To Mancave or Not to Mancave? That is the question.

Mancave, noun: A room, space, corner or area of a dwelling that is specifically reserved for a male person to be in solitary condition, away from the rest of the household in order to work, play, involve himself in certain hobbies, activities without interruption.

– Urban Dictionary


I am also pounding on my chest but because I’m not so well versed in the art of You-Tube and I still don’t know how to work my webcam (do I even HAVE a webcam?), you won’t get to see it.

I’m not hairy (save for several random hairs on my big toe, what’s with that?!). I regularly purchase and use deodorant. I don’t club my women. Well actually, I don’t club men either (I prefer my date alive thankyouverymuch). And my teeth are regularly inspected by a member of the American Dental Association. So I utter a few grunts and groans when falling out of bed each morning.  And yes, I CAN apply for car insurance online.  I think that this means, by last count, that I am not a caveman. Score!

*makes note on resume*

Granted, I’m not your normal guy. I don’t do sports (and by don’t do I mean don’t do without a drink in my hand). I’ve never read Playboy (by read I mean read without a drink in my hand).  And I’ve never fist-bumped three of my other buddies because a really big guy in tight pants carried a Stewie shaped ball over a white line and did a “Hand to Jesus” move.  Big shocker right?  Should I make a Steelers joke right now?  Probably not… don’t want to lose the one reader I have from Pittsburgh.

So, Mancave. Let’s talk about this for a minute. The last time I checked, we’d made it past the evolutionary stages whereby we all walked as if we lived in a French bell-tower (ie: hunched over), grunted our orders, and screamed Yabba-Dabba-Do at the top of our lungs. This isn’t the stone age and a great majority of us haven’t eaten Dinosaur in years (Though I’ve heard it’s quite a delicacy). Yes guys, I know the Mancave is that one space in the house that is all yours.  With the “Keep Out Girls” sign on the door even though Pamela Anderson has held a place of honor on the wall since her first surgery.  You know what I’m talking about.

“Everytime I hear the word Mancave I’m struck by what a giant step backward it is.  Does making a room sound like it has Neanderthal-esque appeal make it more attractive?”

– Meredith Heron Meredith Heron Design

Sure.  It is the one place in the house that you are free to do guy things.  Like play X-Box.  Or watch football.  Or fart.  And yes, some of these actions may seem a little caveman-esque (if I hear “There is more room on the outside” one more time…) but isn’t calling your room your cave just shy of asking to be hairy and grunty again? Bears live in caves. Cavemen live(d) in caves. Trolls live in caves.  Scratch that.  Trolls live under bridges.  But men, we have this great thing the Oxford English Dictionary calls a vocabulary.  Say it with me. VOC-AB-U-LARY.  I tend to think of the great TV men.  Dick Van Dyke. Darren Stevens. Al Bundy. None of them had a Mancave. Van Dyke had a study (and a chair with a really dangerous ottoman). Darren had his office (which I believe was actually immune to his mother in law).  Al Bundy had a toilet in his garage.

Call me old fashioned but isn’t referring to our “space” as the Mancave, no matter how we say it (try it with an English accent, it’s fun!) a little disrespecting?  A little self-depreciating? We’re men yes.  Are we gentlemen?  Some of us. But are we cavemen?  Not unless you’re in a Geico commercial. So what’s the point of referring to ourselves as such?

Before you get your knickers in a bunch (another indicator that we are definitely not cavemen – we wear underwear; most of us anyway), I know that it all comes down to semantics. That Mancave is nothing more than a word.  That in the end, it all comes down to one of man’s most essential needs (after bourbon, football, and sex).  Personal Space.

“In my vernacular, the media/theater room is a space for the entire family; whereas the Mancave is just for the men of the house to be a testosterone-filled play area.  I love the idea of men and women having separate spaces to relax.”

– Angel Robinson Write Robinson Couture Stationery

I totally get it.  The further along you are in life, the more chance there is that people are encroaching on your personal space. Usually it’s little people and they’re trying to play with your toys.  That’s Daddy’s Playstation, Junior!  Steve and I are only two people with a dog and even that can be enough to drive me to drinking. As such, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a room or a space or at least a futon of one’s own.  A domain that isn’t public territory.  To be the master of your own land. It is totally key and although it doesn’t necessarily need a door, it should become a personal reflection of its owner.

BUT, and this is the big but, can we please open up the dictionary and call it something OTHER than a Mancave?  Study. Library.  Mantuary.  Salle des Hommes. My personal preference?  Lair.

And ladies, naming a room is like naming his … um… tool.  When he comes up with his own personalized tag (because you’ve tazed him every time he said Mancave) don’t laugh.  Especially when he calls it “Grawl’s Room of Magical Delights”. Just giggle under your breath and offer him another beer.


Images via: ScrapeTv, GQ, Toonpool

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17 thoughts on “To Mancave or Not to Mancave? That is the question.

  1. Hmmmm. I don’t get what all the ‘man cave’ fuss is about. If my husband requires a den, library, study, office, or big screen TV room where he can watch football, or listen to his preference in music, and we can afford that luxury AND he wants to call it his ‘man cave’…more power to him, I couldn’t care less….as long as my request for my own private oasis is met with the same respect….and I can call it whatever I want!

    • dcoopsd says:

      Lately it’s become quite an interesting discussion. While lurking around the i-net (something I do much too well these days) I ran across a number of conversations in the media (and not just on blogs… GQ and Glamour did big to-do’s recently) about the psychology behind the mancave. Typically the conversations are pretty one sided and 9 times out of 10 are female oriented. Although I’m not a fan of the terminology (obviously) I’m all for having personal space.

      In short, I’m of the thought that the term “ManCave” has been latched on to by mainstream media as a way to push copy. Where’s the creativity in that?

  2. Nothing like a little Brandon to get me completely off track. Here I am pouring through catalogs of low voltage lightning for my restro project & a new blog post comes through… made evident by the persistent blinking light on my Black Berry. No! I tell myself. Read it later. But Mancaves! What?! Like I can avoid this issue. As if I can hold myself back??? Very funny the way your always hitting my nerves this way.

    Being that I am dating a self proclaimed Neanderthal I am already having nightmares about our clash in taste & decor. It is a total balancing act, being that he is completely petrified of color (anything with a hint of color) & would be thrilled to have taxidermy in ever corner of the house. With my jumpy nature I can just see me constantly startling every time I walk in the room & find some dead things beady glass eyes looking at me.

    We don’t share a house yet but one must be prepared. Hell no! He is not getting a man cave! He is probably going to have a whole damn man house!

    I have been pinning pictures on pinterest on my “to please the hunter” board of options that tastefully (or as tastefully as possible) incorporate things like antlers & such into a home decor that I can glean a few ideas from so hopefully he can be satisfied with my compromising.

    The only thing I haven’t figure out is how do I incorporate his favorite football team into that…? GAG me! I am not seeing any compatibility here between contact sports & the so called sport of hunting I wonder if he would be satisfied with my putting a set of ram horns on the wall? If not I am the one that will need a room of my own.

    It will be my estrogen retreat room…yes! Sometimes it is the woman who needs & must have her own space & this woman needs plenty of that. Must think up a new name for this room though & I must make is so beautiful he will not feel comfortable coming into it ever. 😉

    • dcoopsd says:

      I can think of a few words for your Wo-mantuary but I don’t think I can post them here. I’m already going to take a beating for my mancave diatribe 😀 HAHA!

      As for taxidermy… my mother had a special place for my father’s 6-point buck horns. In the closet. I kid you not, they were hung with care over his side of the inside of the closet. Scared me shitless the first few times I snuck in there to check out Christmas presents but maybe that was the point. He did, however, have the garage which we always knew was dad’s place.

      As for that football team…. I can’t help you there simply because it would be just my luck his team wouldn’t have a great color scheme. Who picks those things anyway? Probably the same people that name paint colors. I hate them both.

      • Lol…! I know right! Not color experts I am sure. Even my boyfriend hates the colors teams use. I think he is possibly allergic to color. Told me that a silver sage slipper chair I wanted over a year ago (The color of my bedding. If you check out my last blog you can see what I mean) was not a color for inside a house.

        Hmmm…maybe you will have to send me a private message. Still grasping at straws for the perfect name & I am surely destined to need a Wo-manturay. I have reached the level of acceptance

      • dcoopsd says:

        There may be schools for color acceptance. Not sure though. HAHA!

  3. Funny, when I think of ‘man cave’ I’m more inclined to think of the actual structure as opposed to the decor. Not a chance my man’s ‘man cave’ will have anything more than leather recliners, big screen TV, his vast history and political book library, a bar stocked with beer, wine, and 18yr old scotch. Our log cottage actually houses the moose antlers, fishing poles and stuffed fish….and it’s not man caveish’ at all. Thank God he’s married to a professional decorator.

    • dcoopsd says:

      I got lucky with Steve. He has his eye on one of those big 40’s French leather chairs and a mid-century console for his collection of bourbon. Granted, the old school Nintendo will be inside said console but it’s his room so who am I to judge right?

      As for your cottage…. I’m jealous!

  4. Carrie says:

    I love this.


    Because at work, my cube is referred to by most everyone in the office of 378 people as my (ehem…) SHE-CAVE!

    And I love it. It’s fancied up with hot pink and animal print stuff and it’s so cool, at least once a week someone strolls through just to look.

    No, it’s not gawdy and stupid looking…just really, really cool.

    But anyone is welcome. Lord knows I can’t hide in there to save my soul.

    • dcoopsd says:

      Well duh… that’s because the whole point of a cubicle is so that the boss can keep an eye on his serfs. I mean slaves. I mean employees. Have you finished that TCP report yet?

  5. Who needs a TV when there is to entertain us?

    A few years ago, I realized there wasn’t a single room in our house that was a sanctuary for the Mr. He had a wall of braggadocio (I can’t bring myself to take down the photo/trophy of him with Tiger Woods), but not a space of his own. I had lots of hideaways and so did the children. Now that they’re grown, he has a place to get away. He likes it. It has a solid wood door, so I like it too. He can watch sports, study, release methane to his heart’s content and chomp Batampte dills without getting an evil sideways glance from me.

    The only things remotely cave like about the room are its chocolate brown walls and Baker Outlet steal of a club chair. (Yes! Baker has an outlet in Kohler, WI. It is amazeballs.) We haven’t named the room, and Man Cave isn’t even a consideration. I’m leaning towards Fart Factory, but I’m thinking that may not fly on the MLS sheet. I’m always open to suggestions.

    • dcoopsd says:

      We got lucky with regards to our house in that we have this small room just off the living room with a big 100 year old pocket door. The room is small, maybe 10×10. At one point, my office was in this little section of the house. That is until we converted our second bedroom into my office (you just can’t contain samples in a room so small… and I could see the TV from my desk). So it is Steve’s territory. He likes to claim that it isn’t his space because it’s filled with pieces of furniture that didn’t fit elsewhere in the house but in reality it’s his little room to play Nintendo and relax with his Russian literature. Smoking is forbidden though (we have a big front porch for the Cubans).

      Anyway, I happened to ask him before finishing my post what he’d call his space if he had to choose a name. I don’t recall Mancave being one of the chosen names. I probably couldn’t repeat all of the terms in good company. HA!

  6. red says:

    See, now to me a den, a library, a study, and a mancave are each different things. But, like Maureen said earlier, if the man in question has chosen to call his study his “mancave” then that’s up to him.
    …as I wrote that, I realized that IF I were married to someone with a study, and IF that fictitious person started calling the study his “mancave”, I would be more prone to stay out at all times. It’s territorial.

    Also, just to bait the comment section – there are few negative nicknames in the male world. A woman who sleeps around is a “slut”, but a man who does the same is a “player”. Women are “cougars”, men are …what? Cradle-robbers? Okay, that’s not great, but it’s almost never said as an insult. A woman in a position of power is a “bitch” but a man is just “the boss”. And mancave isn’t calling the person in it a caveman…
    Anyone think I’m wrong? What male nicknames are more negative than the femail counterpart?

    Then again, I’m not a guy, so I’m not emotionally tied to the term mancave anyway.

    • dcoopsd says:

      Baitor! Is that even a word? I could think of a couple of words but then again I come from a different community. Bear, Daddy, Twink, Cub… It’s like a whole ‘nother urban dictionary out here. I will say this though, the continuation of nicknames, be they negative or otherwise, exist in part because there are those that allow them to exist. Fight back and squash the nickname. Personally I think we all have one or two that come off strong in the community but that we’re ok with. Who know’s why but cougar seems to be one of those. In the gay world we’d refer to him as someone’s daddy implying a large age difference between the two parties. To each is their own right?

  7. Brandon I wanna say that I think I had the exact same title jotted in my little black book of posting ideas. And . . . I am glad you beat me to it. Good points and well done. ~jb yay! for personal space!

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