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Nov 08, 2016

How "Man Caves" Took Over America's Basements

How do you feel about the term, "man cave?" I have mixed feelings on it myself. One the one hand - like "girlfriend" or "foodie" - it's easy to use it colloquially since everybody has a general sense of what you mean when you say it. On the other, I haven't really worked out for myself all the connotations that come with its use, since it sometimes seems to me like it implies that one can't be a man outside of his man cave (or at least that its a necessary domicile of rejuvenation), Or that the rest of the home is then outside of his purview. Or, all spaces for men must be themselves a cave, involving sports memorabilia and beer signs. In that way, I mostly see the term "man cave" as potentially condescending. Now obviously that's a drastic oversimplification, but I've been thinking about the word recently a fair amount.  

I then came across this article on the history of man caves and their terminology, and I'd love to hear what you guys think.

Atlas Obscura

How do you feel about the phrase, "man cave?" How do you feel about the idea of having a specific masculine space within your home? I'd also love to hear about your own man cave and what you like about it if so.

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Fred on Nov 14, 2016:

My Dad lived most his life in a partially completed basement he called "my cave". When he passed, I tore it all down and built a basement AND house in the same spot. The cave is now used for storage with a nice bedroom , bath and sitting area for guests in addition to a stable for my bicycles, my hang glider, photos of my adventures, a weight area and an art studio. Its decorated with things I've made or picked up and I've never been told it looks tacky. As I work from home, I also use the space to work since its quiet. It only has a bad connotation if you give it one.


Jack on Nov 11, 2016:

To me the man cave has a connotation of a guy who watches three consecutive football games on Sunday instead of engaging with his family or getting outdoors, etc. It furthers the sitcom caricature of men who are passive, lazy, and unengaged while their wives are stuck running the show without any help or support. It conveys the opposite of what I consider to be manly.


Jeremy on Nov 09, 2016:

I've come to consider "man cave" more than just potentially condescending, but that might just be b/c I heard it thrown around so much while we were house hunting I got sick of it. Was I looking forward to possibly figuring out a space to set up as a shop or bar? Yes. Did I have to hear it every 5 minutes while looking at houses? No. I'm over the whole thing, and the house we ended up with is better for it.