This is the third post in the 1/2 Marathon being orchestrated by the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association. I have a bunch of questions left from the A Males Perspective teleconference I spoke at last week. As such, I’ll be using this marathon to answer some of the questions I received. Please note, these are my perspective. I cannot vouch for all males and when I’m giving my perspective on women, I certainly cannot vouch for all women. Also, all references to gender traits are based on the average population, there are exceptions of course. Please do not be offended by these if you are not “neurotypical” for your gender. So, on to the question:
Is having a man cave or alone time important to a man? And if so why?
I have two answers, and they are direct conflict with each other. I honestly don’t know which one I believe, so I’m going to give both and let the readers decide which fits their version of reality better:
No, having a man cave or alone time is not important to a man. Now, before I am outcast by my gender, let me explain. I don’t think it’s specifically a man thing. I think it’s an introvert thing. Introverts need quiet, alone, uninterrupted time to process. To think, to explore themselves and to plan. I write in my office in my house, which I guess you could call my “man cave”. It’s where I work from, it’s where I write, it’s where I do research and if I have the house to myself, it’s where I go, usually with the door shut (even if no one is home and no one is expected). And I don’t shut the door because I’m afraid of being caught doing anything inappropriate, it’s just a symbolic way to “shut out” the rest of the world for a while. To stop the input so I can process what I have so far. I do not zone out in front of a TV, in fact, I hate mindless shows that don’t cause you to think. I can’t stand watching sports, but then, I don’t fit the stereotype in that way. So, my thought it that introverts need a “cave” where they can go and process, and their spouses need to respect that they need that. I am very blessed to have one that does.
Yes, there is something inside a man that just wants to be alone sometimes. If you watch Mark Gungor’s video on the difference between male and female brains, he does an excellent job of explaining the difference between male’s compartmentalized brain and females connected brain. He doesn’t go into too much of the reason though. So, here’s a quick explanation:
Men’s brains are compartmentalized into “boxes”. You have a “box” for work, and a “box” for home, and a “box” for church, and a “box” for computer games, and a “box” for sports etc, etc, etc. Everything has a box. And whenever you are thinking about something, it’s like taking that “box” out, going through it and when your done, you put it back. You don’t open 2 boxes, you don’t mix boxes and boxes never touch. We have more trouble switching gears between topics. When we have a work problem, we don’t want to associate it with a home problem or a church problem. Those are different boxes.
Women are the opposite. They are extremely connected. Work is connected to home is connected to the church is connected to hobbies is connected, etc, etc. When they think about a problem at work, it automatically makes them think about a problem at home and a problem at church and any other problem that might be related in the smallest way.
So, you ask a man how his day at work was, the answer is “fine”. Why? His work box is put away already and he’s at home now. Different box.
Ask a women how her day was and you might be listening to a monologue about her entire perspective on life (some hyperbole there). Because everything is connected.
Why do men compartmentalize?
While developing as a fetus, boy’s brains are given a testosterone bath at one point and it burns away part of their corpus callosum. What is that? That is the bridge that connects the two halves of our brains together. That’s right, men are partially brain-dead. But that’s OK because we sort of make up for it by having 4% more brain matter in general. That’s the trade, we get more brain matter, women get more connectivity. That’s why, generally, women are better at multitasking and men are better at the single-minded purposeful attack of a problem. We need both in this world.
So, what does this have to do with a “man cave”? Men have this special feature of their brains where we can just about turn it off and still be conscious and alive. Mark Gungor calls it the “nothing box”. This is where the stereotype of the male staring in front of the TV, looking brain dead comes into play because it’s kind of true. Women don’t have this feature. It’s much harder due to the connected nature of their brain. Everything is connected, so there is never a place without a connection to some thought, emotion or memory.
So, those are my two answers. They both aren’t solid reasoning yet, I think the truth is probably somewhere in the middle or a mix.
What do you think?
Men: Do you have a “man cave”? Is it important to you? Do you know why?
Women: Are you jealous of your man’s ability to “disconnect” from the world? Or do you do it too?