Stand by your man cave

The man cave. You've all heard of it, many of you will have one. Sometimes it's just a garage with a workbench, sometimes it's a lot more elaborate.

Mine is quite good, a lot of work went into it and I'm quite proud of it. I don't spend every night up there, I may use it properly, a couple of times a month. It's got things in it I don't use often and aren't practical to have in other rooms of the house, such as my drumkit and my old Spectrum and games. It also has all my action figures in it, much to Mrs Buckos pleasure. She was getting quite tired of a growing collection on the wall of the spare room

Mine is in the attic. We don't have any kids, but I couldn't put it in the spare room as that's been kitted out as a place for both of us, with bookshelves, a telly and a computer, along with some fitness equipment. I couldn't use the garage either, as Mrs Bucko uses it for quite an unusual purpose - keeping her car in

Most terraced houses like ours have an attic and most of them are small and covered in a hundred years of grime. Mine was no different. Some people put a few boards down for storage, but that's usually about it. A conversion is impractical as the roof is too low and there is no space for a staircase, so it couldn't be done within building regulations

A proper conversion would be impractical without extending out through the roof and building a full staircase; a project that would be beyond our financial means, even if we did want to pay for it

So for us it was dead space and I decided to start a man cave project. I properly reinforced the floor with flooring grade beams and I insulated the floor and eaves. The rest was boarding up the floor and roof, plastering the end walls and decorating with a lot of memorabilia and stuff




Anyhoo. Apparently my man cave is sexist

‘Man grenade’ alternatives to bath bombs, ‘brose’ wine, and 'man size' tissues. There are plenty of things that prove masculinity is oh so fragile. But teetering at the top of this pile of useless, gendered nonsense is the man cave.

To have a man cave is to truly live in the 1950s, when women ruled the roost, and men were Neanderthals who needed to hide their belongings away in a room where they can cast aside the burden of being civilised. They are painted as havens where men can fart, and drink beer really fast, and swear and do whatever else it is that men stereotypically do. Sure, men and women don’t have to, and almost certainly shouldn't, hang out all the time. But isn't an entire 'cave' in which to assert your masculinity a little much? Even men's magazines like GQ have rejected the archaic idea.

Well I've never read GQ and I doubt I ever will. Kashmira Gander says masculinity is fragile, yet it's these alt-feminist nutjobs who feel a need to keep picking away at masculinity and complaining about every facet of it. It isn't masculinity that is fragile. Masculinity is defined. An alpha male is comfortable with his masculinity in every way. He has a definition, a purpose, he knows who he is. Strong females are the same. It's the alt-feminist that is fragile. They are so out of touch with who they are, they need to attack everyone else who has a sense of identity

Besides, what exactly is a man cave anyway? “Man caves have no ‘real’ definition as they have sort of come to life in popular media and popular imagination,” says Tristan Bridges, assistant professor department of sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara, who has studied and visted numerous man caves.

“I think most people think of man caves as sports dens, rooms with leather sofas, billiard tables, and in-home bars. But, I've found the term is used much more widely to talk about home spaces that are culturally masculinised in one way or another.

Why does a man cave need a set of rules? I'm sure most people don't play billiards anymore, but if there is space in the cave for a table and you want one, fair dos. A man cave does not come with a contents list, it is a personal space, so you fill it with what ever personl things you want to. Maybe it's the lack of a rule book that annoys this nutter? It's something beyond her control, something she can't define, so she fears it and needs to attack it

Tristan agrees that man caves support gender inequality in the home. “These spaces often play on the cultural notion that men can't really be themselves when women are around.”

“The idea that men need their own space, separate and away from everyone else, is a privileged position. And, even when couples I've interviewed use the term tongue in cheek, I still think the spaces support inequitable relationships between women and men.”

Bollocks

I can be myself just fine, when women are around. A man cave acknowledges that men and women are different. A notion that these new wave feminists with their ideas of equality at all costs, will never admit to. We have different interests and different ways of passing idle time. When my wife sits on the couch and knits for hours, I get boared. I can go in the attic and do something up there that she would find very annoying and destracting if I did it with her in the living room. It gives us separate space which we need from time to time

That's not a bad thing and it is no bad reflection on a relationship. Men and women need different things and not just in the house. Mrs Bucko plays for a pool team and I go clay pigeon shooting. Both outdoor activities that we do with our friends, not together, because we don't both share those interests

Author of The Man Cave Book Mike Yost sees these hideaways as a force for good.
Asked whether they are sexist, he says he’s heard this accusation “a lot” but says it’s a “misconception”.
“Every spouse I've talked to is fully on board with the concept. As you know, if the spouse doesn't approve of a man cave it just doesn't happen.
“It allows a bit of privacy that you can't get when going to a public place. Depending on the theme, it provides a place for a guy to showcase items he has cherished over the years or his favourite sports teams. Like with everything, using the man cave sparingly can be healthy and beneficial. Nobody runs into the man cave to hide from the family. Just the opposite, the man cave brings families together. They are used by the whole family and is a great place to entertain. It's a healthy hobby that is never completed. The man cave is always going through some type of change which is what makes it fun.”

Quite.

That sounds great. But what Yost is describing sounds suspiciously like a living room.

To a batshit feminist maybe, but not to the rest of us. If I tried to put my drums, games consoles and action figures in the living room, that idea would die a quick death and so should it

It also stands in contrast with Bridge’s findings, in that most man caves are incomplete and go largely unused.

Mine is complete but it does largely go unused, as I've stated. That follows the idea that the man cave is not a place where you go to avoid the family. It's a hobby room; a place for the occasional getaway when you want to do things that are your own. It's not supposed to be used every night, just occasionally

But when the pressures of masculinity is literally killing men - suicide takes the lives of more men aged between 20 and 49 than road accidents or heart disease in the UK - perhaps it’s wrong to dismiss the idea that they need unique ways to express themselves and share their emotions. It seems that what men need is the opposite of a man cave.

But you see, men are not women and it's wrong to expect men to express their feelings and emotions in a way defined by the feminist. I'll say it again, men and women are different. The pressures of masculinity are not killing men because they spend some time away from women. If a man with a man cave is depressed, take away his man cave and I'm sure he might become suicidal. Men deal with emotional pressures in different ways to women, because, you know, men and women are different

Enter the Men’s Sheds movement. (Notice the removal of the degrading term ‘cave’). Started in Australia, these are spaces where men come together to take part in traditionally masculine activities, including woodwork, metalwork, repairing and restoring. Women who like these things can come along, too. They are growing at a rate of eight per month in the UK.

The term 'cave' is not degrading, just because you choose to use that term. Mans sheds, as described in this awful article, are a different thing to a man cave. They're a social phenomenon, not a solitary one. If that's your thing, fair enough, but just because an alt-feminist approves of them over the traditional man cave, doesn't mean we have to give up our man caves to go into a shed somewhere and express our feeling while singing Kum By Yah around a workbench

So, men, don't hide away in your man caves. Stop being afraid to express yourselves in plain view of everyone else - it might just do you some good

I have no problem expressing myself and my man cave is staying

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