December 8, 2007


Stereo Sanctuaries (VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN, 12/09/07, NY Times Magazine)

What exactly do men do in their tricked-out electronic hideaways? You know, when they’re “working.”

“What do you do in there?” I asked my husband, a writer, about the office he rents near our apartment. “Write,” he said. “Watch ‘24,’ read Baseball Digest, listen to Stevie Wonder.”

O.K., but that’s him. Illuminated by high-def kaleidoscopes, flanked by exotic speakers and enfolded in what seem like yottabytes of audiovisual data, other tech-sequestered men must use their superempowered alone time for something more momentous. Nuclear fusion, maybe, tundra analysis or tornado prevention.

Men have always had personal retreats — antiseptic or wood-paneled — filled with concert mementos, career trophies and esoteric collectibles. And women have always been mystified by them. After all, they lack the red-currant candles and yoga paraphernalia associated with true Me Time. The classic male hideout is a musty captain’s quarters, all brass and wood polish, featuring billiards, tobacco, brandy, books and maps. Another perplexingly mundane pastime of the unwired study is solitaire — Bill Clinton’s tray-table indulgence and the chief diversion of John Pierpont Morgan, the robber baron who ignored the rare volumes and priceless prints in his exquisite Manhattan private library in favor of hand after hand of solo card games.

If women understood we wouldn't have to hide from them.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 8, 2007 1:02 PM

So then, why are men so reluctant to reveal their real selves? They don't mind "kidding" the women in their lives for preferring scented candles to stinky cigars. Truth be told, we do understand and know what goes on in your trusty redoubts, but let you think you're putting one over on us, so we can have a little peace and quiet.

Posted by: erp at December 8, 2007 3:44 PM

Men pretend in order to get sex.

Posted by: oj at December 8, 2007 6:47 PM

As one of the editorial reviews of the book reminded us;
"Women go to convents to do good work. Men go to monasteries to get away from women"

Posted by: Mike at December 8, 2007 8:15 PM

If women understood men they'd never stop slapping us.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at December 9, 2007 9:20 AM