Sunday, July 29, 2012

Domestic spelunking.

Residential real estate lingo evolves with the changing of seasons and is no different from architecture, fashion, wellness, or anything else that owes much of its visibility to popular culture—and that “anything else” is just about everything, as boundaries between them all continue to fade.  I haven’t lived in the US for much of the last couple years, so maybe I’m behind the times, but this is the first time I’ve seen a homeowner this up-front about a feature of his house:
I’m usually not gender-specific, but I think it’s safer than ever to assume that some XY chromosomes can claim this home.  Seeing “man cave” promoted as such instead of what I’d expect (“home entertainment center”), gives the sign a sort wink-nudge character, from one guy to another.  The fact that the sign is printed and not homemade suggests that it comes from a stock supply, meaning “man cave” has officially crossed into mainstream territory.  As for the home itself?
A tidy little 1,000 square footer from probably around 1960, from the south side of Indianapolis.  My biggest question, of course, would be how much of the man cave can legitimately come “with the house” as the sign claims; after all, when stripped down to the cabinetry, carpets and wall outlets, how many can the place be?  To which Jason Segel (or the like) would probably retort, “Once a man cave, always a man cave.” 


Jeffrey Jakucyk said...

This video by Andres Duany perfectly illustrates the function of the man cave (or male space, as he puts it) with his usual witty insight.

AmericanDirt said...

Thanks Jeffrey. Good stuff, except that I'm bummed that he keeps calling it "male space", which sort of neuters it, IMO. Like he's afraid to tell it what it is--a cave! And why should it be well ventilated? Wouldn't it show tolerance for a little musk?

That said, he's right about New Urbanist communities lacking a certain something that I guess we could call "male space". The idea of a man cave in a Kentlands or River Ranch seems pretty ridiculous.

Jeffrey Jakucyk said...

It seems to me he refers to it as male space because it's more than just a man cave. A man cave is a type of male space, but it's not the only type. A man cave suggests the garage or the den or some special place in the basement, whereas male space can be outdoors or in the living room or anywhere else with the appropriate accoutrements.

AmericanDirt said...

Thanks again for writing Jeffrey. I was kind of being tongue-in-cheek when I said that stuff about Duany and the "man cave", because, to be honest, I don't really care. It just has more to do with Duany wearing his his academic hat (appropriate for that audience) as opposed to the more "common man" persona he used in his incredibly simplistic book "Suburban Nation". Male space is definitely more versatile--not only could it have ventilation, it could have good natural light.

But I think it's funny that it's a "cave" in more common parlance, suggesting that quite a few men believe their space needs to be heavily partitioned from the apparently feminizing influences of the surrounding world. Are men the underdogs of the two genders in terms of how their ideas are spacialized?