Discover more from Poiema
A Place to Hang My Hat (and Dried Animal Skins)
Bachelorhood for Dummies
Every man needs a place to hang his hat. An abode of his own. A castle where he reigns as king (or at least as vassal under a neo-feudal landlord).
Someone said “a house is not a home.” That’s true enough. A house becomes a home when a man puts a wife in it. However, cramming a fetching new bride into the trunk of Pontiac does not make a home, nor does squeezing her into a piece of Samsonite luggage and stowing her in an overhead compartment on a red-eye to Vegas. Real estate matters.
It may very well be true that “home is where the heart is.” But home is also where your junk mail and that three-day-old leftover meatloaf is. Home is not an abstraction; no one ever had to pay a mortgage on an abstraction. “Home” said Robert Frost, “is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” This is only necessarily true if you are the only one who lives there and the bills are in your name. Otherwise, you may just as easily be shown the door. Then, any distinction between being an “unhoused person” and a “homeless man” will seem as meaningful as debating over the color of math.
Since every man needs a place to hang his hat, and bachelor’s are necessarily men (and presumably have hats); it stands to reason that even bachelors need a place to call their own. Moving out of the basement and into the world is a step towards maturation. This is the natural course of human development, the next stage of sociological evolution. Other animals, when evolving, decided to turn goop into eyeballs, trunks into noses, talons into toenails, and so forth. On the other hand, we homosapiens decided to evolve parts of other animals–turning cat guts into guitar strings, whale fat into street lamps, and fox hides into fashion statements. Man pretty much left himself alone in this evolutionary process except for the odd bit of back hair. After helping in the evolution of all these other critters, and having so many bits and bobs of them lying around, we needed a place to put them. So we invented houses.
Bachelors need houses because they need to learn self-reliance and because “lives with mom” never gets the girls swiping right on Tinder. A home also provides privacy. A space to be yourself; make noise, a mess, entire cities out of used toothpicks and half-burned matchsticks.
Bachelors need houses because, as men grow, they require larger repositories for dirty laundry. A man without a home is a man who has to carry his dirty drawers around with him in public. And constitutional lawyers tell me that this does little to promote the general welfare or ensure domestic tranquility. Men also have habits of collecting oddities–baseball cards, old coins, dead animal bones, enough magazines to wallpaper the Palace of Versailles–things women would rather replace with throw pillows and plastic shrubbery. A bachelor pad provides a man opportunities to operate his own private museum before matrimony installs a new curator.
Ultimately, a bachelor needs a home of his own because there’s little satisfaction in peeing out of someone else’s window, and a private address is a potent aphrodisiac.