Guest Blogger – Man Cave. Written by Poptart.
Due to neck spasms that have locked my wife’s neck up tighter than the 405 at rush hour, I’ve gone back into the vault to help out.
April 27, 2006
Keith Hernandez is getting blasted. Hernandez, a former member of the New York Mets and current color commentator for the team, recently said on air that women “don’t belong in the dugout.” The comment was made after seeing Mike Piazza, a catcher for the San Diego Padres, high-five a woman in the dugout after hitting a homerun. The woman was the Padres’ massage therapist and a member of the training staff. Hernandez has since been forced to apologize and has been accused of discrediting not only the trainer, but all women.
Let’s all take a big step back, take a deep breath, and think about this before we march to Hernandez’ door with lit torches. He said women don’t belong in the dugout. I happen to agree. The dugout is a vile place filled with men doing vile things. ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski describes it in this way: “The bench seating is so hard your butt wants to dial 911. You can’t see a thing. And by game’s end the dugout floor is a toxic waste dump of spit, snot, used chaw, gum, sunflower seed shells, hawkers, Gatorade, paper cups and ear wax. That’s why stadium workers wear those nuclear reactor suits to hose down the place.” And that’s how we like it.
Guys need a place where we can scratch, fart, pick, joke, sneeze, farmer-blow, haze, and spit. We need a haven where we can openly razz a buddy for waking up with a four-legged land savage in Vegas that one time in college. Men are disgusting, simple beasts. It’s amazing we’ve learned to eat with utensils. With as much work as it takes to groom, pull out chairs, open doors, say “please” and “thank you”, don’t you think we deserve a place where we can devolve for an hour or two? We have an innate need to be disgusting pigs, and we don’t want to do so in front of the women we know and love. I don’t think Hernandez’ comments were meant to discredit women at all. I think they were meant to protect them.
But that only covers the comment Hernandez made. What about the ensuing rage? Why is everyone so up in arms when guys hang up a sign that says, “No girls allowed?” In 1980, a Princeton senior named Sally B. Frank formally protested against Princeton’s all-male eating clubs because she was repeatedly denied membership. According to the Harvard Crimson, Frank said she wanted to join the clubs because she felt she was “very different from the people in them and everyone would benefit from the exchange,” and because “all-male clubs foster a sexist atmosphere on campus.” Princeton had been an all-male campus since it was founded in 1746 until 1969. When fraternities were banned mid-nineteenth century, students founded “Eating Clubs” as a place to gather, eat meals, and socialize. Eating clubs were kept all-male until 1991, when fallout from Frank’s lawsuit forced the last clubs, Tiger and Ivy, to accept female members.
She could have started her own all-female eating club. She could have started her own co-educational eating club. Hell, she could have started her own club and limited membership to people born in the month of June. But she wanted to belong to a group that didn’t want her. She HAD to belong. Why? Because they didn’t want her. There’s a lesson here for all the single guys. You have your eye on a certain lady? Walk up to her and tell her that she can’t date you. Walk away. Repeat as needed. Genius.
Ladies, we’re not asking much. You have Oprah. Keep her. You have the Oxygen Channel, Sarah McLachlan, the Golden Girls, and Thelma & Louise. Hell, you even have Lifetime. Television for Women. Turn your television to Lifetime right now. I’m guessing it’s a movie about a mother and daughter being haunted/stalked/hunted/terrified by a psychotic/jealous/unfaithful/murdering and completely unsympathetic husband/ex-husband/boyfriend/ex-boyfriend/father. Fill in the blanks as you will. The point is: we respect that you have your stuff. We want you to have it. But please, let us keep some of the things that belong to us.
Any guy reading this who lives with his girlfriend or wife is nodding his head right now. Moving in together is less about “coming together,” and more about “my shit goes in storage so there’s more room for the throw pillows.” The Pam Anderson autographed “Barb Wire” poster is in the garage, along with the collection of import beer bottles. The street sign with your name on it that took you and your best friend “Burger” thirty minutes to pry down because you were so drunk? Gone. The corduroy La-Z-Boy that you’ve had since college? Vamoose. For the most part, all these changes are for the best. Now our house smells more like lilac and less like foot. We can find things easier without the layer of laundry and newspaper on the floor. The thing is, we still need that stuff. My wife and I have a deal. I get one room, and she gets the rest of the house. It works out. I have a haven of signed baseballs and basketballs and pieces of floor from the old Houston Summit. I’ve got antlers and license plates and comic books and an old Nintendo 64. I’ve got no taste, we both know it, and it’s fine. It’s mine.
Listen, I get it. The last thing I want to do is come off like another white man complaining about how hard it is to be a white man in America. I hope that’s not the message I’m sending. All I’m trying to say is that the Man-Cave, whether it’s the attic, the garage, or the dugout, is sacred ground. It’s not meant to exclude you, but instead to protect you. It’s our safe haven where we can gather to scratch, spit, cuss, burp, fart, and lie about who we slept with in our “primes”. Because our mothers raised us right, we choose not to do this in the presence of females. But we’re going to do it. And that’s why I defend Keith Hernandez. Women don’t belong in the dugout, and I’m not afraid to say it. Why?
Because you all have cooties.
**This was written in 2006, before I was a father, and before I was the father of a daughter. It’s interesting how my perspective has changed on a lot of things since my daughter was born. Rereading this for the first time in 4 years, I can’t help but wonder how I would feel if my daughter were ever denied membership or acceptance based on her gender. But then again, she just belched like a foghorn and immediately ran over for a high-five. I have a feeling she’ll be okay.