(Last modified on April 2nd, 2020)
To go with my list of 5 Man Cave Clichés to avoid, I want to clear up some serious misunderstandings about man caves. Many people out there hate man caves for seemingly legitimate reasons. Nearly every point on this list argues against the necessity or presence of man caves in the home, and each one of them has merit. But are they true, and do they even apply? Let’s go through these 14 common misconceptions about man caves and identify the true pros and cons of man caves…and why one belongs in every household!
With this much stigma surrounding our mantuaries, it’s no wonder that only a few of us gain the privilege to build one of our own. Each numbered topic represents a common myth or misconception about man caves and explains the truth of the matter. I put them in no particular order—different people will stick to different misconceptions depending on their own priorities. If you need help convincing someone about the greatness of man caves, just refer to the misconception’s specific bullet point (or, of course, read the whole thing).
When people learn of man caves for the first time, they imagine a sanctuary for a man to spend all of their time in alone. While the man cave does create a sanctuary for men, that hardly relegates us to a life of solitude in our caves. Many man caves exist to accommodate guests along with its main focus. Man caves with bars, entertainment systems, and amazing designs work better with more people in them to enjoy everything. In other words, man caves represent a social hotspot for many of us, rather than a fortress of solitude.
Contrary to popular opinion, man cave themes expand far beyond the sports scene. While lots of men love to decorate their room with sports-related paraphernalia, video game fans also make up a huge chunk of cave men. Steampunk lovers, car fanatics, artists, wine aficionados, and even musicians benefit from their own mantuary. The rest of the house also benefits from containing these hobbies into one space, rather than accumulating different pieces in rooms that don’t match.
I write this one tentatively, as man caves represent the epitome of male freedom. When a man walks in his cave, he makes all of the rules in it. No exception. However, no one requires the ‘no women are not allowed’ rule. That’s all up to your own discretion! As long as drama stays at the door, ladies can usually chill in the cave and enjoy all the amenities you put in there. Just make sure everyone who walks through the threshold stays aware of all the other rules (no chick flicks, no chores, farting allowed, etc.) to keep the peace.
Similarly, a lot of people think that man caves represent manliness as a whole. These uninformed ladies gift men with deer antlers, workout equipment, and—worst of all—the infamous singing bass. Why do they even make those? While many men use them as a macho status symbol, that doesn’t mean they need to leak with masculine stereotypes. A man cave matches its man—and that is the only part of it that needs to be manly!
Plenty of craftsmen enjoy their trade in the man cave. In fact, many caves center around creative occupations! Whether you tinker with your car or blast your music, working in the comfort of your cave helps you relax and get in the zone. The difference between a craft-oriented cave and a study is that a cave provides other forms of entertainment (such as couches, television, books, etc.) without anything reminiscent of work. The cave is for doing what you love!
Some people think that man caves imply we can’t cope with family. By setting up a ‘safe space’ for ourselves in a hard-to-reach area of the house and forbidding other family members from entering, it gives off the impression that we want to leave our responsibilities at the door. In some ways, this rings true. We want a place to relax without worrying about all the stress life throws at us.
However, such a place is crucial to recuperate and tackle the sources of stress. Without a place to mull over things or take a step back, men make hasty and horrible decisions. The best remedy to a bad course of action is a good night’s rest and a relaxing gaming session—hardly what you could call an escape! Rather than think of it as an ‘escape’ from family, think of it as a ‘sanctuary,’ ‘recharge station,’ or ‘brainstorming room.’ Everyone deserves a place of their own to think of what they will, but that doesn’t mean such a room only exists as an escape.
While the man cave probably ranks at the top of the ‘most expensive’ room in the house, that does not make it the best room in the house. Like all other rooms, it serves a function. Bedrooms, studies, guest rooms, living rooms, kid rooms, entrance rooms, kitchens, and dining rooms all deserve just as much attention and care as the man cave. You’re entitled to your own opinion, of course, but I would personally pick a bathroom over a man cave if I needed to choose one.
To prevent your man cave from becoming the only maintained room in the house, never rank your rooms from best to worst. Instead, consider them on an individual basis—do they serve their function? How can they be improved? What sort of problems hinder the room? This keeps your man cave on par with the rest of the house and vice versa.
Once you give a man some place to stay, they will never leave, right? Wrong. This common myth about man caves posits that men have everything they need to live in their man cave and that they use it as their main living quarters. Certainly some men might do that, but it isn’t healthy and isn’t the norm!
Man caves work like entertainment rooms or living rooms—they offer a place of sanctuary and relaxation for a few hours of the day. They still eat at the dining room table, hang out in the living room, and use the same bathroom as everyone else. If you know a man who spends too much time in his cave, let him know. Just having a cave doesn’t excuse reclusive behavior.
If a man cave works just like any other room in the house, then men should be able to just use the living room for what they need, right? Nope. Wrong again, on two accounts. First, the man cave serves a unique function in the house (creating a sanctuary for a specific person). No other room performs the same function, so it works differently than every other room. Second, and similarly, no other room compares to what a man cave can offer us. There is no room for substitution.
In other words, men need a man cave. We need a place to hang out on our own, enjoy our hobbies without cluttering up the rest of the house, and fart wherever we want without judgment. It helps both us and the rest of the family when we have a place to call our own. I wrote a whole post on all the reasons you would want to own a man cave, so check that out if you’re not convinced.
Lots of people skip on man caves because they think it only provides a space for gamers or sports-lovers. Certainly, everyone with their own football cave used the hell out of it this Superbowl weekend. Since these two topics feature in almost every man cave, lots of people forget the other types of man cave themes. However, simple themes and functions work just as well. You can create man caves just for reading, writing, drawing, playing the guitar, drilling, tinkering, and every other hobby under the sun. The only limit on your man cave’s purpose is your own creativity.
To distinguish a regular room from a man cave, simply provide a few amenities unique to the man that will inhabit the room. Along with that, remove anything that reminds you of actual work or something stressful in life. This room is for men to relax in. A simple bar becomes a man cave the moment you purpose it as such, while an industrial workshop becomes a mantuary.
Many ladies draw the line at man caves because they seem like they invite filth and roaches. That all depends on individuals, of course, but you’d be surprised what a well-placed trash can prevents. After using your cave for a week, identify the main sources of trash and clutter and put measures in place to prevent them. After that, fifteen minutes once per week keeps the room in top condition.
Although it may not compare to the hyper-organized kitchen or pristine living room, as long as everything has a spot and looks nice, it’s clean. If your lady still dislikes the concept of a room you’re in charge of cleaning, talk with her about all the ways you maintain it. And yes, you need to maintain it, not her. That way, it’s fairer on her and you know where everything is when you need it. Unlike many rooms, you decide exactly what goes in the man cave, so it’s easy to throw out clutter before it creates a mess.
Why can’t men just use the rest of the house? Why do we need our own room, all to ourselves? Isn’t the living room enough? People who think men are selfish for wanting their own cave usually don’t understand the purpose of a cave. Refer them to my post that focuses on reasons to own a man cave. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll go over a little bit here.
Man caves serve as a sanctuary and split from the rest of a man’s life. It certainly benefits us more than anyone else, but wanting a place of our own is not selfish. It’s necessary for us to relax, and the living room doesn’t cut it when soap operas and Animal Planet blare out of the TV constantly. If anything, everyone deserves their own room in the house! If your lady gets jealous, simply offer her an equivalent ‘she-shed’ down the road. Then she’ll understand just how much you need your cave!
Just because men want a space to call their own, that doesn’t mean the rest of the house belongs to the woman of the house. A home is a shared space, and even the man cave is only permitted to exist because of a shared decision with their lady. Just as a lady gives input on whether or not to put in a man cave, men still take part in all the shared house decisions. If your lady wants to claim the rest of the house, then she should claim a proportionate amount of the mortgage and repair costs. Sound hellish? That’s because it is.
Of course, it’s unfair if only you get a space that only you own. If your lady expresses concern about that, offer her a space of her own. If there’s not enough room in the house, build her a she-shed. The bonus of putting her space outside is that she gets her own garden to accompany the shed. Ultimately, the house as a whole is shared, regardless of whether an individual room belongs to only one person.
Most men end up building their man caves in unused rooms like garages, sheds, basements, attics, and so on. It really sucks for men to navigate the problems associated with each room. Forcing men to only use these inferior rooms limits their ability to create the best room possible. If a better room is available to use, let men build their cave there!
Of course, many men consider building in these unwanted rooms a welcome challenge. If you’re one of those men, more power to you! Just understand that extra custom plumbing, electrical work, air ventilation, and safety considerations go with it. Lots of this specialty work should only be handled by professionals, so take that into account when you budget for the room.
If you believed in any of these common myths, don’t feel bad. We live and we learn. Now that you know about these 14 common misconceptions about man caves, you can go about educating others on the pros and cons of caves! The man cave provides a huge benefit not just to men, but to everyone else in the household! Keeping your clutter consigned into one space cleans up the rest of the house. Creating a mantuary allows you to return to the ‘real world’ rejuvenated and ready to tackle your problems. Honestly, the only downside to a man cave is the cost, and even that can be mitigated with a bit of DIY work!
Ultimately, a mancave represents just one highlight of the house, and creating one is almost as essential as creating a dining room or guest room. It’s a shared decision and an endeavor you should not take alone. I wish you all the best of luck in spreading the correct information about the necessity of man caves and their real pros and cons. Until next time!