Man Caves: An Introduction
Man caves are not to be sniffed at. They’re the latest turn of an evolutionary mill which got rolling during the Industrial Revolution. As the world started changing, male domination of the domestic realm started slipping. In response, men began seeking other places to find a little space for themselves.
The process has taken us through men-only clubs, strange brotherhoods, secret societies, barbour shops and sweaty, dank gymnasiums. In the last ten to fifteen years we’ve seen the mill grind sports bars to dust, do away with exclusive mens’clubs and open gyms to both sexes, to say nothing of light and fresh air. The public iteration of men’s retreats, where they could relax with their buddies and behave badly, or not, have been hunted out of existence by anti-discrimination laws and regulations.
So, as if completing the circle, men have returned to where it all began in the late 1790s - home.
What’s in a Man Cave?
It would seem men need a man cave of some description; a place uniquely theirs, beyond the expectations of domesticity, work and society in general. A place where they can unwind and slip into a private place
All Great Men have Man Caves
Hemmingway, Sir Winston Churchill, Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau, Charles Darwin and virtually every other great man in history had a “Man Cave”.
The Interior of Thoreau’s cabin - a place for contemplation.
From Thoreau’s rustic forest hide away, built with his own hands, to the elaborate libraries and studies of Darwin, Edison and Thomas Jefferson, they all served as places of retreat. Places to read, think, muse and otherwise find the space they needed to escape, momentarily, the pressure of their lives.
Your Average Suburban Man Cave
As with the man caves of the great and the good, there are no standards. A man cave has only to accommodate its man in the way he wants to be accommodated.
A quick internet search will unearth all types of “Caves”. Some resemble sports bars, others seem more like houses of ill repute, still others are no more than space poached from the boiler in the basement.
Budgets also vary wildly; from many millions spent on bespoke designer caves to zero spent on moving discarded furniture around in the attic.
What about the Décor?
Normally a question to spark a healthy debate, but here the answer is: “It’s entirely up to the occupant”.
Some man caves are tastefully appointed; others seem to be celebrations of really, really bad décor decisions. Where else could a cowhide masquerade as a carpet and make any sense at all?
For sports fans it’s pennants, helmets, signed memorabilia, insignia and anything representing the favourite sport and team… oh, and don’t forget the beer fridge.
For the non-sporting caver, maybe it’s scale models of heart-throb vehicles from Aston Martins to Ford Mustang Shelby GT500s to Harley Fatboys or even a vintage taxi.
There’s no telling what might trigger Man Cave nostalgia
Derelict but poignant.
Man Cave wall art is a wide open field
No matter what the décor, Wall Art will feature strongly, but there’s no telling what it might be; an iconic sport venue, photographs of far-off places, derelict vehicles, buildings and other relics recalling simpler times or childhood holiday locations.
Images of solitude help restore the soul
Go With the Man Cave
A comfortable man cave in the basement or attic can be a heavily disguised blessing:
- When life is getting him down, the caver has a place to retreat to and a place to emerge from when he’s in a more expansive frame of mind;
- The family will always know where their caver is and be glad when he reappears in good humour;
- When a games weekend is on, the caver has somewhere to entertain his buddies without getting under everyone’s feet;
- The family will be glad the caver and buddies are out of the way and not coming to any harm;
- Old furniture will finally have a place to be;
- When gifting times roll round, Wall Art is a real possibility. Family and friends can present Wall Art the caver will love, but could never be allowed into the house with.
We all need a little space to recharge our souls and contemplate life.
Man caves give the males in our lives that space to meditate, act out with his buddies, teach himself the harmonica, or write a blockbuster novel.
Maybe your man caver is a frustrated blues man
Some well-chosen Wall Art will do what all good Wall Art does: Help the caver put his stamp on his unique space and restore his sanity, with the blessing of his family.