So you’ve heard of the man cave. It was all the rage a few years back, when men around the country staked their claims to some forgotten corner (preferably a back room) in their homes. Décor was simple: a good TV, a comfortable lounge chair and a mini fridge. Maybe video games and traces of a hobby or two. (Dart board, say, or woodworking tools.)
What a man cave did not have? Sofa pillows, frilly curtains and a velour throw. And absolutely no reed diffusers either, not even those that emanate a masculine musk.
A man cave appealed to the pre-domesticated man who needed a separate space to be himself, to be what society wouldn’t allow him to be — society being a euphemism for wife, girlfriend, mother, sister or any girlie influence.
Now, as part of our eternal pursuit for equality, we have invented the concept of the she shed. A she shed, some proclaim, is the harried woman’s answer to the man cave. If you read Country Living or browse Pinterest, you’ll know this is a white-hot trend. As it should be, because McMansions have become passé, one of those First World topics that make us blush in retrospect.
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With a more humble she shed, there’s no more locking yourself up in the bathroom when you’re at wit’s end. No more begging off with a migraine or escaping to the car for an emergency trip somewhere. (All of which I admit to doing, at one point or another, when my five kids lived at home.) You can now escape the nerve-wracking chaos that is home life by simply stepping outside and into a place that is all your own, four walls festooned with whatever you can manage to buy at HomeGoods or Pottery Barn at a discount.
Several blogs have rhapsodized about these hideaways and — because this is the 21st Century — there’s even a themed website for the woman who wants to convert that beat-up shed in the back yard into a place all her own. I spent more than an hour perusing its ideas, accessories and paint colors when I should’ve been answering my email instead. Not a smart choice.
Sanctuary. Haven. Shelter. Refuge — a she shed is meant to be all these, as well as a billboard for its owner’s true desires. One online site posted pictures of some incredibly tricked-out mini-cribs. The first she shed had a chandelier (!), another had ivy climbing up its walls, a third displayed a hammock. Each was cozier — and prettier — than the other.
Hmmm. We have a shed in our back yard. It houses a generator, a lawn mower, a leaf blower, our fake Christmas tree and assorted bins of holiday decorations. It has always been The Hubby’s domain, but I’m eyeing it with all the lust a 58-year-old can manage on five hours of sleep.
How would I make it my own?
First things first. I’d install a window air conditioner. Can’t survive without one in Miami. Then I’d line the space with floor-to-ceiling shelves, the better to accommodate my books. Add a chaise lounge against one wall and a coffee maker on an end table. A bottle of merlot. No smartphone, no laptop, no television set. Actually not much of anything else.
My she shed would be stripped of the frou-frou and the show-off. It would be a chance to simplify my life, to have less, fewer, smaller. To, well, shed. Because the older I get, the more I realize how much we complicate our lives and how little we truly need to enjoy ourselves.
Follow Ana on Twitter @AnaVeciana.