June 8, 2015

"When I was young and first read the book I was immersed in the Boulder counterculture where madness was regarded as a liberating experience and being clinically insane was thought to be kind of cool."

"Of course those who believed this nonsense had never experienced real insanity first-hand. They only knew about it from reading bullshit authors like Ken Kesey, R.D. Laing, Charles Reich, and Theodore Roszak, among others. Pirsig was not a bullshit author but it seems that most of his readers (myself included) misinterpreted his writing and placed him in the 'madness-is-subversive-and-liberating' crowd. The fact that his descent into madness was a function of his study of the Tao greatly enhanced his appeal, since Eastern religions and philosophies enjoyed great cachet at the time. Which is to say, it was very hip of Pirsig to be driven crazy by the intensity of a mystical experience induced by his Taoist studies. Most people had to swallow heavy doses of LSD to have that experience, and he did it 'naturally'! What a lucky guy! What silly, frivolous, dangerous times those were. What a stupid time."

Writes Roughcoat in the comments to "Mr. Huntington built the treehouses over several months last year with the help of what he called a 'bronado' of friends," where the topic turned to "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."

There's also discussion of "man caves" that begins with "Guys are so desperate to find a place to get away from women that it has come to this. How come we never hear about 'woman caves'?" and moves on to "There are no 'women caves' because women dominate every other space in the universe." Which incites Freeman Hunt to say: "I thought it was because women aren't so gauche as to demand a room in the limited space of the house that is only for themselves."

74 comments:

tim maguire said...

Yeah! What kind of woman would want a room of one's own?

Michael K said...

"women aren't so gauche as to demand a room in the limited space of the house that is only for themselves."

The kitchen ?

Nah.

The Sewing room ?

Nah.

LCB said...

As a man (last time I checked anyway) I let my wife decorate the whole house minus my "office" anyway she wants. It just doesn't matter that much to me.

But my office is mine for 4 reasons. I can hang on the walls whatever I want to without figuring out whether or not it goes with the "decor". I can have my aquariums there, which is a hobby that helped pull me out of depression. And...yes, if I need some time by myself I can go there to read, work on my tanks or just surf the web.

But the best reason: if I don't feel like straightening up all of the junk my wife dumps in to my office because she says it's "your junk"...I just don't clean it up. Drives her crazy. :-D

Bob R said...

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. Just Google quilt bloggers.

traditionalguy said...

Women don't call dibs on one room because the entire house is in a housewife's domain. They just pretend one room with over sized TV screen in front of leather furniture big enough for both large dogs and the grown boy of the house to sit together on a sofa is his rec area. He does allow the smaller children access too.

Ann Althouse said...

Note that before writing this post, I had put up 2 responses to Freeman:

1. Ann Althouse said...
I thought it was because the woman has the higher standards of cleanliness and interior decoration or because the man wanted to be able to watch porn or other TV that wasn't acceptable in the rest of the house.

6/8/15, 6:52 AM

2. Ann Althouse said...
"I thought it was because women aren't so gauche..."

My grandmother had a sewing room.

rhhardin said...

Tom Cuthbertson's Anybody's Bike Book was good in the 70s, but modern versions are useless, with every repair suggesting taking it to a bike shop owing to specialized tools required.

The correct answer is buy the tools and proceed as follows.

rhhardin said...

A dog likes a dog cave. Cave canem, you could call it.

Ann Althouse said...

One thing about "man cave"... if the man actually uses that term... is the flaunting of the sex of the room. To say "sewing room" is not to say "women only." Men can sew! The sewing room response is thus no more apt then saying: The house has a kitchen.

Ann Althouse said...

"Women don't call dibs on one room because the entire house is in a housewife's domain."

Why? Because the man isn't contributing to the cooking, cleaning, bathing of children, putting children to bed, etc.?

Ann Althouse said...

Why is the "man cave" topic more popular than the we-used-to-romanticize-insanity topic?

rhhardin said...

I've been meaning to replace the third-time broken rear axle on my main bike for a few months now; but the alternate bike is working fine and what with this and that, who wants to dive in to dirty grease and loose bearings, not to mention a stubborn freewheel that's never un.

rhhardin said...

We didn't use to romanticize insanity.

Say you spent the 70s doing mathmatical physics.

Kelly said...

My husband has a man cave in the basement. It's where the pool table is along with all his army awards, certificates, plaques, beer steins, Calvary hat, Spurs, flags and on and on. I can't think of the last time he was down there. Probably when the water softener needed more salt.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

(1) It used to be that men tend to murder women in the bedroom and women tend to murder men in the kitchen. Perhaps it still is . . or maybe never was. Who knows?

(2) I don't have a den. To me it's a place where a frustrated old man goes to be alone, watch TV, smoke, and fall asleep in his chair with the newspaper on his lap.

I made myself a promise many years ago: If I ever have a den, it'll have to function pretty much the same as a place of seriousness, as in The Godfather.

Hasn't happened.

(3) Calling a den a man cave always struck me as stupid but it's not lost on me that den is like a lion's den or a wolf's den or whatever. I heard the term in use back when I was a little kid, before I'd developed the tendency to think about those sorts of things. Inertia. Force of habit. Conformity. Whatever.

(4) Some years ago I met a neighbor, a man some years older than me who made reference to having a study. Okay, I thought, that's another word for den. What are you? Some kind of a religious scholar or something?

Turned out he was a retired Lutheran minister. Ha!

rhhardin said...

Women have a much higher standard for what counts as clean, so the woman winds up doing the cleaning, usually.

A guy will be undisturbed by large amounts of disorder.

rhhardin said...

Probably women always have in mind inviting her friends over to show off what a good deal she's made for herself.

This is related to the "You're not going out like that, are you?" moment.

traditionalguy said...

At least the entire yard is the manscape. Women don't do lawnmowers except for pink riding ones when no man is available. The women will hire a man or men to do serious landscape and yard maintenance.

But growing a vegetable garden needs a man and a woman working together.

rhhardin said...

Most recent picture of my family room, showing natural clutter.

The clear area is clear owing to dog activity. Toys go to the edges the same way that gravel goes to the shoulders of roads -- tire keep moving gravel around until the gravel lands somewhere what tires don't go much.

Guys, in the majority, find this amount of disorder undisturbing. Women, in the majority, do not.

H said...

Tim McGuire comment 1: Ha. Best comment.

rhhardin said...

I've noticed that a romantic comedy cliche for bad husband involves video games.

It's best to take this as a generic dramatic bad character thing and get on with the rest of the movie.

Often the movie will pile on more cliches though, in which case it goes back on the shelf unfinished.

Hagar said...

A husband gets the garage and the roof.

Henry said...

My son has been demanding his own son-cave ever since his little brother was born. We live in an open-floorplan modern. There is no cave-making going on in this house.

We do have a decrepit old barn on the property that I've been rescuing from utter collapse. When it is done it will be my wife's studio-cave. In the meantime, it is my rebuilding-cave, I suppose. It is the rebuilding that is rewarding, not the cave.

Bob R said...

Did your grandmother refer to it as "the" sewing room or "my" sewing room. My wife frequently uses the term "my" sewing room.

When/where did the term "man cave" start anyway? Rooms that were inherently masculine in their decor have been around for a long time: dens, rec rooms, billiard rooms. I have a vague feeling this is a marketing term that's a function of bigger houses being available to more and more people - a way to convince working-class families with two kids that they need a 3,000 square foot house.

traditionalguy said...

Insanity is a dull subject because the insane you always have with you and you can comment on them anytime.

The Taoism fad lead many a traditionally raised college student away into seeking an Eastern spiritual force that was more than ready to join them up. LSD was also an easy way to seeking mental openness. But opening up your mind would also let outside influences come in.

Kelly said...

Traditional guy, you're wrong. I mow the lawn more than my husband, as does the lady across the street who does all the mowing. I also do the weeding, lay the mulch and the planting. I grow the tomatoes, fill the pots, fertilize the lawn, sometimes with a homemade mixture I found on line. I water and argue with my husband over the proper height setting for the mower. Oh, and my mower isn't pink.

traditionalguy said...

Kelly is a very valuable woman.

Babaluigi said...

Now that the people we made are out of here, my husband and I both have our "own room" for our interests- mine for art and sewing and his for music, although we both have such projects that spill into other parts of the house.

Driving through the neighborhood, though, I have seen more than a few garages with TV and chair set-ups. One white-haired gentleman also had a desk and a sofa, in addition to the TV and 2 wing chairs. It was not a particularly small house, and although I did not know the couple, I know they were alone in there...So while it was none of my business, I always wondered if it was just getting a little "alone time", or true exile.

rhhardin said...

You hardly find any women scything the lawn.

Bob Ellison said...

Kelly, do you contract out? We could use you around here.

Fernandinande said...

rhhardin said...
Most recent picture of my family room, showing natural clutter.


Our back yard looks like a slum playground, littered with wet stuffed animals with missing limbs and eyes ripped out.

Laura said...

Man "cave." A "room" of her own. Nope, no sexism there.

JCPenney has a video going viral that shows men sent to the doghouse for buying thoughtless gifts. Funny thing is that if she finds out where the "appropriate" gift comes from he'll probably get sent there anyway. Top-of-the-line vacuum cleaners can be expensive and choosing the best features . . .

Diamonds have crappy resale value, guys. Good to know if you get the ring back.

Unknown said...

my wife has demanded her own bedroom since day one. I could sleep in the hallway for all I care. just as long as I have a quiet place to relax for a couple hours.

chickelit said...

The first comment wins and yet goes unanswered by Althouse. I suppose because metaphor is loftier than reality.

Laslo Spatula said...

The World is My Man Cave.

I am Laslo.

Todd said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Women don't call dibs on one room because the entire house is in a housewife's domain."

Why? Because the man isn't contributing to the cooking, cleaning, bathing of children, putting children to bed, etc.?

6/8/15, 7:24 AM


No, because more women still spend more time in the home than men do, on average and remember the phrase "happy wife, happy live"? Generally speaking, women care more about decor and placement of furnishings than men. Women want the curtains to match the upholstery to match the area rug as well as compliment the wall hangings. These also typically involve designs and patterns that would not generally be picked out by a man. Women care more about that kind of stuff then men. These generally are not overly masculine when complete. The MANCAVE gives the husband a space of his own that can have his (does not match the decor) stuff in it as he sees fit. Sometimes it is the basement, sometimes the garage, and sometimes the den/study/office. It has little to do with who does what percentage of cleaning / up keep and more to do with layout / decorating.

Mead has no "space" of his own? When you two got together, you merged your furnishings and decor into a new cohesive whole that blended an equal amount of your items and his or did you wind up keeping most of your things and storing / eliminating most of his?

Sebastian said...

"What silly, frivolous, dangerous times those were. What a stupid time"

Glad we got over that and now collectively recognize insanity for what it is.

"I thought it was because women aren't so gauche as to demand a room in the limited space of the house that is only for themselves."

As we all know, women are more clever. Watch HGTV.

MayBee said...

Freeman brought up the current romanticizing of insanity in the Emma Sulkowicz thread. People love the beautiful crazy girl.

MayBee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MayBee said...

I always thought the man cave was created so the husband can be sent somewhere when the wife has book group or bunco friends over to the house.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Traditional Guy
Women don't do lawnmowers except for pink riding ones when no man is available.

I use a John Deere 18 hp 48" deck riding mower with a dump bed lawn cart for larger debris around the property. It isn't pink. Its green. I also prune the fruit trees, spray them with dormant oil, treat with insecticide. Sometimes use the JD tractor and backhoe to move really big things or shove dirt/compost piles. I'm also in charge of weed control and round-up spraying.

I don't use the string trimmer. It hurts my back :-D

My husband has a "man cave" but it is on another piece of property and it is where he and his buddies restore old cars. It is pretty cool with lots of car posters, metal signs, and a table with chairs under a shady tree where the wives can come occasionally to drink a beer and watch the magic.

Scott said...

"No, because more women still spend more time in the home than men do, on average and remember the phrase 'happy wife, happy live'?"

The maxim "Happy Wife, Happy Life" was devised by a man who was trying to console himself after realizing he was thorougly kittywhipped.

You know, you can plug other words into the first and third position.

Codependent wife, codependent wife.
Psychotic wife, psychotic life.
Nasty wife, nasty life.
Flatulent wife, flatulent life.
And so on.

Laslo Spatula said...

The definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over but only stopping on an even number.

If you happen to stop on an odd number you must turn twice in a counter-clockwise circle, then repeat the process to the exact same odd number so that the two series add up to an even number. It must be the same number so that the odd numbers also become a pair. Pairs are good.

Then you wash your hands.

I am Laslo.

Gahrie said...

"Women don't call dibs on one room because the entire house is in a housewife's domain."

In my experience women control the entire house, how it is used, decoration etc except the man cave, which by the way, is usually the garage.

Women have destroyed men's space everywhere they can. No men's clubs, no men's gyms, etc.

There are plenty of places where women can go and be away from men, including women only gyms etc.

Man caves are a last attempt by men to carve out a place for men to be men, among men.

jr565 said...

The woman cave is the rest of the house.

jr565 said...

"Yeah! What kind of woman would want a room of one's own?"
Thread winner.

jr565 said...

The reason guys want a man cave is because they don't want to be around women 24 hours a day. Because you ladies are exhausting.

Freeman Hunt said...

You all seem to live in another world that bears no resemblance to the one I inhabit.

Freeman Hunt said...

A Room of One's Own was written in 1929 when women's lives and options were quite different.

Freeman Hunt said...

I don't think I'm different. I think reality is different than it has been described in this thread.

Freeman Hunt said...

In nearly every family I know, families of all income and education levels, it is the man who desires a higher level of neatness. Yard work is often predominantly done by women, and the men generally prefer that the women spend maximal time with them. (These are people who liked each other well enough to get married.) Often the men work from home; that's extremely common in this area.

Maybe I live in Oz, but I don't think so. Most of the descriptions in this thread seem gleaned from situational comedies.

retired said...

Blogger Freeman Hunt said...
I don't think I'm different. I think reality is different than it has been described in this thread.

Where does your husband hang out?

I have my man cave and my wife has her sewing room.

tim maguire said...

Freeman Hunt said...A Room of One's Own was written in 1929 when women's lives and options were quite different.

So you can google Virginia Woolf. Can you read Virginia Wolf?

If you're going to say her logic no longer applies because the circumstances that led to women needing a room of their own have changed to the point that women no longer need their own room, you have to do better than that. Much better.

Freeman Hunt said...

Perhaps part of the difference is having kids in the house versus not having kids in the house. I could see spouses having hobby rooms with extra empty rooms in the house.

Henry said...

As I suggested above, the only person in my house demanding his or her own cave is my 13-year-old son. His siblings would be happy for him to have his own cave as well.

Ann Althouse said...

"Mead has no "space" of his own? When you two got together, you merged your furnishings and decor into a new cohesive whole that blended an equal amount of your items and his or did you wind up keeping most of your things and storing / eliminating most of his?"

I think Meade has 5 rooms of his own!

William said...

I live in NYC. Only extraordinarily wealthy Democratic donors can afford to have a man cave or a sewing room. If you lve in NYC, you're lucky to have enough room for a full sized refrigerator......With all due respect to rhhardin's intelligence and insights, his family room does not look very inviting or hospitable. Doberman's are unreliable guides to domestic comforts. The room needs a Labrador's touch.

Todd said...

Ann Althouse said... [hush]​[hide comment]
"Mead has no "space" of his own? When you two got together, you merged your furnishings and decor into a new cohesive whole that blended an equal amount of your items and his or did you wind up keeping most of your things and storing / eliminating most of his?"

I think Meade has 5 rooms of his own!


Interesting!?!

But, for the main residential furnishings, are they yours, his, or "ours"?

When my wife and I first got together, she had a furnished residence and I (being recently on my own - out of the military) did not have much furniture. There was not much to "merge". Over time we replaced her things with "our" things though we still have her bedroom set (in the spare bedroom). She did most of the decorating with my "support".

I believe in your case you and Mead were both more well established (could be wrong). Did you merge furnishings or keep yours with a sprinkle of his?

Again, my opinion is that though men may care about furnishing, women are more invested in the style or overall look of the home and care more deeply that things be "just so". As a result, men don't typically have a "man space" in the home other than the garage or basement or man-cave.

Yes?

Freeman Hunt said...

It is the genderfied term that I find offensive. If I took a room amd put all my hobby things in it (math, education policy, and economics books, parts for electronics, my tools, my rock collection, my telescope, my photography stuff, my computers, etc.) would someone call that a woman cave? No. Is our home gym a man cave because my husband uses it more since I prefer to go outside? Is the theater/office room a man cave? If so, why? Only because a man happens to work in it? Why wouldn't it be the theater and office? Or even his theater/office? Why "man something or other?" Why wouldn't he get a say in the rest of the house? He lives here too.

It's the idea that there's a room with a primary function of being not female, whatever that's supposed to mean.

Freeman Hunt said...

I wonder if the transgender issue is making people less accepting of individual difference.

Freeman Hunt said...

Sewing room says this room is for sewing. Office says this room is for paperwork or reading. Theater says this room is for watching things. Den says this is a casual living room. Shop says this room is for making things.

Man cave says this room is for the man and nobody else.

Freeman Hunt said...

Any man. Use requirement is simply being male. The things in here are male things for males. No girls allowed!

Todd said...

Freeman Hunt said...
Any man. Use requirement is simply being male. The things in here are male things for males. No girls allowed!

6/8/15, 1:28 PM


I think you are "over thinking it". Some may see it that way but speaking for myself and quite a few of my male friends (yes, I have male friends Laslo) it is viewed as the "more manly space". Where one does not have to be concerned if the pillows match the couch or of you forget to put away the video controllers or the soldering iron. Where all my hobby stuff can be without "getting in the way" of the rest of the house. Women are more than welcome but just don't straighten anything cause I know where everything is, right where it is!

William Chadwick said...

This reminds me of a discussion I had with a woman friend of mine regarding a newly-married male friend of mine--and this in turn reminds me of the recent discussion here about why libertarianism is largely a male domain. This male friend of mine got his fiancée to agree, just before the wedding ceremony, to grant him one day a week in which he could be completely alone, to do what he wanted to do (which was pretty much reading and writing) in peace and quiet. I told my woman friend about this, thinking it a great idea. She said scarcastically, "Well, isn't that wonderful! I hope he gave his wife a day off, too!" I asked him about this, and he said, "She didn't want one." As usual (in my experience) the male of the species is more individualistic than the female.

Laura said...

Good points Freeman. Time to molest my husband in his man cave/drum room. Must not forget rhythm method.

Freeman Hunt said...

I do something with friends one night or so a week. My husband has his friends over one night a week. In my experience, women who are newly married or recently had babies will often call or text their husbands while the husbands are at our house. About half of husbands, however will call or text their wives habitually while the wives are out regardless of life stage.

Laura said...

"A Room of One's Own was written in 1929 when women's lives and options were quite different."

Especially with regards to technology and time- and labor-saving devices, which is something left out of the man vs. woman dichotomy.

ken in tx said...

In Korea, a traditional home is divided into male and female areas. The father has a room in which women and children do not enter. His wife will bring him tea and food on a tray and slide it on the floor through the doorway from time to time. After a certain age boys are not allowed in the kitchen. They are threatened with emasculation by knife, very graphically. I have visited and observed this type of arrangement personally.

BTW, in the South, the drawing room was where the ladies withdrew from the men to get away from the smell of cigars and liquor being consumed by the men in the parlor.

There have always been men's and women's areas in homes. As There should be.

Laura said...

"She said scarcastically, 'Well, isn't that wonderful! I hope he gave his wife a day off, too!' I asked him about this, and he said, 'She [wouldn't take] one.'"

Just did that for fun remembering the day I had to aggressively manipulate my sister into using the gift certificate she was "too busy with the kids" to find time for.

tim in vermont said...

I don't actually have a "man cave." I do have a workshop, and sometimes my daughter likes to make things and I help her, because girls don't take wood shop, and she needs a little supervision. My wife never goes in there. Most of the time it is my place and and I don't care if it smells of gasoline, diesel fuel or WD-40, or if there is sawdust on the floor and I enjoy listening to baseball while fixing small engines or making a fence for the garden or whatever.

Girls are not banned from my man cage, they are just usually bored out of their gourd there.

tim in vermont said...

"man cage..." Freudian typo.

" 'Well, isn't that wonderful! I hope he gave his wife a day off, too!' "

Wouldn't that be the same day?

William Chadwick said...

Apparently not, tim, although I guess she could have accepted it as such. He told me that she only granted him his "Me Day" reluctantly.

Freeman Hunt said...

If you have kids, you can't have the same day. You probably can't have a weekly leave me alone day at all in that case. Kids will probably not be so accommodating.

Anonymous said...

Weird thread my dad had a den, a garage, and the downstairs bathroom. My mom had 3/4 of the master bedroom and bathroom, a ween office, and the living room- bit only to decorate and keep looking emmaculate.

We had the rest all kids bedrooms, bathrooms, stairs, family room, hobby room and the entire outdoors.


Now hmmm: dad, mom, and kids all own the kitchen, which is used as a family room, and to for both sexes to cook at mals and parties, no one puts a foot in the living room unless entertaining, mom has a yoga room, dad has bigger home office, mom the smaller, garage is used to charge the car and store the kayak, not much else, hot tub is everyone's, garden space is full of fruits, vegetables, and beneficial insects. Everyone's, except the kid's 'till she became a teenager.

Mmmm. Mom is more dominant and there is not much official private space, so dad gets how outside office (mostly), and and occasional bike ride alone down through Big Sur or Spain.

I'd rather have that than some stupid man cave any day.