Are man caves simply an excuse for booze and bad language? Or is a room to call his own actually a therapeutic, calming and beneficial space? Recent studies would suggest the latter is the case and we choose to agree.
“Space is very important for regulating emotions,” says Sam Gosling, a University of Texas psychology professor and author of Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You.
Gosling studies spaces and how they can be a powerful mechanism for evoking our emotions. He believes that having and decorating your own space, can positively affect emotional well-being. “It’s incredibly important to be in one’s own space and resonate with who one is,” he says. “Man caves are the architectural equivalent to hanging out with your mates."
Having his own space is especially vital if the guy's emotional needs aren’t being met in other spaces. Scandi style or Boho-chic might work perfectly with the rest of the house but may not give a guy quite the same sense of belonging as it does for other family members.
“Many people are not sensitive to that,” Gosling says. “I don’t think people are thinking, ‘I need to regulate my emotions.’ They’re thinking, ‘I need somewhere to build my boat. While I’m there, I’m going to read the magazines I like. Listen to the music I like.’ So it organically evolves.”
Yep, we are pretty sure that most men don’t have ‘to regulate emotions’ on their bucket list, but they might have ‘build a Man Cave’. They might also be aware that they do need to wind down and generally, just ‘be’.
Having a Man Cave can be therapeutic, suggests research reported in the Journal of Consumer Culture. “In the study, men reported that their personal hang-out spots allowed them to display their unique identities, relax, and even reflect on their life goals,” says study co-author Mariam Beruchashvili, Ph.D.
The theory is that in areas of the home not dedicated to relaxation or self-expression, people can feel as if they are always ‘on’, as they try to do everything expected of them as a spouse or parent. By retreating to a Man Cave, a man can chill out and take some time for himself. “The guys in the study said the recharge even made them better dads and spouses,” says Beruchashvili.
Ok, so you might not necessarily be thinking that you need a space to resonate with yourself or reflect on your life goals but, at the end of the day, it’s nice to have a sanctuary within the sanctuary of your own home. Or just somewhere to watch an entire season of Game of Thrones in a recliner held together by duct tape.
So, it’s three cheers for the Man Cave! Whether it’s for playing computer games, reading car magazines, listening to loud music, rebuilding a motorbike or watching an action movie and two sport matches simultaneously, Man Caves serve a basic psychological function, even if the guy is aware of it or not.
P.S. We also think that women deserve their own space, so in coming articles we will be looking at the ‘Woman Cave’ (She Shed? Femme Den? Ma'am Cave?) and giving some inspiration to create yours, should you covet one.