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Man cave

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A motorcycle enthusiast's man cave
A man cave serving as a home office (5m x 5m size)

A man cave,[1] mancave, or manspace,[2] and less commonly a manland or mantuary is a male retreat[3] or sanctuary[4] in a home, such as a specially equipped garage,[5] spare bedroom,[4] media room,[6] den,[7] basement,[7][8] or tree house.[9] The term "man cave" describes an area in the home where a man can do as he pleases in a masculine space.[10]



The first known published use of the phrase is from March 21, 1992, in the Toronto Star by Joanne Lovering: "With his cave of solitude secured against wife intrusion by cold floors, musty smells and a few strategic cobwebs, he will stay down there for hours nestled in very manly magazines and open boxes of tools. Let's call the basement, man cave."[11] The phrase gained traction with the 1993 publication of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray.[12]



Man caves have multiple purposes: they are a place to be alone, to indulge in hobbies such as watching sports[13] or playing video games,[14] and to hang out with male friends.[15][16][2] According to psychiatrist and author Scott Haltzman, it is important for a man to have a place to call his own.

Writer and handyman Sam Martin explained:

Men have had an identity problem since the women's movement. They have tried to figure out who they're supposed to be. For a while women wanted them to be more sensitive, so they were more sensitive. Then women wanted them to be more manly. One of the things I discovered is when men have their own manspace, what they put inside of it is really an expression of who they are. Manspace is about establishing an identity for a man. Our premise is that women have control of the look and the feel of the house and that left guys wanting more. Anybody who has a specific interest or hobby or work or collection is going to want a space to indulge that.

— Sam Martin, in the Chicago Tribune, 2007[17]

Sociologist Tristan Bridges has interviewed American men and their partners about man caves, and found that many men rarely used their man caves. One interviewee said, "I feel like some day guys from my neighbourhood will congregate here after work and we'll share a beer and chat." When asked who these men from the neighborhood were, the interviewee replied "I don't know". Bridges stated that his research has turned partly into "a story about men's loneliness."[18]

In 2005, Paula Aymer of Tufts University suggested it was the "last bastion of masculinity".[10]


A man cave arranged as a pool room, with beer advertisements on the wall.

According to several sources, the general architectural and design trend of the early 2000s was for men to take traditionally male-only spaces, and equip them with masculine aesthetic choices. Man cave accessories include refrigerators,[5][19][20] vending machines,[6][19] putting greens, kegerators,[4] giant TVs,[4] musical instruments and gear,[8][10] pool tables, boxing rings,[17] entertainment centers, bars, and sports memorabilia such as trophies.[10][14][21] Upscale sports-themed furnishings are available to outfit a man cave.[6] The room may be large enough to accommodate a big screen television, often used for watching sports games with male friends.[10]

In the book Where Men Hide, which Publishers Weekly described as an affable but only "sometimes thought provoking" guide, author James Twitchell and photographer Ken Ross explored areas where men like to be alone.[22] According to Twitchell, some public male-only spaces, such as the barbershop, are declining and being replaced by spaces such as the "grimy garage."[22] The book suggests that "men make their own spaces for good or ill."[22]

Twitchell focused on communal man cave spaces such as male-only groups in megachurches, possibly a modern-day replacement for declining attendance at male-only clubs such as Masonic lodges.[23] Twitchell noted that some anthropologists have speculated that these spots are a place for men to bond before hunting or war, and where they can "smoke or fart" and tell the "same jokes over and over again."[23]

One man redecorated his space to look like a replica model of the bridge of the Starship Enterprise from the TV show Star Trek,[17] while another man spent over two years and $120,000 to make his man cave into a Batcave.[24]

Garages have typically been a male space since they "present a guy with an opportunity to disappear for hours while never leaving the premises."[2] In 2007, it was common for men to "lavish time, money and attention on fixing this spot up",[2] with the intention of making it more welcoming.[17]



Women have created similar spaces in which they can relax and pursue hobbies. These have been referred to as "she-sheds" and "girl-caves".[25] Some analysts have described the manosphere as an online counterpart to the man-cave.[26]


There have been several examples of man caves in pop culture, including:

  • Al Bundy's garage from the TV sitcom Married... with Children: Al Bundy's garage was his only sanctuary. It was also used to hold the recurring "No Ma'am" meetings.
  • Tim Taylor's garage in the TV sitcom Home Improvement: Tim Taylor used to "bring to life all manner of high-powered monster machines."[2]
  • Bada Bing room in the TV show The Sopranos: Tony Soprano's gang would meet in a windowless "dingy office" at the Bada Bing strip club.[2] It was a "guys-only place within a guys-only place."[2]
  • Doug's garage in the TV show The King of Queens, Doug Heffernan's garage is equipped with a big screen TV, beer fridge, and a couch where Doug and his friends watch football, baseball, and boxing and drink beer in peace away from Doug's wife, Carrie, and Doug's father-in-law, Arthur Spooner.
  • Charles Deetz's den in the 1988 movie Beetlejuice. It is the only room that survives an extensive home renovation initiated by his wife and her decorator.

See also



  1. ^ Goodman, Michelle (May 2, 2008). "Why he needs a room of his own". Cable News Network (CNN). Retrieved 2009-02-09.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Marco R. della Cava (2007-01-04). "Manspace: The final frontier of guydom". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-02-02.
  3. ^ Davidson, Max (11 June 2013). "Father's Day: treat your Dad to a man cave". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d Howard, Theresa (2007-08-16). "Alltel website takes interactive campaign into man cave". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  5. ^ a b Palmeri, Chris (2006-12-06). "Where's Your Man Cave?". BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on December 15, 2006. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  6. ^ a b c Hales, Linda (2006-01-07). "Sporting Up the 'Man Cave'". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  7. ^ a b Jones, Scott (2008-12-09). "Gifts Guaranteed To Keep Your Gamer's Thumbs Warm". Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on 2008-12-24. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  8. ^ a b "Divine Design redesigns a basement". Star Tribune. 2008-12-16. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  9. ^ Anabela Rea (2017-08-29). "An Auckland man cave-meets-tree house with all the trimmings". Stuff. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  10. ^ a b c d e Leigh Belanger (February 3, 2005). "Man land: More homes have a room just for him, and you'll know it when you see it". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 2011-04-16. Retrieved 2011-02-02.
  11. ^ Friend, David (2017). The Naughty Nineties: The Triumph of the American Libido. Twelve Books. p. 407. ISBN 9780446556293.
  12. ^ Wilks, Jon (28 October 2015). "The history of the man cave". The Box Room. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  13. ^ Infographics Academy (2020-11-04). "How to Build an Ultimate Man Cave".
  14. ^ a b Breckenridge, Mary Beth (2007-12-15). "Quick, to the man cave". Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio.com). Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  15. ^ Collier, Joe Guy (2005-10-08). "Man Cave: A place to call his own". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  16. ^ Budgen, Greg (2019-05-27). "8 Reasons Why Guys Need a Man Cave". Man Cave Advisor. Retrieved 2019-05-29.
  17. ^ a b c d Elana Ashanti Jefferson of the New York Times News Services (June 3, 2007). "Men are staking out personal space at home". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2011-02-02.
  18. ^ Hoyle, Ben (2019). "What man caves can tell you about humans". The Times.
  19. ^ a b Hiestand, Michael (2004-01-29). "Want a Super ticket? Invest in sports futures". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  20. ^ "5 Essential things every Man Cave should have". The Men's Cave. 2016-10-24. Retrieved 2016-11-14.
  21. ^ Streiff, Madeline; Dundes, Lauren (September 2017). "From Shapeshifter to Lava Monster: Gender Stereotypes in Disney's Moana". Social Sciences. 6 (3): 91. doi:10.3390/socsci6030091.
  22. ^ a b c Publishers Weekly, 2006, James B. Twitchell, Author, Ken Ross, Photographer, Where Men Hide, Accessed July 10, 2013
  23. ^ a b The Calgary Herald, May 19, 2006, Where men hide: Be it a man cave, a hidey-hole or a recliner, guys crave a place to be alone: Whether it is in the garage, the study or even just sitting in a La-Z-Boy recliner playing video games, men feel the need to get away from women occasionally, according to a new book chronicling the gender's favorite hiding spots, Accessed July 10, 2013 Archived July 26, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "Batman Fan Builds an Incredible Real-Life Batcave in His Basement". April 25, 2013.
  25. ^ Soto 2015, p. 157.
  26. ^ DeKeseredy, Walter S., Alexis Fabricius, and Amanda Hall-Sanchez. "Fueling aggrieved entitlement: The contribution of women against feminism postings." Crimsoc report 4 (2015): 1-34.