Growing up, my family always had a working fireplace. The fireplace was not used for heat, though it gave off pleasant warmth. The fireplace was not used for light, though it did give off a peasant ambient glow. The fireplace was not used to cover odors, though the smell of a roaring fireplace did draw you in.
My first home did not have a fireplace. For Christmas one year I constructed a fake wooden fireplace covered with brick print paper just to hang the kids stockings. Looking back, it was pitiful.
Eventually we had a working fireplace added to our family room. My next two homes also had working fireplaces. Currently our townhome has a working fireplace in the living room.
We never use the living room, we never use that fireplace. We do use a family room in the basement where there is a gas “fireplace.”
The gas “fireplace” looks like a working fireplace. It gives off warmth and lighting ambiance. It starts with a flick of a switch and does not go out until you flick the switch to “off.”
The main difference between this fireplace and a working fireplace is this fireplace requires no work. To many, especially young people, that is a plus.
These people just do not understand the tradition of a “working” fireplace.
A working fireplace requires wood. The wood has to be chopped and split, a testosterone pumping chore that only a man can appreciate. Work is key to a working fireplace. Even stacking firewood that is ordered and delivered counts. Stacking delivered logs is not the same as chopping and splitting, but it does give a man that family protecting, testosterone producing high one gets from preparing for Winter.
Maintaining a working fireplace is much like hunting for meat. Sure you can buy lovely steaks at Costco, but stalking, shooting and butchering your own steaks reaches back to the ancient DNA in our brain that kicks off the “providing for your family” endorphins that makes a man feel like a man.
I am not a hunter. I used to get my manly testosterone endorphin lift from my working fireplace. I do miss feelings from that experience, though at my age, I don’t miss the labor as much.
There is something about splitting wood, stacking wood, and admiring that property line defining stacked log fence that makes you feel like I suppose the pioneers of old felt. A useful, family providing, family protecting feeling that just coming home with a pay check does not provide.
Men if you want your woman to appreciate you, she needs to see you providing and protecting. She does not see you working at the office, so she can not appreciate all you do for the family. If she sees you out back chopping and stacking wood, even though intellectually she knows she can just turn up the thermostat and flick a switch for heat and light, watching her man provide, kicks off some ancient female hormone deep in her DNA.
The process of starting and maintaining a working fireplace fire has the same effect. It somehow makes a man think he is providing for his family. A man takes pride in starting that fire, and keeping it going. It is a whole process. Using properly aged wood, how to place the logs, the type of kindling, all a part of the process. Yes you could kick it all off with an acetylene torch, but that is just not the same. When you need to tromp outside through a foot of snow to gather a few more logs it says as much to your woman as a delivery of fresh flowers.
Most new houses today are being built with convenient, common sense easy to use, flip a switch flame over fake ceramic logs fireplaces.
They are great!
They are not the same.