Given that the percentage of women as head of household and/or primary breadwinner is increasing, will we start seeing a female version of (what is now) a traditionally male retreat?
The overwhelming majority of males I know have some managed some sort of retreat from their household. This can take a variety of forms such as a finished garage for tinkering, a workshop, a hunting cabin, a boat, or an actual “den” inside the house for sports etc. I’ve set about reconfiguring my current “caves” over the holidays as they have become too primitive or too distant (as I age). While going about this I was struck by the thought that, in the coming decades, it may well be the lady of the house setting aside space for rejuvenation rather than the man.
I realize this seems heavily one-sided, but I don’t know of any women who’ve constructed an external space for relaxation and getting away. In most cases I believe they are content to have the house to themselves while hubby’s away pretending to hunt/fish etc. I know mizPullin jokes she’ll somehow manage to survive with wine and the hottub while I’m away rejuvenatin’ (And yes, when younger I took the kids half the time so she could have the break)
So what do y’all think? Will we see an equivalent to the mancave in the future? Or is it already here in some other form that I haven’t recognized?
Female here. I’ve had a dedicated home office that is essentially my cave for the past 15 years or so. I don’t know how I’d live without it; I need one space in the house that I can have as messy/clean as I want, put all my stuff up, and generally have it ALL MINE.
Funny you should ask about “man cave”. Just the other night we had some friends over, and they wanted to see something on my computer. They’d never been out of the living room/kitchen area of the house before, and when we walked into my office one of them exclaimed “this is like the best man cave eva!”
Female here and not even remotely the breadwinner, but I too have my office haven. All my favorite things here, and if there’s clutter, it’s my own and not the stuff my husband drops randomly throughout the house.
I guess I just never thought that “man caves” had more to do with being the primary breadwinner than it is with how men and women spend their leisure time. I imagine a woman who is into crafting and art would need a separate space, while a woman who is into shopping necessarily wouldn’t (unless you count her walk-in closet as a cave)…even if both of the have professional occupations. A home office isn’t quite the same thing as a “cave” in my mind. I always picture the latter to be where a guy has his workshop, or where he retreats when he wants to flip through his baseball card collection.
To be blunt, things that normally get us scolded in the house. It’s a place where no one comments on what my boots track in, or what furniture my dog is on, or the placement of my beer (vis-a-vis coasters).
Maybe I’m confusing correlation with causation, but IME the “cave” owners are always the primary breadwinner. I’m familiar with only a few situations where it’s reversed (she’s main earner), and in all of those the male has no apparent retreat or even expensive toys. A lot of traditional roles are being reversed, and I’m curious if the concept of major family earners having a personal haven will undergo a switch as well.
That depends on your definition of “man cave.” If you mean somewhere a woman can run away and get away from her family and not be bothered, I can’t see that happening until women no longer feel they must take on the vast majority of the household work and childcare when they’re home regardless of whether they work or not.
Speaking from personal experience, even when I try to get a few minutes to myself, I’m inevitably followed either by my husband or my children or both. I could in theory have a cave to myself, but it would wind up being party central in about 5 minutes once the kids figured out where I was. That said, this might be a symptom of having two young children; when they’re older and more self-sufficient, I may be able to have my own cave.
If, however, you mean a room of my own I can keep as messy or clean as I want and store my stuff, I could see that happening.
One, I tend to reject your premise: I’ve known plenty of women with a sewing room or an office. As Monstro points out, a lot of it has to do with needing space for activities.
Two, I think that in general, the person who is home all the time tends to set the standards for what the norms are–they get to be the “scolder” as you describe it. It’s easy to decide it’s not that big of a deal to track mud into the house if you aren’t going to be the one cleaning it, or even be there to look at it.
But why would that have anything to do with who’s bringing home the bacon? I’m sure if my mother rode motorcycles and mowed the grass and had a toolbox and what not, she wouldn’t be bringing them into the house either. Because in most people’s minds, they don’t belong in the house. They belong in the garage, which is where my dad keeps his “man cave”.
My mother doesn’t need a cave because her hobbies don’t involve “mess”.
As for an external space—Overlyverbose has a great point. My friends and I have often daydreamed aloud about a little room at the back of the garden that nobody else would go into. It would always be clean! It would have bookshelves and snacks and a comfy chair. It will never, ever happen until the kids are moved out, and then I won’t need it.
Another vote for the Craftroom. Two out of three couples at our house for New Years had craft rooms for the wives to hole up in and make theirs. Neither of them are where to woman makes more money so I’m not sure the two are related since neither of the men have man caves beyond a room with a large TV that functions as the TV room for the family.
My husband has a workshop. I have a pottery studio. In our 31 years together, neither of us has ever had a room that was “mine”, cave or otherwise. He’s often had his tools and such in the garage or basement, depending on where we lived. I’ve often talked about having a sewing room, but I really don’t sew that much, so I’ll just set up on the dining room table if necessary. My computer is in the family room, which is right next to the living room. His laptop lives next to the end of the couch where he likes to sit. My knitting and crocheting stuff lives next to the loveseat where I prefer to sit.
At various times during our married life, one or the other has earned more, but it never changed how we lived. Maybe we’re an anomaly.
I’m the primary breadwinner in my marriage, but that hasn’t always been the case. Even when Mrs. Gap brought home more bacon, and even now she doesn’t, she has veto power over how the house is decorated. I, like most men, don’t have the need to have tons of pillows everywhere, baskets full of this and that and decorator tissue boxes. ALL of the artwork I had when I was single (not girlie posters, just art) is relegated to boxes and my “train room”. The train room (I’m a model railroader) is my area to do as I please. When I was single, I had motorcycles (4) in my living room. I had no garage, they were clean and didn’t leak oil at all and I loved looking at them. When Mrs. Gap and I began dating, one of the ways she impressed me was to not gripe about them being there.
I think the man cave idea is a boon to women in that it’s an area, out of the normal living space, they DON’T need to fuss over. If it’s not picked up, it’s not their problem.
Mrs. Gap, mind you, is always welcome there. It’s not a “no girls allowed” tree house. Just a “no doillies allowed” area.