I can recall a conversation with my best friend whilst we were in our early 20s. We both still lived at home with parents and had got into a conversation about our ideal house of the future.
I can’t remember much about that conversation apart from the fact that we were both agreed that in our ideal house of the future a study was non negotiable.
I’ve been pretty fortunate. Most of the houses we have lived in have in fact had a study. In the first 3 years of our marriage we lived in various flats where there was no study. A spare bedroom, a corner of the kitchen, or a wall in the living room had to suffice. I was a full time student for the first year of our marriage and a part time student for the next two, so a study space was critical.
However, for the following 15 years in each of the 3 house we lived we had a study. When I say we, what I mean is, I. The Study has been my space, my territory. Partly this has been because of the nature of my work, but it has also to do with the fact that I think a man needs a study.
Why? A study is more than a place to work and think and study. It is certainly that. It is also a place to hide, to retreat, to escape, to find some alone time. If you are an introvert like me, it’s a space that allows you to recharge from the exertions of engaging with more extrovert family members. It’s not just a study space, it’s head space. Even Obama needs one….
A study then is also our man cave, a den, a place to stamp with our manly fixtures and furnishings. If the rest of the house has frilly flowery curtains, that’s fine because they are banished from the study.
It’s a place to put your stuff, that has no function, but is important to your feelings of manhood. Where else are you going to put your sword, golf clubs, light sabre, or of iron man mask? The study is the obvious choice.
For some men their study ins in fact the shed of the garage or eve the allotments. A place to escape to, and crucially, form which to return to the fold.
All of which makes our most recent house move an interesting in one. Up until now the houses we have lived with have been to do with my job and therefore the study has been mine. No need for discussion.
However, the house that we have just moved to is one that is to do with my wife’s work. That means the study is appropriately hers. Again, no need for discussion.
This means that for the first time in 15 years I don’t have a designated study. Now to be fair, I need to put that into context. I do have a study, a very nice one indeed; at work. What I am talking about is not having a study at home.
However, a study for me is a non-negotiable, remember? So I have moved into the spare bedroom and colonised one end of that room to create a small study space. It’s amazing how much better I feel about the new house now that I can see how and where that study space will be located.