled through the furniture store, and I pretended to swoon over one outrageously ugly suite of furniture after another. I swore I couldn’t live without the ugliest of all. I don’t know what I would have done had he liked it. Fortunately he didn’t. He appeared concerned and steered me back to the Americana suite. He said he wanted to sit in the wingback to see if it was comfortable. Gotcha! We bought the Americana suite.
Flash forward to last year. Macho Guy wants a new recliner—a real recliner—for the living room. Here we go again.
He swears the wingback recliner is out to kill him. He claims that when he reclines, the chair tilts too far back and almost pitches him through the window. Oh really? After all these years, the chair is trying to kill him. Seriously, I knew exactly how the chair felt.
I also knew I was going back into combat. Macho Guy was marshaling his forces. A guyification attack was imminent.
Guilt was Macho Guy’s choice of weapon. Was having a formal living room more important than his safety? Didn’t I care that he was in danger every time he sat in the wingback and reclined? Did I want him to die? I didn’t trust myself to answer.
I went chair shopping with him under the condition that I had veto power. I exercised it four times. Finally, we compromised on a chair we could both live with, a slightly larger and sturdier leather wingback recliner with a hidden footrest. Its color matched the dark cherry coffee and lamp tables. War averted.
I thought that one would be the last of the creeping guyification skirmishes. Wrong. About a week ago, Macho Guy began whining that it was hard to follow sports on the 32-inch screen of the nine-year-old Sony Trinitron TV in our living room. The set has a great picture and is still going strong. Despite that, he confessed that he’s been trolling through electronic stores for a replacement. Guyification Alert!
I suppose I knew what he had in mind before he admitted it. He wanted a widescreen LCD HD TV in the living room. I had better things to do with my time than argue, so this time I gave in to guyification without a struggle. Big mistake.
Until he set up Mega HDTV Junior in our once formal living room yesterday, I had no idea it would look so freaking enormous in there. It is soooo big. Why did I let him buy that gigantic thing?
It was long past time to put my foot down. I informed Macho Guy that I had enough of creeping guyification. I wouldn’t tolerate any more of it. I staged a pre-emptive strike by insisting that there would be no pool table, no Ping-Pong table, no poker table and no additional motion furniture in the living room. Period. And that is the hill I’m willing to die on.
It’s time for some serious girlification around here.