Housing Complex

Bogus Trend Spotting, Man Cave Edition

By reacting to a story about "man-caves," I almost feel like I'm taking the Wall Street Journal's anti-feminist bait. But in the name of giving obligatory WTFs to bogus trends: What the fuck, Wall Street Journal?

The story does have some substance, in bringing to light the micro-industry of outfitting spaces just for dudes. There's Mancavemarket.com, Man Cave LLC, and the "Official" Man Cave Site, not to mention the DIY Network's show Man Caves. As usual, the story founders on its attempt to identify a broader societal trend, this time in the sphere of gender relations.

The man cave has a secret: Women use them, too. Their new interest comes as these spaces have morphed from cold garage outposts into tricked-out comfy spreads, complete with flat screens TVs, fully stocked bars, arcade games and plush (clean!) furniture.

Women, we learn, are taking more interest in men's dens because they're comfy and increasingly tricked out–and also because they cost more, and God knows those tightfisted wives keep a close watch on their husbands' expenses. But what happens if the Cave becomes too inclusive, blurring the lines between a Y-chromosome zone and just a family room? The proprietor of mancaveinteriors.com says that men are starting to "take charge" of their own spaces again. Though some never let go in the first place.

Mr. Sattler flips on an outdoor blue light to let the neighbors know when his "underground lounge" is open, but jokes that women, including his wife, typically stop by only if "they are dropping off food or bringing cleaning products."

I don't know whether to feel more nauseous because men actually spend hundreds of thousands of dollars outfitting rooms with NASCAR memorabelia where wives aren't welcome, or because the Journal happily declares that women invading those sacred spaces because once things become nice enough for female habitation. Either way–blarg.

  • George McC

    LOL at these practically castrated men who have been forced out of their own homes. They crow about their "man cave." So much for "a man's home is his castle" the mantra these dudes father's lived by. To gloat and be proud that all you get is one room in the basement of the house you paid for - after work all day, all week, all year so your wife can live large in suburbia. Oh the humanity! Friggin' losers.

  • Mrs. D

    Way to draw in an MRA, Lydia. I thought they would go spend their worthless blather somewhere else once Amanda left.

  • Lydia DePillis

    Yeah, I'll try to avoid doing this very often, Mrs. D.

  • George McC

    MRA? Oh, Mrs. D, you misunderstand.

  • Mrs. D

    No, I think you misunderstand. The modern two-income household means that many, if not the majority, of these homes are purchased, decorated, and "tricked out" using both spouses' funds. Long gone are the days when men "busted their ass" while their wife "lived large in the suburbs." More importantly, married people or a family ALL using a space does not mean that they're "stealing" what rightfully belongs to the "man of the house." It's the classic MRA attitude that you're being cheated by women, who should simply sit there, smile, and praise the flying spaghetti monster for your very existence, no matter how crudely you act.

    In addition, you have a poor understanding of domestic history. Women decorated the house, and men hung on to a little bit of it...their favorite, smelly recliner, or an old baseball card collection stuffed in the corner of the closet. My grandfather was relegated to showering in the basement post-work because he would "dirty up" the upstairs baths with his factory-worker filth. He also sat in a pink recliner, because it matched the decor. Sure, he ruled the TV channel choices, but not the selection of the TV stand. Let me tell you, the ceramic geese that flanked the TV...not HIS choice. The pink carpet in my childhood home...um, so not selected by my father. And all the knick-knacks, flower arrangements, doilies, and flowered sofas in my friends' homes...I'm gonna go with daddy didn't pick them out. When "the boys" wanted to play poker, in both my grandparents' and parents' generations, they went to the garage or the bar. Gatherings in the home were sophisticated or family affairs, centering around food and conversation, and largely orchestrated by the lady of the house.

    Finally, the man cave is certainly the best sign of a man who can't grow up, share, and prioritize. Spending $50,000 on a room that your wife and kids can't enter when you have a family? Utter, self-centered bullshit. Don't get me wrong, if I ever had the space for it, I would have a pool table in my house. But everyone in the family and all guests would be welcomed to use it (responsibly, I'm not opposed to the guy telling his kid "look, don't touch"). That is, after all, the point of having entertainment equipment in one's family home. What's next, separate living rooms for each member of the family, so that no one's "space" and "peace" is disrupted by their OWN FAMILY MEMBERS? We've already moved that way to a large extent, with homes with more TVs than residents, and palatial rooms that one could easily live in for a year, barely leaving. I'm not opposed to having the spare TV when more than one person REALLY wants to watch something, but aren't families supposed to, you know, share and interact? You want some private time? Encourage your spouse and kids to have friends and interests outside of the family, and foster some for yourself (and, you know, maybe do the dishes once in a while so that your spouse isn't trapped at home doing work constantly). Don't go buy the coolest toy in the store, put it 10 feet away from your family, and stand in front of it screaming "MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE." Fer crissakes, most of the people profiled here used the rooms at WHOLE DIFFERENT TIMES.

  • George McC

    Wow, Mrs. D, you're pretty crazy. That was quite a rambling rant. I'm sorry your grandfather wasn't allowed in his own house.
    I just think it's funny that these guys are all proud of having one room to themselves. I can't understand why a couple wouldn't plan and decorate their homes together. Why this becomes a "man's rights" "woman's rights" thing to you is beyond me.

  • George McC

    Actually, the funniest thing about your last post, Mrs. D, is you telling me that I misunderstand my own post. I really find it strange that my poking fun at these ridiculous guys makes you get all defensive. Yet you are getting defensive for wives, not their husbands who I am mocking.
    Your reaction has really left me scratching my head.

  • KaloramaKarla

    Really? You say:
    "My grandfather was relegated to showering in the basement post-work because he would "dirty up" the upstairs baths with his factory-worker filth."
    "When "the boys" wanted to play poker, in...my grandparents' generations, they went to the garage or the bar."
    "Gatherings in the home were sophisticated"

    OK, why do I not believe this family of blue collar workers who played poker in the garage had sophisticated affairs?

    Mrs D., are you really a guy trying to make women sound stupid? Your comments are insulting to feminists everywhere (and not just this generation).