HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
February 19, 2007, Herald Journal

A man’s chair is his castle

By IVAN RACONTEUR

In the home of every man is a chair to which he can return and be at peace with the world (and this is not the white porcelain model that some of you may be thinking of).

It may be made of wood or metal, covered with fabric or leather, and its design might be traditional or contemporary, but no matter how it is made, one can be sure that it fits the needs of its owner.

When a guy is sitting in his chair, he can rule his kingdom (real or imagined) in comfort.

In my case, it is a blue La-Z-Boy recliner. It has wide, padded arms, a cushion for my head, and the foot rest adjusts to the perfect height.

It is beginning to look a bit rough around the edges, but it is as comfortable today as it was the day I brought it home, nearly two decades ago.

It has faded over the years, just as I have developed a distinguished touch of grey. There is a small hole on the edge of the foot rest where frequent use has worn away the fabric. But these things don’t diminish its usefulness.

It has outlasted the store where it was purchased, which went out of business years ago. The chair has also outlived a marriage, and survived a fire.

We have been through a lot together, that old chair and I. We have endured the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat while watching countless football games and other sporting events.

I have laughed at my favorite television shows, watched Bogey spar with the Nazis in Casablanca, and followed The Duke to victory in World War II while reclining in that chair.

From its warm embrace, I have watched history unfold on the evening news (the chair has also outlived several televisions upon which I watched those broadcasts).

I have spent happy times sharing the chair with another, and equally happy times enjoying a good book on my own.

It has been suggested that my chair is becoming a bit seedy. Some consider it an eyesore, and think it should be cast aside like a piece of rubbish.

But they don’t understand this old chair of mine.

They don’t realize that the chair and I were young together, and after all these years, it is more than just a piece of furniture.

It fits me like a glove (well, comfortably anyway), and matches my contours in a way that no other chair can do.

It has provided a place to dine and a place to think. When I have been sick, or plagued by the old back pain, the chair has provided a refuge where I could get some rest.

We have been together through the good times and the bad.

From this chair, I have shared Christmas mornings with the family and reunions with old friends.

When my cat, Missy, became too sick to go on, I brought her home from the vet’s office, and we spent one last night together in that chair, with me awake and remembering our years together, and she curled up and purring on my lap.

It may not be the most attractive chair in the house, but it is, by far, the most comfortable.

After a long day at work, I need only head for my chair, and as soon as I kick back and put my feet up, the world begins to seem a better place.

The chair was a sizable investment the day we bought it, but I have gotten my money’s worth a thousand times over.

It may not be as pretty as it once was, or as stylish, but then, who among us is?

There are a lot of good years left in that chair, and I intend to make the most of them.

Women have a very different kind of relationship with their furniture than men do.

Women enjoy pretty things. To them, furniture, like everything else in their lives, is a fashion statement. They need things to match, and they take great pains choosing the color and style of each piece.

Guys are not necessarily opposed to having things match, but it is not a requirement for us. To be honest, we may not even notice some of the subtle details that women have worked so hard to coordinate.

We don’t understand throw pillows, and we don’t care much about accent pieces that serve no purpose other than decoration.

To us, function is more important than appearance.

And, as any guy will tell you, when he is sitting in his chair, he can’t see it anyway, so it doesn’t matter what it looks like.

Most guys are content to leave home decorating up to the women in their lives.

The exceptions to this are the garage, the home bar, if there is one, and his chair.

These areas are far too personal to leave up to chance.

My new “home stager” says that my chair has to go because it does not fit with her vision for the room. I suppose I will have to take her advice, and my chair will have to take a hiatus.

I will need to find a good safe place to store it until the house is sold, but this will only be temporary. I am not ready to give it up yet. There really are a lot of good years left in that chair.