August 18, 2014

"A person claiming to be the thief who stole about $1 million worth of accessories and jewelry from Texas socialite Theresa Roemer's famous three-story closet..."

"... sent the Houston Press a package with a few items as proof. The burglar allegedly demanded $500,000 from Roemer after discovering that the goods were knockoffs."

1. So... a lady has a famous closet.

2. If the goods were, in fact, knockoffs, it wasn't "$1 million worth of accessories and jewelry," was it?

3. A burglar, it seems, has contacted his victim to extort money from her lest he expose her as a phony, flaunting expensive-looking goods that aren't what they appear to be, and he thinks his silence might be worth $500,000 to her? If she had that kind of money to throw around, why was she buying fakes? I guess the answer to that last question could be: Her game is quantity, not quality. Why else would you have a 3-story closet and do what was needed to make the closet famous? If you had genuinely expensive things, you probably wouldn't call attention to where you were storing them.

4. The top comment at the link is: "Sounds like an insurance scam heading south."

5. Newspapers seem to have settled on the term "she-cave," but I'm also seeing "female man-cave." Why not the parallelism of "woman cave." Looking back at material that predates the Roemer incident, I'm seeing a lot of repetitions of a joke in the form of asking: If men have something called a "man cave," what is the female equivalent? Answer: The rest of the house.

6. As I was typing in my search "what's the female equivalent of...," Google tried to help with the following suggestions: cockblock, a bromance, a neckbeard, and phallic.

7. Among the alternative terms for female man-cave: Ma'am Cave, Estrogen Den, A Room of One’s Own, and Ovarium. That's from a blog post that takes the idea of a special women's room seriously. That is, it's not just a big closet, a very nice bathroom, or the old "rest of the house" joke. But what is in that room? It seems to be either a room with feminine colors and furniture, set up for conversation or reading, or a space for doing Martha Stewart-type crafts. Not that some men don't love that sort of thing. Here's David Rakoff in "Martha, My Dear":
I have a cupboard in my living room, a freestanding armoire that holds, among a ton of other stuff, the following supplies. Six stamp pads, rubber linoleum printing blocks, seven boxes of Chinese flash cards, bindery fabric sample books from the garbage of the carpet and tile store on 20th, acrylic paints-- approximately 40 tubes-- rhinestones, pearl buttons, architectural balsa wood, pipe cleaners, and a tin cracker box of golf tees. Quantity, approximately 1,000 assorted colors.

I make stuff. Boxes, lamps, mirrors, small folding screens, painted jackets for kids, that kind of thing. It's what I do in my spare time. Some people need to exercise every day, my salvation lies in time spent alone with an X-acto knife and commercial-grade adhesive.
8. The female equivalent of cockblock is "clam jam." The female equivalent of bromance is "womance." The female equivalent of phallic is "Perhaps women are not so neatly summed up." And the female equivalent of neckbeard is:
If the neckbeard uniform is a fedora, a stanky Slayer tee, and cargo pants, I'd say the female equivalent is webbed fingerless gloves, an ill-fitting corset worn over a stained t-shirt, and anime pins on her backpack/cargo messenger bag. I think we've all went to school with this girl before.


Unknown said...

"Estrogen Den"

close - just conflate it.


rehajm said...

If she had that kind of money to throw around, why was she buying fakes?

Because when you have that kind of money, you can get away with it.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

That is, it's not just a big closet, a very nice bathroom, or the old "rest of the house" joke.

OK, so 'bower', then. Why invent a new word?

Wince said...

Reminds me of the closet and the tactics of the master thief in Clint Eastwood's rather silly "Absolute Power".

Revenant said...

I like "ma'am cave".

MadisonMan said...

womance is too close to woe-mance.

Shouldn't bromance become sismance? Or don't sisters love each other?

Saint Croix said...

Okay, clam jam is horrible. And kinda confusing. It makes me think of Elvis Presley surrounded by women. "Hey kids, it's a clam jam!" Do not sing that song. That is not a hit, Elvis. At best it's a B side. And it makes me think about putting jam on clams. Which I would never do. But now I got an urge to put jam on clams.

Not surprisingly, affirmative action sex metaphors do not work. You got me thinking about multiple women, exotic foods, cunnilingus. The whole train of thought is derailed. It's a clam jam all right. It's clam jam city.

Okay, now I want to vacation there. Book me one flight to Clam Jam City.

Saint Croix said...

Clam jam works for both "cock block" and "sausage party." You could have a clam jam at the clam jam.

I have lost my appetite though. I might have to skip lunch.

Saint Croix said...

Strawberry preserves. I went too far.

Saint Croix said...

Pretty soon I'll have to delete this and try to clean my mind.

It's a clam jam all up in here.

Now I imagine a psychiatrist eating a PBJ.

Oh stop, stop. Mommy!

jimbino said...

The woman's room is the Pink Room, where she keeps her set of pink power tools.

J Melcher said...

Suppose there is a small box instead of a large closet, and from the box were stolen two items, one cheap and one precious. To prove that I was the thief, and had possession of the treasure for which I sought ransom, which of the two items would I return to the rightful owner? And what additional information would and outsider then use to lead him into the assumption that the other was also cheap?

madAsHell said...

That closet says anal retentive.

Who could spend that much time organizing stuff?

Heartless Aztec said...

What man goes into his woman's closet except under duress? What if I moved something or saw something I could never un-see? Oh the horror! I give my Deb's walk in a wide berth.

tim maguire said...

I've always thought of a man-cave as a male "room of one's own." The equivalence seems pretty straightforward and the unnecessary derogatory spin is par for the course.

A woman needs her own room to experience her fullest humanity, a man needs his own room to devolve to a savage state.

David said...

Or maybe the real stuff is in a safe somewhere. (The fox is not always dumb.)

Ma'am cave is clever. I also like EstroDen.

But simplicity and tradition scream that we just call it a Vagina.

David said...

madAsHell said...
That closet says anal retentive.

Who could spend that much time organizing stuff?

The staff. The closet consultant. Anyone on the payroll really.

David said...

surfed said...
What man goes into his woman's closet except under duress?

My wife and I share a rather narrow walk in closet. We each have our own side. In the middle is the Trip Zone.

Amazingly it works just fine for us.

Anonymous said...

Why do women want a room to themselves?

On mothers day, we have the family over and have a social event.

On fathers day, we have the family over and have a social event, because that's what mom wants.

A true fathers day would be everyone leaves dad alone for the day, in his man cave.

From my experience, that's not what mom wants.

Unknown said...

men have man-caves because everyone knows they're troglodytes and that's where troglodytes live. Women OTOH are enlightened creatures of intelligence,beauty and grrll power so what would their natural habitat be? Cloud 9? A pedestal? Dunno.

PS - "Clam Jam" LOL

Revenant said...

The idea that the term "man cave" is meant to insult men is silly. The term was invented and popularized BY married men as a label for the one non-domesticated room they control in a house otherwise controlled by their wives.

Ann Althouse said...

Since "den" is a completely normal word for a room in the house, despite its animal reference, there's nothing insulting about "cave." It suggests a pleasant and safe place to hole up.

Anonymous said...

If I heard "woman-cave" my first thought would be "vagina." And I do mean "vagina" and not "vulva"!

wildswan said...

Women used to have a "drawing room" where they drank tea and exchanged gossip with other women and received men at designated hours - see Jane Austen. And they had a "sitting room" where they sat and drew or practiced the music they played in the drawing room - see Jane Austen. Plus they had to keep the entire rest of the house (or cave) running - except the man cave. It's all pretty tiresome and I wonder - Do women really want a "room of one's own."

The best room I ever had was a hidden crawl space in the attic behind the walls where I sat on planks put across the ceiling laths and read by flashlight while outside the tumult and the shouting raged.

tim maguire said...

Revenant said...The idea that the term "man cave" is meant to insult men is silly.

No, it's plain English. And I have never, ever, heard the word used by a man. Only by wives belittling their husbands.

Prof., I don't see the logic in your assertion that the word "den" negates the caveman reference.

bbkingfish said...

Prof. Althouse asked...

" If she had that kind of money to throw around, why was she buying fakes?"

It is not at all uncommon that buyers of expensive jewelry have copies made. They wear the fakes, and keep the actual goods in a safe deposit box. Wearing expensive jewelry in public is an invitation to misfortune.

Quaestor said...

What about a boudoir? Isn't that the female analog of a man-cave?

Drawing room is a derived from withdrawing room, a place where the women would withdraw from the company of men. In the 17th and 18th centuries banquets were "co-ed" affairs, men and women of the aristocratic classes dined together and enjoyed the same entertainments. Later, when the tables were cleared of food, the ladies would withdraw to more intimate chambers, leaving the men to their drinking, course language and general roistering.

In the Louis XV's palace of Versailles was the first building that contained a special suite of rooms that were dedicated to the use of the queen (or Madame du Barry) and her court of noble ladies, i.e. the first drawing room as such. This was known as the boudoir. The boudoir gained a vaguely risqué character because it was customary on certain occasions for the ladies to change from their very uncomfortable court attire, in which it was almost impossible to sit down, into lounging attire which was not immodest at all, just comfortably without the wires, hoops, whalebone frames, and other contraptions needed to shape those extravagant gowns, and because the boudoir had direct access to the queen's private apartments where her bedroom was among other things.

The boudoir was not by any means an exclusively female domain. Gentlemen were occasionally invited to the boudoir to enjoy tea, cocoa, or coffee, and to participate in the discussions there. This practice evolved into the culture of the salon, which gave rise to another type of chamber of that name which was larger than the boudoir in order to accommodate more guests in a somewhat more formal atmosphere. The salon was a fem-cavern, if we're still on that cave paradigm.

Red Sphynx said...

You missed a curious legal detail, with what sounds like a prior-restraint on defamation angle. From an earlier account:

The burglary comes within two weeks of Roemer filing defamation lawsuits that included restraining order requests in both Harris and Montgomery counties against her 32-year-old stepson, Maximilian Roemer. In the lawsuits, Roemer contends that her stepson became angry after the couple tried to evict him from a home they owned. She contends that he went on to make negative comments about her online, including on a Neiman Marcus blog entry featuring her closet. Maximilian Roemer couldn't be reached for comment Saturday evening.

Roemer said Saturday she doesn't think her stepson had anything to do with the burglary.

Revenant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

And I have never, ever, heard the word used by a man.

That's the exact opposite of my experience.

In any event, anybody offended by the term "man cave" really doesn't qualify to have one. :)

Anonymous said...

The thief was just trying to salvage his time investment. The real ones may be in a safe deposit box.

I like "ovarium" but I'm pretty sure it's called "the yoga room" or "mom's office" or even "the studio" in the real world. If the woman doesn't work, cliche or not, it really is the rest of the house. If you're home all day leaving your stanky vibe over everything while everyone else is at school or work, it's permanently marked as your territory. You can feel it.

Why did "man cave" replace "den" now that I think about it? They are the same. Den is actually the better word. Was it permanently ruined by its 70s association with Mr. Brady?

For "bromance", I think it's "girl crush".

Freeman Hunt said...

The thief reveals the fakes, and so everyone finds out that the woman was smarter than they thought. No need to pay.

Unknown said...

My earlier comment wasn't meant to claim that the term man-cave is universally demeaning or derogatory. I was engaging in sarcasm while I was pointing out a possible interpretation. Doesn't the term itself relay a certain primitive lack of sophistication? It kinda has that "girls keep out" vibe like little boys' tree forts.
I don't think "Married Men" popularized the term - home improvement television did (which I watch, OK 1 strike). Hopefully my opinions won't invalidate my man card or get me banned from watching football. I'm more of a baseball guy anyway. Pennant fever - catch it.
All the above said with a smile!