Ode to the Man-Chair


All in the Family may not be in the memory of many people under the age of 40 unless they watch TV Land, but it brings up a key idea of masculine home design. Men should have their own space, but it doesn’t always matter the exact square footage of that space. While it is pretty much indisputable that women control the home these day (A fact I will continue to fight against), men need to put their foot down where they can, and the 9 square feet that a  “man-chair” occupies is a great place to start.

A man-chair is a simple thing to come across. Its usually a arm chair with heavy padding that is totally immune to usage from anyone other than the man of the house. It can be anything from a top-of-the-line brown leather recliner to an old Wing-back with worn fabric like Archie Bunker’s. The key is that it is yours, and no one can sit in it while you are in the room. The couch is for the plebeians who are lucky enough to garner an invitation to your abode. A man-chair, however, is undeniably his throne.

The great thing about man-chairs, they don’t have to match anything else, despite what your significant other says.  If you didn’t have enough input on the rest of the interior design, the man-chair gives guests insight as to how you “would” have designed the room. Man-chairs can defiantly stand against all the other decor in the room and often do. Think about Martin Crane’s green recliner from Fraiser. It didn’t match anything other than Martin’s personality. He defiantly established it as the focal point of Fraiser’s modernist domicile, because there was no way his son’s pretentious style would interfere with his comfort. It was not a point of compromise (Though you can picture Fraiser yelling how the green chair didn’t match the abode’s minimalist motif).

A man chair is the bare minimum to have in your house. You may not have been able to argue away a guest bedroom for your cigars and poker games, but you can put you foot down on the 9 square feet of living room that your throne occupies. It becomes the anchor to the room, a throne for the eldest male to make proclamations, dictate manifestos and rebel against his significant other’s floral print laden design.

I have an old yellow wing back chair that has garnered the “Old-Man Chair” moniker. It is hideous looking and was nothing more than a thrift store find for $20. However, its comfortable and I love it. It is a welcome respite from the modernist look I have in the rest of the house. It has become my office’s reading and smoking chair. It is now a place where I can escape the televisions and blu ray players I have in other rooms. One day it may be exiled from the house in the name of “happy wife, happy life”, but I cannot envision throwing it out. It will simply be relocated to the garage or the workshop.

There are only two rules that apply to a Man-Chair. They have to be comfortable and they have to be well built. Apart from that they do not need to fit any criteria for design other than your own. It can be that tag-sale find you had since college or that leather message chair you just spent $5,000 on. It does not matter. It is simply a seat that you like, and you don’t need or want anyone else’s input when picking it out and planting it in the living room. The key is that it is yours, and it is unapproachable by anyone without express permission.

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