Leaving the cave behind

June 2, 2010

Guelph Mercury, 02/06/10 cavemen

A funny thing happened to a friend of mine a few years ago. I went to visit him and his wife at their new home, their first home, and was stunned by how nice it was.

There was art on the walls, flowers on the table and nice dishes in the cupboards. The laundry room was organized, the furniture was clean and it matched and they had fresh linens for guests.

I was floored. How was it possible this was the same guy who once drank 23 beers in my living room without even leaving the recliner? Here he was, acting like an adult. What could be behind such a transformation?

Women, that’s who. Lucky for us, they inherently know how to build a nest. They know how to make a home. And men folk ought to be grateful. Because without them, most of us would still be living in caves, sitting on milk crates and trying to figure out where to plug in the flat-screen TV.

But cave sweet cave just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

For all the jokes men make about being domesticated by women, the alternative isn’t much better. I like drinking beer and watching baseball—but without a good woman, that might be all I’d do if I had a dwelling to myself. OK, that’s if I could find a way to get electricity into the tent.

That’s because we’re stubbornly practical beasts. We’re perfectly fine with paper plates and drinking out of the same coffee mug day after day. Most real estate sales would go like this: “You say that roof will keep rain off my head? Sounds great!”

We don’t know any better.

The art of making a house a home is lost on most men. If interior decorating was a world dominated by us, house paint would come in colours like blue or white, not Tahitian Moonmist Glow and Spanish Eggshell Tempura. Couches would only have to be comfortable, not matching the accents in the drapes.

They say it’s a man’s world. But anyone who believes that has probably never lived with a woman. And they’ve probably never been to a wedding.

Yes, if all weddings were organized by men, there’d be no bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, stag and doe parties, engagement parties, receptions, gift directories and fancy invitations. Just a booze-filled bachelor party, then a barbecue, a keg of beer and straight to the consummation. No need to sign the guest book, just give the groom a high-five on your way out.

But no, women have a mind for the finer details in life. They want nice things. They want us to act more like adults, and less like cavemen.

And you know what? It ain’t so bad.

Greg Mercer is a Guelph-based writer. His column appears Wednesdays. He can be reached at greg_mercer@hotmail.com, and past columns can be read at gregmercer.ca

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