Monday, February 07, 2011

The decline of male space

I was just thinking about male space last night as I drove through some neighborhoods and saw televisions flickering and men gathered at neighborhood club houses to watch the Super Bowl. It seems like only on this day are men allowed to have a place of their own. It reminded me of this piece I read about the decline of male space (via News Alert and Instapundit). The article was written by Brett McKay, the author of The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man. He makes a number of good points about the decline of male space at work, bars, barber shops and even in the home:
The rise of suburban culture with its emphasis on creating a domestic nest, usually meant sacrificing male space for the good of the family. Home designs in the 1950s exchanged the numerous, smaller rooms of the Victorian home for fewer, larger rooms. The goal was to create more open space where families could congregate together and bond while watching the Honeymooners on TV.

With no room to call their own, men were forced to build their male sanctuaries in the most uninhabitable parts of a home. Garages, attics, and basements quickly became the designated space for men, while the women and children had free reign over the rest of the house.

I have often seen men, especially those who do not get along with their wives, practically living on the couch or in the garage. Sometimes, they are treated no better than the family dog. On the other hand, some basements these days are pretty nice and men often go there to get away from others and get some peace and quiet.

If male, do you have a space that you call your own? Do you feel that there are fewer places for men to go?

Cross-posted at the PJ Tatler.

Update: Little Miss Attila has more thoughts on male space.

Labels:

168 Comments:

Blogger pdwalker said...

No.

Yes.

8:19 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...

pdwalker,

Why have men let this happen? I don't mean to sound naive or sarcastic. I really wonder why men have turned over their space and rights to women and others without a fight?

8:22 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

If male, do you have a space that you call your own?

Yes. It's called my house. I refuse to ever let a woman live in my home again.

Do you feel that there are fewer places for men to go?

I can't really think of any place that I or any other average guy can go that is really for men, except, perhaps, the outdoors (the same chicks who are able to hack it in the backcountry are the same chicks who I might be able to live with if I were to live with a chick). Of course, not only is the outdoors not designed or designed for men, but it is also being overran by asshole suburbanites who think it all ought to be made handicapped accessible and that wild animals shouldn't be allowed to kill morons.

8:30 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Major-General said...

No, and I feel suffocated due to it. Unfortunately nothing I can do about it currently.

Yes, though I am not particularly social by nature. As such I do not congregate with others often.

8:47 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Stormbringer said...

Brett also has a forum for "The Art of Manliness". You do not have to join to read posts. There are several discussions on the "man cave" (a place for a man to call his own) that are quite interesting.

8:50 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger sykes.1 said...

Houses with fewer rooms are cheaper to build because they have fewer interior walls.

That said, I've always had a room where I could do my own thing (mainly working in evening--I was a college prof).

Their used to be many places men could go outside the home--eg bars, Masons, et al--but cultural pressures now prevent this except for proles.

8:51 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Chronicler said...

Helen,

We didn't let it happen. We were sold out by politicians and judges pandering for votes. The other part of that equasion is that you have at least two or three generations of boys being raised by women in a culture that despises and marginalizes men in thought, words, and actions.

It all combines to produce things like this.. The other day while at work my girlfriend sent me an email that she was going out to give a co-worker a jump start. It was cold out so she started the truck, handed HIM the jumper cables and went to climb back in the truck to get warm. He said and I quote. "How do you do this?"

She told me about this later after she had to connect the cables for him and my first words were "How the hell does a man make it to 34 years old without knowing how to jump a car!?"


No, don't have a space to call my own. However, we live in a small home so we have to compromise. Which she does. I'm fortunate to be with a woman who shows me some consideration.

Not many spaces left where men can go and just be men. J. Bowen is right about the outdoors.

9:10 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...

Chronicler,

Thanks for your reply.

9:13 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Mark said...

1) No, but I get along very well with my wife and enjoy her company. She also keeps me in mind when decorating, the place doesn't look like a doll house or little girls room, it's a place we can both be comfortable.

2) I think there are fewer places where men can go and BE men. I'd like to have a place I could stop in sometimes to have a couple beers and a cigar while watching football, but oh-my-God-the-secondhand-smoke-will-kill-everyone!!!!one!!

I got into a discussion recently, and thought I'd pass the question by you and your readers. I've noticed that it's nearly universal that women like the smell of pipe tobacco, even women who HATE cigar smoke. I'd assumed it brought back memories of a beloved man, father, grandfather, uncle, etc, who smoke a pipe back when pipe smoking was nearly universal among men. One woman told me she loved the smell even though no one in her life smoke, she just thought pipe smoke smelled manly and she liked that. Thoughts?

9:25 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

She told me about this later after she had to connect the cables for him and my first words were "How the hell does a man make it to 34 years old without knowing how to jump a car!?"

I didn't know how to change a tire until I was 28 - because I never once had to change a tire before then. Cars (and car batteries) are becoming so good and roadside service so ubiquitous that most people nowadays never have to worry about opening their hood (I know a chick who doesn't even know how to open a car hood).

By the way, do you know how to navigate by compass, let alone by the stars? Can you extract water from mud? Can you kill, skin, gut, and cook a wild animal and determine what plants and fruits are and aren't edible? Can you make soap? Can you make your own clothes? If you can't do any of these things, how have you possibly made it to whatever age you are without being able to?

9:29 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Ern said...

I've lived by myself since late 1976 (before that, I had a male room-mate). I definitely have a space of my own.

I do remember when there were men-only bars. The Berghoff restaurant in Chicago (just north of where the Chicago Seven trial was held) had one. Some judge ruled it illegal in the early 1970s. I expect that there are fewer places for men to go where there are only other men, but, since I'm about as far from being a gregarious sort as I can be, I don't really notice it.

I watched the Super Bowl at a neighbor's house yesterday (I don't have a television). There were four men, three women, and two boys there. The four men wanted to watch football. The three women wanted to watch the commercials. I am not making this up.

9:31 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Stormbringer said...

I like Chronicler's remarks.

This one, "The other part of that equasion is that you have at least two or three generations of boys being raised by women in a culture that despises and marginalizes men in thought, words, and actions", is addressed to some extent in the "No More Mr. Nice Guy" book and forum; many men try to win women by being wimpy and by pandering instead of standing up for themselves.

9:32 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger I R A Darth Aggie said...

As a single dude, I live alone. Therefor, my home is my castle.

If I were to lose my mind and get married, I'd insist upon having my own bathroom. And in the modern age when many women won't care too much, I'd claim the kitchen.

10:09 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Bill said...

I've got two - one is a debris-choked garage where she goes only occasionally when looking for something, and the other is a workshop where I make furniture.

And yes, I do. Male space is at an all time low.

10:35 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Mario said...

The book, The Great Good Place, by Ray Oldenberg touches on this loss of male space, though it's more about the loss of social space in general in American society.

10:45 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Chronicler said...

By the way, do you know how to navigate by compass, let alone by the stars? Can you extract water from mud? Can you kill, skin, gut, and cook a wild animal and determine what plants and fruits are and aren't edible? Can you make soap? Can you make your own clothes? If you can't do any of these things, how have you possibly made it to whatever age you are without being able to?


Actually, I can do most of those things and do. But we're talking about skills that most people don't possess anymore.

Basic car care (e.g. hooking up jumper cables, changing a tire,) Are things everyone should know. Especially, when you live in the middle of nowhere and it could be several hours-depending on weather- before anyone, including EMS, fire or police, shows up let alone anyone that can actually help.

The disservice done to that young man isn't the lack of car knowledge it's simply the lack of self-reliance that you and I have been taught/or learned. (I should have made that clearer in my initial post)

Which actually goes to the heart of Helen's post here. I learned those things through a lot of male only gatherings. Father, brother-in-laws, uncles, etc. Bent over cars, in the woodshop, over the pool table, sitting at the back table of the diner, etcetera.

10:54 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Being divorce, I have a male space of my own, my house. My daughter does get to do with her bedroom as she pleases.

Yes, there are fewer places for men. A friend of mine and his wife bought a house. He wanted to decorate some space in his college alma mater's mofif. He didn't get the basement. He got a bathroom in the basement. Wimp.

As Aesop said, Better to starve a free man than be a fat slave.

11:04 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

"The disservice done to that young man isn't the lack of car knowledge it's simply the lack of self-reliance that you and I have been taught/or learned."

The dude in your story didn't even have the smarts or initiative to look in the manual that was probably in the glovebox.

He's a drone, not a man.

11:18 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger pdwalker said...

Dr Helen,

In my case, it's like the ocean waves against a rock. Over time, it just wears one down.

I had a space, an office I worked from that was mine! mine! mine! The rest I gladly surrendered over to her tender mercies. My space was organized my way (yes, "messily", but everything was in a place where I could always find it). And then it started...

"It's messy, you should throw this stuff out"

"you have all this space for yourself, don't you think it's selfish? I have none for me"

"I need you to store this (her stuff) in the room. What? what are you complaining about, you have the whole room to yourself" (oh..and you have the rest of the house, but nevermind)

"I don't like it when you are in the room and not out here"

...

years pass, and one surrenders inch by inch until you realize you're working over the living room table (when allowed) with a pair of noise cancelling headphones trying to drown out the background noise.

Without a fight? Hardly, but how much does one want to fight over another box, or another little thing over the years and years with the grief that comes with it?

I just got tired and gave up about three years ago.

The worst part? We're moving to a large place with more room for the kids and the automatic assumption was that there would be no room this time for my office space.

!!!

How do you fight that? Logic? no. Putting your foot down? That's great if you want to live in the dog house for the next couple of years (until you give up and accede to her wishes).

Moving out actually provides the best chance of getting some space back.

So, do I get into yet another fight in the hope of clawing some space back? Or do I find my space elsewhere?

(egad, I sound bitter)

11:48 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Always had my own space. I'm a slob and happy about it. Did much work in my own home as in remodeling, but also programming, art, metal work....

Raised my daughter mostly alone. She had the opposite of those poor boys. She can do most of those archaic things listed because I instilled in her a great curiosity about things.

She's also quite opposite in that she thinks in a more masculine manner - logic and all. That's bad for a female? No. Very girlie girl. Also, she surrogated for an incapable friend recently. They said she was a perfect host as she was far less inclined to bond with the other person's child - being so rational and masculine in thought.

12:16 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Zach said...

pdwalker sorry to hear the trouble you got. I remember an article on either here with Helen or on Amy Alkon's site. But it talked about the guy getting kicked out of the house.
Seems all guys move to the garage or a workshop since that is the space no one wanted.

First space is given to the wife, then to the kids, and finally maybe to pets. Only the worst areas are left for him. But yes how do you fight it? Do you rely on the aggrieving party to see your side or do you demand your area and be made out to be throwing a tantrum like a child? Logic means little, emotion you are overruled, what means does a man really have to fight back? Some may say divorce, but that is not fighting back, that is retreating.

2:09 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Dave said...

I'm shocked that someone who talks about "chicks" and "asshole suburbanites" has trouble living with a woman.

2:13 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger DividebyTube said...

I have the run of the basement for my "man cave". It's here that I can tinker, listen to my audiophile stereo and play on my computer. After my son goes to bed, I usually scamper downstairs to get some rest and relaxation. After an hour, I come back upstairs and spend some time with my wife.

2:15 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Laughingdog said...

It's nice to see that I'm not the only one disillusioned about what marriage seems to have become.

My ex-wife acted like I should feel lucky that I had a nice chair that I could call my own, and I only had that because I inherited it, and I was fortunate enough that the blue leather fit her decor. I'd say I felt like a tenant, but tenants usually at least get to decide how things will be arranged in one room in the house.

I'm not against getting married again. But I'll never do it until I find an available woman who doesn't view men as a source of money and sperm (because she's at that stage of her life checklist) that should sit quietly out of the way in her home.

Needless to say, I have a realistic idea of the odds on that one.

2:16 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger boxingalcibiades said...

1. Yes. I have such a space, and can go to it any time I want. Since I enjoy being with my wife and family, it's fairly uncommon for me to do so for any length of time.

2. Only if he's a wimp. All these conspiracy theories are crap -- if a guy is both reasonable and spine-enabled, he should have little difficulty asserting his interests AS a fully-respected part of the "family's interest."

2:16 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Stormbringer said...

Yeah, don't say "chicks", broads hate that.

Or we can skip majoring on semantics and deal with the actual points. Just a thought.

2:16 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Stormbringer said...

I'm jaded. In many cases, marriage is legalized prostitution: Do what she wants, keep her happy, and you'll get your occasional reward. Sex is a weapon and a means of manipulation.

Fortunately, some people have real marriages that have mutual love and respect.

2:19 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger boxingalcibiades said...

Oh, @Mark 9:21 a.m.,

I spent some time far away from any cigarette smoke, and was *amazed* at how much my jacket and clothes reeked, and I mean REEKED, after spending three hours in a not-very-crowded pool hall.

This secondhand smoke thing seems to be real, but like gas fumes, those of us constantly exposed seem to be desensitized.

2:20 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger jeff said...

I took over the garage to turn into my model railroad room. My wife has no reason to go out there, so she rarely does.

But it's not like I live out there either.

2:26 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Reality Check said...

I am fortunate - my wife and I have always had the understanding that we both need our space at times. I have always had a den and a recroom in the basement, decorated (by her!) in my style. Always had it, always will. Gotta be able to get out of each other's way once in a while - no matter how much you love each other.

2:28 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger ken in sc said...

Yes I do. Partly because we can afford for each of us to have our own separate hideaways, but also because my wife is the most fair minded, evenhanded woman I have ever met. I also attend a men's group at church every Thursday morning at 6:30 AM. The time discourages many men from showing up, but it pretty much precludes any women from trying to crash the group.

2:31 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger kurt9 said...

By the way, do you know how to navigate by compass, let alone by the stars? Can you extract water from mud? Can you kill, skin, gut, and cook a wild animal and determine what plants and fruits are and aren't edible? Can you make soap? Can you make your own clothes? If you can't do any of these things, how have you possibly made it to whatever age you are without being able to?

I can certainly navigate by compass or by the stars. I can extract water from mud. I can't do the other things mentioned here. I can and have changed tires and can jump a car. I don't see how anyone cannot do these things as they are very easy to do, and I'm not a mechanical person at all.

I've changed a tire twice simply because it was much faster and more convenient for me to do it myself rather than call AAA and wait for someone to come. There's usually a Les Schwab nearby where you can get a punctured tire fixed.

2:34 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Tex the Pontificator said...

Changing a tire is not that complicated. I recall being on the highway with my mother when I was 10 or 12. We got a flat tire, and she gave me the keys to the trunk and told me to handle it. I was taken aback, but I had seen my father change a tire once and, when I saw she meant business, I got down to it and did it.

2:34 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Donald Sensing said...

I have a home office (converted, unused bedroom) that is mine alone. When I want some self time, I retreat there - usually because the frau and I do not want to watch the same TV show or I need to do some work and so need the P&Q.

Other than that, though, I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter, who is only a year away from leaving home. Our two sons are already on their own, and I want to enjoy my daughter's company as much as I can before she leaves for college.

My wife and I are very comfortable in each other's company so I really do feel the need for "man space."

2:36 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Donald Sensing said...

Oh good grief, I meant to end, "... I really do not feel the need for "man space.

2:37 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger truth-seeker said...

We sold our small home at the peak of the market and built a bigger home in a much cheaper area. Thus we were able to build one big enough to each have our own office. Hers is modern, bare and clean, mine is antique, stuffed and cluttered.

I had a second room for all my hobby stuff (50,000 political buttons), but when our second child was born I gave that room up and moved all that stuff to our business which has (had) a lot of empty space.

My wife and I take turns working alone at our business so we have a lot of alone time. I think it keeps us together.

2:39 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger kurt9 said...

If you drive a stick-shift, you should know how to compression-start the car. Starters usually give out around 75K miles or so.

2:39 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Skip said...

I am a 43 year old man and in the beginning of March will be living completely alone for the first time in my life. I went from my parents house where I had most of the basement, to college with roommates. Then, got myself a wife and kids. Now, I have an X wife and my second daughter will be leaving for the military within a month.

I changed the 'playroom' into an office, my master bedroom suite has my music equipment. I'm still torn on what to do with my daughter's rooms but I would love to get a pool table and enclose my back patio.

...By the way, do you know how to navigate by compass, let alone by the stars?... Yes I can although as a man, my internal powers of 'dead reconing' are tuned quite nicely.

2:40 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger ken in sc said...

BTW, I lived in Korea for two years. Every Korean house has a man's room in which no women are allowed to enter. A wife or servant may place a tray of drink or food at the doorway, but they never enter. OTOH, males are not allowed in the kitchen. Little boys who stray there are threatened with emasculation--with a knife.

2:43 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Fourmyle said...

"Why have men let this happen? I don't mean to sound naive or sarcastic. I really wonder why men have turned over their space and rights to women and others without a fight?"

Stupidity, I guess. First we let women vote. Then we let them vote for no-fault divorce and no-fault alimony. And custody of children went from father to mother. Then we realized we couldn't say boo in our own homes without the threat of being left pennyless, homeless, and emotionally heartbroken from being separated from our children at the drop of a hat.

Many women have absorbed a culture of "girl power!" and "boys are stupid", and they have no respect for masculine sacrifice. It's their "due" to get his house, kids and money (and legally speaking, they are correct), and everything he has is by their leave. It's the worst form of slavery.

As for male public spaces, do make me laugh. Name me a place that can be male only (other than a locker room) and not get sued by the ACLU or NOW. The only male-only space I have access to is the men's locker room at the YMCA.

2:44 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger M. Report said...

Dr. H: The decline of male space

MR: I have a computer station in a corner of the bedroom, and more to
the point, a wife who will -mostly-
leave me alone to enjoy it. :)

Two interesting references:
Victorian Era & 'The Honeymooners'

When the husband is the sole earner
the wife is less likely to be a
witch, more likely to get a free
'Trip to the Moon' if she is, and
unable to call in the police, let alone sue for divorce.

2:45 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Bruce Wayne said...

Male space? No problem. Of course I refuse to be treated like that again after she left so I have been single for 25 years now. I raised 2 sons, college graduates, An Engineer and a Certified Jeweler. I have antique cars, Harleys and tractors. My shop is 40X100. Like has been good

2:48 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Toren said...

I've been an audiophile since about 1974, and when we bought a house, one of the non-negotiable points was that I have a room to devote entirely to my audio system, where I can listen and read...and smoke my pipe! That was 15 years ago and while there was and has been some grumbling over the years, it remains, although I use it less than I'd like. The fundamental complaint seems to be that I'm down there instead of up the living room, where I am more easily "accessible." But this cuts to another function of the "man cave." Men need time alone in away few women seem to, and here, as in all aspects of modern life, female preferences have been given default status, with male preferences a reluctant concession to the norm.

2:49 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Tristram said...

Not really. I do have my own computer though, and while I don't mind if she uses for a bit, I have spent a lot of time getting it configured for me, and I damn well don't want to hear about how it doesn't do something the right way.

My space is pretty much 'not in the house', that is, walking on the local paths, at the Y, etc. I also get temporary space by getting up 5 hours before her (though, most days I do go to work after a couple of hours, but that time from 5-7 makes the whole down stairs 'mine' for reading, playing video games, cooking, whatever.

To be honest, I resent the hell out it, and it certainly has added to marital stress (not the good kind, either...)

2:49 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Fearsome Tycoon said...

pdwalker, the answer is simple: Put your foot down. The question really is which do you value more--having some space of your own, or getting laid? It sounds like your wife has made total obedience to her the condition of sex, and you've decided that sex is worth more than everything else in your life. Maybe it is, but that's your judgment call.

But if you consider it, and you decide that complete loss of any personal space is worse than not getting sex, put your foot down. If she stops sleeping with you (and why do YOU have to move to the couch? Who paid for the bed? If she throws a hissy fit because she wants your room, let her move to the couch) because of one room in the house, let her be the child she is.

And then what? Does she divorce you because you kept your office? If she does, that's her problem. Who wants to stay married to a psychopathic woman-child who can't function if she doesn't always get her way?

2:51 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

I don't have a room in our house that is just mine, but I really do not need one. When I am lost listening to music or playing on the computer or editing photographs I have all the isolation I need.

Now I do have some guy activities that I do with just my guy friends. The chief of them is my cigar club. We meet at least once a month to smoke cigars, drink beer, and generally have fun.

But I do not need a man cave. In the next house I might make one anyway.

Trey

2:51 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger geowash01 said...

Doc,
I have a space (my office) where I write, read, and research. My wife knows and mostly respects the line at the door, but I welcome her occasional visits.

As for the second question. man-space is a state of mind. If you're a man, it's wherever you are. I don't let the wussification of society interfere, though it bothers me intellectually.

I have a Jeep and a card for gas and there are places in Colorado where cell phones and that other crap still don't work. Fewer places, but you can find it if you look. Or just turn them off/leave them behind.

2:55 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger algie said...

As a Matter of fact any space I am occupying is 'male space', I make myself comfortable, and do what i want, smoke a pipe or cigar, read, watch TV, or nap. OINK OINK

..........'o^o'..........algie
^^^^uuuu^^^^U^^^^nn!n^^^^^^^^^
illegitimi non carborundum

2:57 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Nickolas said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:02 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Bob said...

I'm close to 70 and my wife is a few years younger. As I read this I realize how lucky I am. My wife is my best friend and I am hers. I have helped her with canning produce from the garden (she told me what to do, I did it) and she has driven bull dozer for me in the woods when I was lumber jacking and couldn't find someone to skid logs in the rough terrain. She did fine and we made a sweet profit. We have built houses together, raised and butchered animals together (I do the slaughtering and messy stuff, she draws the line at that), but she cuts the meat up, freezes it, etc. We have moved past the subsistence existence and into software development where we continue to work together, building and maintaining OUR home together. Given our busy schedules, we treasure our time together. To heck with "man caves", we share a home.

3:03 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger The Captain said...

After many years of experimentation with living arrangements (male roommate, solo, married for many years, and for the last several years single and solo again) I've concluded that I prefer to live alone, save the company of a great dog. It pleases me to be surrounded by tools and musical instruments. Thus among many other things I have a chainsaw and an air compressor in my office. There are musical instruments all over my living room. It's a comfortable place to live. Yes, I'm a sasquatch who lives in a "cave," but we ignore our true natures at our peril and to our detriment.

The idea of a woman ever "allowing" me to do anything is preposterous. I do as I damn well please and I don't harm anyone, so what's the problem? There isn't one, by my thinking.

After many years of "doing things" for a wife and girlfriends -- being a building contractor, car repairman, legal adviser, enforcer and unpaid therapist (or as I once put it, "a wallet, a dick and a toolbox") -- it's astonishing how much I can accomplish by directing those energies to my own interests. Having lots of friends (of both sexes) to do interesting and rewarding things with provides ample socialization when it's needed. And as some wise person put it, If you are lonely when you are alone, you are in bad company.

You have a great blog, Helen. You pay attention to many matters that don't receive sufficient consideration elsewhere.

3:06 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

But we're talking about skills that most people don't possess anymore.

Whether you might possess those skills or not is pretty much irrelevant (hopefully you understand that you are the rare exception). There will always (at least for the foreseeable future) going to be skills that people no longer possess that were once vital. Basic car care knowledge is simply no longer a necessary because the market allows us to get by without those skills (just like the market allows to not know how to bake bread (thank you mass production), how to store food (thank you refrigerators and preservatives), how to develop film (thank you photo shops, photo printers, and digital picture frames), how to build a shelter (thank you home-builders), how to brew beer or make whiskey from corn (thank you safe drinking water), and so on). Having a market economy allows for the division of labor to the point that there is little that we need to actually know how to do anymore (some day we might even not have to know how to wipe our own behinds because we'll have robots or artificial life forms that do the job for us).

Especially, when you live in the middle of nowhere and it could be several hours-depending on weather- before anyone, including EMS, fire or police, shows up let alone anyone that can actually help.

Some day the overwhelmingly vast majority of all people are going to live in cities and suburbs. In the mean time, people need only to have enough supplies to tide them over until help - which they can reach by Onstar or, if they don't have it, cell phone (what non-hermit below 70 doesn't have a cell phone these days?).

The disservice done to that young man isn't the lack of car knowledge it's simply the lack of self-reliance that you and I have been taught/or learned. (I should have made that clearer in my initial post)

Self-reliance isn't a necessity anymore in today's society. That's my point. One of the most basic concepts in economics is that division of labor is limited by the extent of the market. As the market expands, so, too, can (and usually does) the division of labor. Heck, parents not only don't need to know how to provide basic necessities for their children, they don't even have to be there to provide those basic necessities (they can farm out those duties to nannies, daycare workers, and teachers).

Which actually goes to the heart of Helen's post here. I learned those things through a lot of male only gatherings.

I think it is yet to be seen whether or not the kind of male bonding that occurred in the past is necessarily a good thing or not. One of the downsides to the kind of almost-forced male bonding that took place in what now seems like the distant past is that many sons and daughters were pigeon-holed by their parents. Boys who weren't interested in doing "manly" things (and girls who weren't interested in doing "girly" things) were not only not encouraged to develop their own interests and follow their own dreams, they were also, in many (if not most) cases, actively discouraged or even prevented from doing what they wanted to do (sometimes through humiliation and sometimes through physical force). One of the remarkable things about living in today's society is that there is more freedom to be who you want to be than ever before. It's no longer nearly as taboo as it once was to not fit into rigid gender-based stereotypes. Many people are failing to see the forest through the trees. We're living in one of the greatest times in human history (thus far). The old ways (part of which was the need for self-reliance and gender roles) are being discarded for something newer. And again, this may or may not be a good thing, but only time will tell.

3:09 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Bob said...

One other thought occurred to me after I posted my previous comment. I like my wife's decorating ideas a heck of a lot better than mine. She has an eye for color and light that creates a feeling of warmth and lightness throughout our home. I like gray and black as colors. You can imagine what that would look like.

3:11 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

thankfuly my wife does understand that i need private space and i have a room in the basement where i paint occasionally when the inspriration hits.

but mostly i want to be where my wife is, whether it be in the kitchen, bedroom or on the couch watching the x-files box set that we got for christmas or old top gear episodes on google video.

when my step-daughter comes back from college she takes over the computer with facebook and then goes downstairs to leave the tv on loud.

i then text her mother to ask her to use her own laptop with headphones and turn the tv down...which she does begrudgingly, because apparently everyone needs to experience jersey shore reruns really loud.

i think that women just do this unconsciously, usurping all available space, because they have been given permission after permission socially, politically and legally...so why not do it personally with men, the last fronteer of confrontation?

they really don`t get much real happiness out of it all though. they are still the same agressive unhappy bunch with their hair and nails done to impress their freinds at starbucks.

sad really.

my wife wants my guitars in the living room so that i can play them for her. this pleases her, and surprised me the first time i played for her, how genuinely she liked what i play, and didn`t ask if i knew how to play someone else`s stuff like a juke box.

and my paintings are on our walls, along with tom thompson and some inuit works, because she genuinely likes my work as much as the other things we collect.

i looked for a long time for this woman. someone who recognises me as a person who has feelings and desires, as i do her.

i dated a lot after the break with my ex, and met some truly remarkably unhappy women who simmered under the surface of physical attractiveness, and resented how un-attached i was to their "beauty" which i knew they were fearful of losing in the next few years.

this knowledge led to a few interesting scenarios where women were totally baffled that i would walk away from such a "good" thing...not realising that the raging tyrant held no interest for me.

3:13 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Dave said...

My space is my house. If I want a room to myself, I damn well get it.

Men, you have to find a woman who lets you be a man. It's a challenge, because American women are told by society to be controlling, while men are told to be submissive. Learn to be alpha.

3:14 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger obie said...

I've got a small man-cave in the house.

Outside the house, I go to the gun club. There are a noticeable number of women there, but it has never felt like anything other than a male space to me.

3:15 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

By the way, one of the things that I find most interesting about this discussion is how many times computers have been referenced (four as of now, and five if you include me). As computers become more and more a part of our lives, the question of computers - which are easily configurable and very portable - is going to loom larger and larger than ever before. Computers - and, more importantly, the internet - allow us (man or woman) to have our own little and seemingly infinite space of our own.

3:18 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Michael K said...

By the way, do you know how to navigate by compass, let alone by the stars? Can you extract water from mud? Can you kill, skin, gut, and cook a wild animal and determine what plants and fruits are and aren't edible? Can you make soap? Can you make your own clothes? If you can't do any of these things, how have you possibly made it to whatever age you are without being able to?

When I was 10 and was allowed to go duck hunting with my father, it was my job to gut and skin the ducks (How many people know how to skin a duck ?) The same applied to upland game birds like pheasants. I found Hawaii with a sextant on a 40 foot sailboat. My 16 year old son was one of the crew. Soap is easy.

My first wife had a hard time allowing my older son to grow up. Finally, when he was 14, I divorced her and he came to live with me. We had been married 18 years but she had become more domineering. I finally had enough and left with him. My other son came to live with me a few years later.

I remarried, a mistake although she was beautiful and fun. She had a crazy streak and would jump up and down on the bed to keep fights going when I would try to go to sleep. I would finally have to leave the house. That lasted 9 years.

My sons are grown and are men. The oldest was living with a girl and engaged. She told him that he would have to chose between her and sailing. She was gone the next month. He is now married to someone else (PhD in psychology) and still sails although he is getting too busy. (Lawyer)

The younger son uses my tools and does work around the house. He missed out on a lot of the sailing because, by the time he got old enough, college tuition had won out over sailing.

All my kids know how to shoot and most are pretty self reliant. My middle daughter has worked archeological digs in Ecuador where they had to bathe in a bucket and has gone snow camping where they had to dig 10 feet down to reach a toilet.

I now live with my basset hound and we have the entire house as a man cave. With the last woman-shared house, I had to build an office in the garage.

3:18 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Falcon said...

We have an open floor plan, with no doors between Living, Dining and Kitchen space. I have a nice lazy boy, a laptop on a TV tray and a small bookshelf. That is my space, amid the larger space that is the house. I feel I have at least a say in the position of furniture, the decorations, etc. I have the run of the basement where I keep many more bookshelves. I have the run of the garage, the garden shed and a large, old barn which I've not used beyond storage, for the most part.

I have a good friend who is a member of the Masons and he has converted the hayloft of an entire barn to be his manspace... he's filled it with old pin ball and slot machines, a higher area for playing cards and a lower area for television... he has many items from his grandfather's garage hanging on the walls -- including a midget sports car, engines, racing pictures, etc.

I haven't decided whether I need that much space... we've been married 30 years and have pretty well settled into our boundaries.

She, on the other hand, has her own office since she works from home.

3:19 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Tim said...

Its all part of the womans movement, watch Mad Men to reminisce somewhat about the good and bad points of sexual diversity of generations past. Now that we are near as possible to homogeneity and there are no longer two genders, its poisonous to even *think* about 'man space'. The idea of the provider has changed. Instead of a culture which serves this provider in return for the financial well being, we have a culture where the provider is.... taken for granted? No, its in fact been legislated, required, and demanded by law (referring to child support and other divorce issues). This provider is the slave, the financial well being a 'right' that is expected as soon as the 'family' was conceived.

3:21 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Nickolas said...

Helen,

I was one of those who "didn't get along with his wife" and for almost two years prior to our divorce, I lived in my unfinished basement.

There was heat, but no air conditioning. I had a PC, but no television. There was no kitchen and no bed - I slept on an old couch.

How did I end up there? I'm not sure. My ex and I lived together for seven years, had our first child, and got married eighteen months later. Two years later we had another child and shortly after that, the friction arrived. It was not too bad at first, but it got steadily worse, and the lies started. After that, it was a short trip to the badgering, belittling, name-calling, and some physical violence.

I was taught growing up that men were supposed to provide for their families *period* - and that marriage was for life. I was also taught never to hit a girl - or woman - and this more than anything drove me to seek "shelter" from what was happening. I lived in constant fear that she would take my kids, my house, my money - everything. For years I waited - every single day - for the deputy with the papers to arrive and inform me that things had gone from bad to worse.

As my children became more exposed to the increasingly-violent arguments, I began to spend more time downstairs and away from the family spaces. It didn't always work because sometimes she would come down after me, but typically, she left me alone as long as there was money in the bank so she could pay the bills, order food, and buy clothes online.

So for two years I endured life in the basement but eventually I realized that the deputy was never going to show up. She didn't want a divorce because she was getting what she wanted - a free house and free money. She was, in fact, a cancer and as one should do with a cancer, I cut her out of my life - and my kid's lives as well - she is now relegated to visitation two weekends a month and two weeks a year in the summer.

The kids and I still live in the same house because the market value has dropped to about fifty percent of what I owe on it. I'm trying to remodel it to remove the "bad energy" but it's still hard to live there.

How did I end up in that situation? How did I "give up without a fight"? I'm still not sure. But I'm certain I will never go back. In fact, I'm not sure that I could. The entire experience made me so gun-shy when it comes to "relationships" and "commitment" that I sabotage anything in my life that has any potential at all. Not even therapy has helped much.

As for the basement? It is now a spider farm - I rarely even open the door to the stairs these days. Which is a shame because it would make a wonderful workshop...

3:22 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger rlockwood said...

I have had my baseball room for about 20 years. Oddly, it is never where World Series games or Super Bowls are viewed, those games are viewed on the TV in the living room. The Testosterone Room is simply a retreat room if I need to place to think undisturbed.

3:26 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Antagon said...

when we we first married I had the kitchen and an office. She "did not cook." I was left alone in my messily organized office and happily cooked for us both (no kids).

It turned out that my office was "too messy." She started randomly putting my stuff in boxes in the garage. I cant find a lot of things that i know i have, like tools needed for home maintenance. So i keep spending money for the same tools over and over.

The kitchen was too shabby for her taste so she remodeled it and now she cooks. I lost the kitchen and all the tasty and healthful food I used to cook to unhealthy and not so tasty food. Will she take suggestions on what or how to cook? Hell no! I'm trying to control her you see.

My office is nearly taken up with her stored clothes and shoes and momma's crappy linens and towels. (remember my stuff is in the garage along with her grandparents shabby wood furniture that she is going to refinish someday. Hah!)

So now I have a desk and a bed since shortly after she decided we were not going to have sex anymore she started sleeping on the couch near her real love, the big TV with lifetime and oxygen. And she seems happy.

I'm miserable and going to end this relationship once school end for me. (I paid off her student loans too.) I'll never marry again, its not worth it. Women (my wife the most) were more attentive, friendly and just plain fun when I was single. I hope I cam find that again.

3:26 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Stephen Karlson said...

Model railroading is fun, and it can be a way of negotiating for some guy space ... and it oughtn't involve adult beverages.

3:28 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...

Nickolas,

It sounds like you did put up a fight, put your children first and got custody of them. It may have taken two years, but you achieved your goal. I hope your life is full of peace now. So glad you are able to come upstairs.

3:30 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger LarryD said...

boxingalcibiades, smoking jackets were invented for a reason. Back in the 19th century there were designated smoking rooms because it was recognized that cigarettes and cigars smelled bad.

Mark, dredging my memory, I have to observe that pipes just plain smell better than cigars and cigarettes, by far. The fact that pipe tobaccos are often blended and treated to enhance flavor adds to that.

3:31 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

More to the point, computers and the internet provide an easily-accessible venue for our minds to meet rather than a physical place in the world where we go to allow our minds to meet (which is really all we're talking about here). Granted, there are limits to what computers and the internet can do for us (we're limited to only bonding with one another via our eyes and fingertips) but I suspect that that, too, will also change with time. We're constantly getting better at melding our physical bodies with technology, which should someday allow us to have new, risk-free, easily-configurable, and life-like experiences without ever leaving the comfort of our own chairs (the day that people can have sex and relationships via virtual reality that feels the same as the real thing and produces the same physiological responses as the real thing is the day that men and women will no longer have a need for one another other than for breeding (unless sexless reproduction is figured out, legalized and commercialized).

3:38 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Random Musings said...

Yes, I have my man space. I work from my home, so we converted the formal living room (never used) to my office, and it's where I keep all my fly fishing and fly tying stuff.

Why did this happen? Why do advertisers think making men look stupid in commercials will help sell product. Check out the Windows 7 commercial with the catch line (from a woman, of course) that says "Windows gave me a family that nature never could". Men are constantly put down in commercials, and it really chaps me. But men had this coming. We gave up the leadership in the home. We gave in on too many decisions. And so losing our space is sadly just another step in the giving up. Then we watch our favorite TV shows only to see advertising the presents men as doofus, stupid, and out of touch.

We fight a lonely fight, men. We must band together and resist!

3:40 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger campy said...

Wow, that Miss Attila had an amazing point with her observation that a space colored with paint formulated by men is obviously a "male space." What brilliance.

Reading that post was a minute fifteen seconds of my life I'll never get back.

3:40 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger D.L.McNamara said...

The author is a bit off in his description of 1950's suburbia. The Victorian home with smaller rooms was for the upper crust of society, the women also had a parlor and the kitchen was for the help. Many families actually lived in small tenement apartments and even those with houses had little to no privacy since most families were considerably larger. When suburbia of the 1950's sprang up, allowing many to move from tenements to small houses having a living room that did not double as sleeping space was a big step forward.

It strikes me that the need for a separate space in the home is based more on personality than gender, although the idea that a women has the rest of the house is laughable. Any space the whole family can traipse through hardly qualifies as a your own.

Barber shops are hard to find- although if you do find one it is probably all male and if you can find a beauty parlor it will have all female clientele. The uni-sex salon is in. Ironically in this case it was the men who invaded the female space. As Grecian formula and the "dry look" became the norm, males began to look down their noses at the $10 barbershop cut. If you can't find a barber or beauty shop, check out your local ghetto. You will not find uni-sex shops in the poorest neighborhoods. The males in poor neighborhoods still hang at the barbershop, I suspect this is because they live in apt's and do not have basements or attics to convert into man caves.

Gyms are the one place men to do not seem to have of their own. There are gyms that are women only but I am unaware of any that refuse women. Most of this is a two way street. The nail salon, once women only now has plenty of guys getting their uni-brow waxed and nails buffed.

3:43 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

....and my step-daughter told me the other day, that my dog would be easier to control if he was neutered (had his balls cut off...)

i will have to warn her boyfriend.

3:48 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger boxingalcibiades said...

Smoking rooms make sense. Public spaces... eh, bit more complicated. But having lost my acclimation to the stuff, I'd say the second-hand smoke phenom is real. The stuff bothers me in ways it never would have back when I was young and surrounded by cig smoke in college.

You know, it's kind of weird how many of these stories I'm reading have to do with guys who just won't defend their perogatives (sp). It's an easy habit to fall into, and an equally easy one to break, if you're reasonable - you call b.s. for what it is and refuse to put up with it.

Domineering "I must be alpha" types will usually recognize and respect that... but they will ruthlessly exploit anybody who just caves, and that's something men, women, and toddlers have in common.

3:49 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger awlabrador said...

My wife and I have separate home offices. In mine, I work and play on my computer -- mostly work and web surfing. Mine is the larger of the two home offices, and I have a couple of old laptops set aside for the kids to play games on, if they wish. When I'm in a good mood, I welcome my family in my office, and otherwise, I'm pretty tolerant. If I'm busy or don't wish to be disturbed, a pointed "Get out!" is always sufficient to clear the room of both my kids and my wife.

It's all about respect for fathers, husbands, and men. My advice: Don't marry a woman who easily uses the phrase "respect for women" -- or used such a phrase in, say, college -- but never heard of or gave serious consideration to respect for men.

3:51 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Cassandra said...

Oh for Pete's sake.

For over 20 years, my Marine husband (who was gone nearly as much as he was home) was the only person in our family of 4 who had his own "space".

He never used it. When he was home, he was perfectly free to go in there and shut the door but oddly enough (like a lot of the guys posting here) he wanted to be with his wife and children. There was no coercion and no victimization.

Both women and men have their fair share of folks who - for whatever reason - don't seem to be able to stand up for themselves. That's a responsibility you can't delegate in a relationship.

It has nothing to do with gender. It has to do with self respect. My husband never asked for his own space and in truth, it would have made a heckofa lot more sense for me to have my own space. After all, I was the homemaker - the one who sewed curtains, upholstered our furniture, bought and refinished antiques. And yet I never felt the need for "my own space" and I never felt deprived or oppressed.

If I wanted to be alone, I went outside or out to the garage.

If this is the biggest worry we have, maybe life is getting too easy.

3:53 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger KillBilly said...

Mine is the garage because I'm a car guy. Although right now she's clamoring to take some of it for storage. There's no way she's getting her way on this one..if I can't have at least one room that's mine, I'm gone.

3:55 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Milwaukee said...

You guys, I'm trying to put this behind me, but my ex-wife pushed me away over and over, and when I finally left, there wasn't much of me to collect. All that was me in the living room was one shelf of books. Nothing in the dining room. Nothing in the bathroom, or upstairs study. In the previous house we had 4 small bedrooms: one for each kid, one for us, and a study, which I mainly used. The next house had a study off the master bedroom. But, a few years after we moved, she went back to school while working full time, and needed the study to study. I was moved to the junk room in the basement, working off of a card table and folding chair, giving up a really neat desk. Six months before moving out, I painted the living room. I had been given little sailboats as souvenirs from all our beach vacations. They left the room before painting, and didn't return after wards. Church rummage sale got them years later.

The spring before I moved out we had our big break up conversation: She said she would leave, but didn't have anywhere to go. Since that was the second time she had made the offer, I said not a problem, I'll go. That summer I asked her if she was ever going to want to paint that study off the master bedroom. She said "I was thinking of letting you move back up here." My thought was "Better to ask me if I want to come back first." I vividly remember that my stuff went to basement gradually, at first. But one day I found a box of stuff of mine she had gathered and put in the basement room. A few weeks later, I went back, feeling like a thief, and collected the last remaining items that were mine.

When I moved out, I collected clothes from the bedroom closet and two books next the bed, stuff from the garage, my study in the basement, the workroom in the far corner of the basement, and some dishes. She even sent an email to our daughter, which she cc'ed to me, that since I only took my stuff, the house doesn't really look that different.

It's cold and lonely here: a) without you and b) with you. I'm much happier in my little apartment without her. Guess that's my man space. She found a new man: one who can't sign the financial aid papers for his daughter's college financial aid because he hasn't paid taxes in several years, who drinks heavily and smokes (I didn't.) She plans on never remarrying so she can collect on my Social Security, and she told me she doesn't mind living in sin. Professional teams refer to a process called "addition through subtraction."

4:07 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Dave said...

It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.--Proverbs 21:9

4:09 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger H. said...

It's interesting to read so many men's comments about needing space and wanting to retreat to it but the wife doesn't like it, because we have the opposite issue in our house. My husband likes to be wherever I am and has a tendency to follow me when I go to another room in the house. If he can be persuaded to let me be alone to do some work for awhile, he will still pop in to say hi every hour or so, utterly oblivious to the way that he's breaking my concentration. The garage is my ultimate place of retreat, but it gets darn cold in there in the winter. The fact is that he's just more social than I am and he doesn't feel the need for solitude that I do. It's a hard thing for him to understand.

My favorite time of the day is the hour or two after he has gone to bed, when the house is silent, the phone doesn't ring and I get a respite from the demands for my attention from husband and children. I love them very much, but I need the alone time to recharge and be ready for the next day.

In our house it's a personality thing, not a man/woman thing. And in the scheme of problems we have had in the past, I'll take my struggle for alone over disease time any day.

4:16 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I'm with Campy on Miss Attila. She sounds quite clueless. What difference does it make to a present day man who has no space that some guy centuries ago had a study? Apparently, she says something intelligent every once in a while. Is that by chance or intent?

4:24 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Laughingdog said...

It's interesting to read so many men's comments about needing space and wanting to retreat to it

I never really felt the need for my own space until it became apparent that my opinion didn't matter at all on any of the other space in the home. It's not like I was even demanding. My input would be things like "I just want a sofa that's comfortable." or "I'd like to put my grandfather's pocket watch up somewhere".

As for how men let this happen, it's been stated before that you learn early on that it's her way or divorce. That lasts until divorce seems more appealing.

And women wonder why so many men avoid marriage now. Would I like to have kids? Absolutely. But, statistically speaking, I'd probably never be allowed to see them more than once a month anyway.

4:27 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Robert said...

Regarding unisex hair salons: About 15 years ago I walk into one carrying my smallest son, and holding the hand of Christopher, about four. He first needs to use the bathroom. The all-chick staff points to the back. Christopher is in a rush by now, and is ready to go number one. Of course, the toilet seat is down. I raise it up for him, and away he goes, laying "it" on the toilet's edge. However, the seat doesn't stay up, because there is a plate of plastic flowers on the tank, and the plate keeps the lid-seat from going all the way back. Wham! Down goes the seat, right on Chris' man-goods. A crushing blow, indeed. He screams as loud as he could, which is QUITE LOUD indeed. The whole staff knows something bad has happened. Chris no longer wants a hair cut. Nor do I. We retreat, with the lid-seat-down broads each giving me that if-looks-could-kill gaze of infinite, "You-Man-BEAST!" superiority.

4:32 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Milwaukee said...

H: I hear you. My mom schedules time at home when she knows my dad will be gone. He schedules time at home when he knows she will be there. It takes all sorts of personalities to make the world turn. People younger than 27 tend to marry opposites, older than that marry more similar to themselves. They married at ages 17 and 20. On the Meyer-Briggs personality scale, I am an ENFP, my ex was an ISTJ. We married at ages 23 and 21. Every couple will have intractable issues. Successful ones learn to deal with those issues without dissolving the partnership. Good luck with that.

4:33 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger KeesKennis said...

A little bit of MAN makes a lot of space.
The pussyfication of MAN is man's fault, not the fairer sex's.
This can hurt.

Nic Steenekamp

4:34 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Jim said...

Yes to my own space.
I'm not sure about "places for men to go" because I am not sure what that might be.

Yes, I have my home office in the den in our house. I work from home (which makes for a very short commute) and I also do personal web surfing and blogging and such in this room.

When our son moved out, my wife moved her desk and computer, etc. from our bedroom into his room and made it her office. You guessed it -- a few months later -- boomerang -- son returned home. My wife did not want to rearrange the bedroom again, so I offered to share my office. She moved a desk and a file cabinet in here, but has never felt comfortable in doing any work in here; instead, she works at various spots (living room, bedroom, dining room, and back deck in summer weather) with her laptop and our wireless network.

I was quite willing to share my office with her, but I don't thing she feels comfortable working in what every one views as being my room. (However, I am certain that when either our son or our daughter move out -- which ever one moves first -- my wife will quickly seize upon that room for her own office.)

My office is probably a bit masculine -- dark wood bookcases along one wall, all wall space not behind bookcases is covered with framed pictures (photographs, posters, paintings, and prints).

My wife decorated most of the rest of the house. The kitchen is mostly mine -- I do most of the cooking -- but my wife and daughter love to bake and my son is a professional cook so I have to share the space with them. I dislike the dining room wallpaper, but have learned to not see it. My wife's latest redecorating of the living room is very much to my taste and I feel very comfortable in it.

Marriage is a partnership and you have to accommodate each others needs and quirks. I do not understand relationships where it is all give or all take.

As for whether or not there are spaces for men to go I said that I wasn't what that might be. I take it that a sewing circle would most likely be a female place and I assume a male space would be a bait & tackle shop or a motorcycle repair garage or some stereotypical thing like that? We do have a good part of our basement set up as a home gym with treadmill, exercise bike, weight-bench, lots of weights, punching bag, chin-up bar, etc. -- and all four of us make use of it, so it is a family space not a male space or a female space.

4:36 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Milwaukee said...

KeesKennis said...

A little bit of MAN makes a lot of space.
The pussyfication of MAN is man's fault, not the fairer sex's.
This can hurt.


What is your malfunction? There are givers, and their are takers. I would give in to make my wife happy, and did so until I finally realized that she was not the least bit interested in giving in to me. If she did, she made it clear what a huge sacrifice it was and how annoying it was and how ridiculous my choices were. When we had video rental stores, she would go get a movie she wanted to see. The next week it was my turn to get a movie she wanted to see. Once the line is crossed from being accommodating and forgiving to being a door mat, it is hard to re-establish positions.

The givers should feel guilty about enabling the takers for about as long as the takers are guilty for being takers. The time it took you read that sentence was more than enough time.

The Onion had an article about how Al Gore couldn't listen to all this music because Tipper wanted it banned, due to the lyrics. Well, Al has now discovered all that music from the 90's, and he is playing it over and over, real loud, and annoying the shit out of his Secret Service detail. Plus, he's watching all those great movies he didn't get to see, like Porky's and American Pie. I feel ya brother, I know just where he is coming from. Friends take turns: we eat here this week because you like it, there next week because I like it.

I had this conversation with the ex more than once:
Want to go out for dinner?
Sure.
Where?
I don't care. You decide.
What about M?
No, we've been there a lot.
What about Z?
No, I ate there for lunch this week.
What about H?
No, too smokey.
You do want to eat out, right?
Yeah, sure.
Where do you want to go?
Any where. I don't care. You decide.

This man space conversation is one more symptom of how diseased relations are between too many couples.

4:48 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger rhhardin said...

Work in an interesting technical field (math, physics, computer science) and go in and work on weekends.

Lots of men, no women, take it as a hobby and are there at all hours.

Paglia says that such fields are an escape from women in the first place.

4:51 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger jimbino said...

Get real:

Male space is any of those spaces devoted to sports, backpacking, hitchhiking, adventure travel, film making, haute couture, haute cuisine, cabinetmaking, welding, chess, physics, mathematics and rational thinking.

4:57 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger The Captain said...

Re: the stories told in several of these comments, a great many women mistake kindness for weakness and generosity for stupidity. It's their loss, and they'll never figure it out.

5:00 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger John said...

I have my office which is my space. I dispensed with the nagging wife so the rest of the house is fair game for me too. My kids have their rooms with all of their stuff so it all works.

5:07 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger GM Roper said...

Dr. Helen, this is a fascinating topic. My late grandfathers each had a male space, my dad's father's space was a card table where, when he was sitting there, was his place not to be disturbed. My mom's dad always had a study that was his and his alone (except for the times grandmother would sneak in there).

Dad, being an active Infantry Officer for some 32 years did NOT have a man-space at home, but always had one in the field or at an office.

My man space is either in my workshop when I get to do some wordwork, or the small area where my computer console is located as an active blogger and dedicated news-hound.

My late first wife and my second have ALWAYS respected my little versions of a "man cave" or "man-space," and for that I am grateful.

5:09 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Phil said...

Yes, there are places where men can still be men...they're just no longer found inside the family dwelling place.

I meet once a week with a group of guys called "The Samson Society." (http://samsonsociety.com) There are other avenues besides this one -- Men's Fraternity & New Adam are a couple that come to mind -- but the premise is that we get together for an hour, talk about what's going on in our lives, and here's the important part: we listen without trying to "fix" the other guy. We just give him space to say what he wants to say, and then let him shut up. We adjourn after an hour to the local watering hole, where beer/cola, conversation, and advice (if desired) flows. This weekend I attended something called a "48 Hours of Frankness" event with these guys, and it's much the same format...men being given a chance to share what's on their mind without being interrupted or by having someone try to fix them. It's amazingly refreshing.

So yeah, the literal definition of "man cave" probably needs to be changed to "escape hatch." We Samson guys get together to escape the day-to-day pressures of life, blow off some verbal steam before it explodes on our spouse or family, and then are prepared to re-engage with our families or our singleness when the night is over.

5:09 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Milwaukee said...

The rifle deer season in Wisconsin starts the Saturday morning before Thanksgiving. A friend suggested a group of non-hunting, non-gun owning guys get together to eat things our cardiologist wouldn't approve of and drink beer at a restaurant in town. That way we saved ourselves the trouble of driving a distance and sleeping in a hunting camp and wondering in the woods. Several of the wives wanted to come along, and to make suggestions about who we should invite to our dinner. Their suggestions were all ignored. And that was just once-a-year.

5:18 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

and i have the couch i used to sleep on. it sits in my basement, along with my weights and some of the guitars and amps that i and my children play.

the couch has wear marks on the leather cushions where my feet wore holes in the surface because i slept there so much in the last two years of marriage to my ex.

it sits as a reminder of how things were in the end.....not good at all.

and many men still live in that state, trapped in their own home with nowhere to go.

i don`t miss that feeling at all.

i remember the sense of relief when i took an apartment finally...the sensation of absolute peace when that door closed behind me as the last piece of furniture was moved in and my friends all left, knowing that this was truly my place.

5:18 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Hucbald said...

My house is a three bedroom, two bath man cave: 1,327 square feet of heaven on earth. I have my Mac running two 23" displays on a three tier Anthro cart right beside the fireplace (Which is gas, and can run when the electricity goes out). Bedroom two is a guest room, and bedroom three has my Bowflex. EVERY ROOM is set up so I can practice guitar and rehearse my set, and my main computer setup - every room has a Mac too - is, of course, a recording studio... a recording studio in the, "family room." Ha!

It wasn't like that when I was married. lol.

My dad always insisted on a den, which was always whichever was the smallest bedroom. I imagine if I ever got married again - it would have to be a rich supermodel - I'd insist on an extra bedroom as a den too.

5:25 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger pashley said...

I hestitate to jump into all these ancedots, but just some points.

1) For those who complain about the feminization of our culture, there are male dominated cultures right over there (Shanghai, Moscow, Cairo), and the mistress is a big part fo the culture. Somehow I think that is less attractive.


2) A democratic culture with a big
intrusive government is a feminized culture. So smaller government, dummies.

3) If men don't have interests apart from the women-folk in their life, its their own fault.

4) If men don't take time out from the women-folk in their life, ditto.

5:54 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Eric said...

I don't really have "my own space" so much as I have just been a participant in the design, modeling, and decorating of our home. From the office, to the living room, to the bedroom, to the patio, to the barn... I feel like they are all just as much mine as they are my wife's. For instance, we have a workout room that has colors she picked out, but it has my Bruce Lee posters hanging on the wall. Even the guest bedroom has some of my style and some of her style in it.

Anyway, with this set up, I can comandeer just about any room or space in the house as "my own". We have a back patio that is covered and screened in, with a gas firepit in the center. It gets a lot of family use. But if I want to invite a few buddies over to play guitar some evening, I jut claim the patio and it becomes my space.

I actually do have a nice workshop out in the barn that is technically "my space" in that I am the only one who ever uses it... but it's not a place I generally want to hang out. It's a utilitarian space I use to accomplish something. If a friend drops by while I'm out there, we tend to migrate to a different area.

5:54 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Tracy said...

I'd have to say that I'm one of the ones where I feel that I've done nothing but give ground. Now that my Mother-in-Law has had to move in due to her her being destitute I've lost what was the office and "my space" even though I never got to use it. My wife is always on her IPhone and needing me to watch our daughter or do something. She gets her 2 hours to watch Gray's Anatomy and Private Practice while I don't get the time to be alone. I'm having to try to scrounge up a few hours at night on the weekend after her and my daughter are both asleep when I can do the things I really want to do. The closest I've currently got to a sanctuary is at work or when I'm able to get her to watch our daughter while I try do work on the house or anything else that needs it.

5:55 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger J Oliver said...

My husband finally found a male space! Man's Bible Study! The group is growing so fast because they can be together without anyone accusing them of sexism or sniggering about male bonding.

5:59 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger michael a. livingston said...

I personally have taken over the office, living room, and den and confined my wife to a small area in the corner of the kitchen.

6:05 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Eric said...

I'd also note that there are still some civic organizations that offer men a place to congregate. I go to a weekly Rotarian lunch in my town with some other local business owners, which is an all male group, though not be decree. The Masons are another group devoted to masculine fellowship, thought they meet less regularly. Less formally (and my personal favorite) is a friend who puts on a Wednesday Night Music Club, where anybody with a guitar and a song and a six pack is welcome to show up. The regular attendees are all male, and while it isn't strictly against the rules to invite a female or a spouse, it's pretty rare.

There are plenty of places for men to be, you just have to pursue them.

6:10 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Average Joe said...

Why have men let this happen?

The simple answer is sex. Men who do as their wives want them to do generally get more sex than men who don't.

6:15 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Mizz E said...

Domestic Tranquility: He has his house, a 3,000 sq ft bunkhouse and I have my 1400 sq ft. cottage.

6:15 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger David R. Graham said...

On why men turn over their space: poor judgement selecting a companion (of either gender) and cowardice.

However, the premise is useless. Man space, woman space? What's that? Space is space. Time is time.

"A house is a machine for living in." Bucky Fuller. If someone else is living in it with one, it's still just one machine. Now, if there's enmity between its parts, better to stop the machine, eliminate the enmity, and restart or scrap it.

I've been in "all men" gatherings -- such as a week-long trail ride -- and found myself revolted by the "man" things going on there. And these were rich, powerful "men." I demanded to leave early. And from women I've heard parallel stories regarding female-only gatherings.

I think the useful questions are what is a man, what is a woman and what for genuine happiness do they do alone and together?

My personal observation is that most American men and women of the modern period have poor judgement (discernment) and cowardice because they have never known a mother's love.

What modern can be shamed with the classical rebuke, "What would your mother think of what you are doing, or, of your condition?" The rebuke has no power for most because they know their mother never cared what they do or their condition. And they're right. Their mother did not love them.

Moderns weren't cheated in the first instance by their clergy and teachers, they were cheated first by their mothers, who had other interests than loving them.

And that's why males are not men and females are not women.

6:17 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Mizz E said...

"Mama Don't Let Your Cowboys Grow Up To Be Babies" - Tony Joe White and Waylon Jennings

6:33 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Glittermama said...

I read that article too. The author made a distinction between male space and family space... space that was shared with the children. He seemed to lump the wife in with the kids when it came to non-male space.

That, of course, left me wondering... where is the female space in that equation? Nowhere. The woman has no more space than the man. All of it is family space. Now, if you had a lot of rooms, you could potentially have one extra for him and one extra for her, for a study or a TV room or whatever. But to complain about not having a room of one's own when no one else in the house does seems a little overly entitled to me. Either everyone gets their own room, or no one does. That's a compromise you have to make when space is limited.

6:47 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Henry said...

Since when did men in the olden days have big houses with lots of personal room? Most of the 19th and early 20th century houses in my city have fewer rooms than the late 20th century houses -- on a smaller footprint and with only one bathroom.

The best men's space is the most traditional. They call it "the outdoors."

7:07 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Joshua said...

My son was 3 when he asked me, "Hey Dad, how come you live in the basement?"

The real answer was that there I could work at my desk in peace, without the sound of televison, and could generate the messy papers that accompany my work without annoying anyone. Also that I enoyed time away from my then-wife.

Now, divorced for nearly 10 years, the main impediment to getting married to the woman in my life for the last 8 years is concern she'll want to change everything in the home I've made for my son and me that suits us so well. And I'm not talking "man cave" decor, but a place that receives widespread compliments from men and women alike. But not from prospective Wife #2.

Wonderful lady, but do I want to run the risk expressed by Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady:

"Let a woman in your life and your serenity is through,
she'll redecorate your home, from the cellar to the dome,
and then go on to the enthralling fun of overhauling you..."

7:26 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Dan said...

"Self-reliance isn't a necessity anymore in today's society. That's my point. One of the most basic concepts in economics is that division of labor is limited by the extent of the market. As the market expands, so, too, can (and usually does) the division of labor. Heck, parents not only don't need to know how to provide basic necessities for their children, they don't even have to be there to provide those basic necessities (they can farm out those duties to nannies, daycare workers, and teachers)."

You sound very young...or at least very naive and inexperienced. In any case, I'd bet a dollar you have some nasty surprises coming your way in your lifetime if you continue to hold those views.

7:32 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

Well, it's not that way be design, and it would be fine by me if more women were present (J. Bowen's comment about the outdoors is applicable here), but for now let me recommend our local shooting range as a pretty darn close to male preserve.

7:35 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger betheweb said...

One male place I haven't seen mentioned is the local VFW or American Legion hall. Low ceilings, composition floor, folding chairs, big screen TVs, cold beer, little lace. Women may be there, either by right or invitation. If the former, they don't much care what it looks like, although they would like it cleaner and, sometimes, even take it upon themselves. Those there by the latter course only complain once.

7:56 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

I would give in to make my wife happy, and did so until I finally realized that she was not the least bit interested in giving in to me.

The irony, of course, is that many (probably most) women would rather you not just give them their way. Dating is so exciting because there's still the excitement of the chase.

7:59 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Mike said...

Average Joe said...
Why have men let this happen?

The simple answer is sex. Men who do as their wives want them to do generally get more sex than men who don't.

It turns out that women who actually respect their husbands will have sex with them often enough. Women who don't respect their husbands will use it as a weapon.

I've been reading this blog- and several like it- since well before I was married. It helped me set the tone of our relationship early and correctly- there was only one time I clearly remember that she spoke to me in a degrading fashion- and I told her immediately and quite clearly that wasn't acceptable. Once or twice she's had to set me straight in a similar fashion.

The end result? She respects me, I cherish her, and we treat each other well. It takes serious effort to be the kind of husband and father I need to be, and she tries to be the kind of wife and mother she needs to be.

Of course, all this is predicated on acting like adults who address problems head-on and immediately.

Really, men, your wives* would be happier if they respected you, but you have to be worthy of respect, and then you have to require it.

The man's role is to lead his family, and everyone suffers if he doesn't take up this mantle. It's the nature of things, and it transcends feminist bullsh*t to the contrary.

Unfortunately this concept is either learned too late or is completely alien to many folks these days. I count myself fortunate that you folks helped me learn it in time.

*You do have to find a decent woman first, even if she's been taught some things that aren't quite true. Stay away from the degenerates.

8:02 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger caplight said...

I'm fortunate in that I have a group of men who meet for breakfast (bagels)in the back room of our barber's shop five days a week. We do special holiday lunches (corned beef and cabbage on St Patty's Day)and occasional game when someone goes hunting (last week was pheasant). We bitch about the government, talk guns, our businesses, sports and family only if someone is in a crisis. Wouldn't trade it for anything.

8:12 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger R.C. said...

I had a space which was man space.

It was the basement.

Then it ceased to be man space because we started having children (this of course was a good thing, and we share equal responsibility!).

Prior to the children, our house was big enough for the two of us, plus two upstairs bedrooms left over for her to use for (room 1) her craft projects and storing dresses and the like and (room 2) a guest bedroom, the closet of which was used for storing not-often-needed items like wrapping paper and some of our books.

I had the basement for music gear and computer gear and anything that was my stuff.

Then the children came along. Now the two upstairs bedrooms are occupied by the kids' stuff, and my wife's stuff -- plus a thousand or so kids' books and toys and outgrown clothes -- occupy every corner of the basement. I step over stuff just to get to my computer.

Who's to blame for that? Not her; my basement room was bigger than her upstairs space, and she lost it to the kids.

I can't afford a house with enough rooms to have one to dedicate to my own purposes.

I could work my butt off and manage to afford it, I suppose, but then I'd never be home and she'd have no help with the kids, and whenever I got home she'd be snarling at them and unhappy-seeming. So I work less, we stay in the same house...but at least I see my kids and can sometimes get my wife to smile as if her life is fun.

It's not ideal, but it's a season of life.

But perhaps I'll put my foot down one day and insist that the children's belongings be stripped down to a quarter their current count. It would leave them a reasonable number of belongings, frankly -- more than I had at their age -- and I'd have space back.

8:26 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Scott said...

We have an L-shaped bonus room over the garage that serves as both man space (one leg of the L is my "data center"), and woman space (the other is her sewing studio). Works very well for us, but then, we quite enjoy being around each other. And when she sees me in "deep hack mode" on a project, she lets me be.

And what Mike said.

8:27 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Mick said...

I am fortunate enough to live in the country, and also to be self-employed. So I custom built a 30x40 pole-barn office, with half finished. It is carpeted, has a custom-built desk area with full-size refrigerator, bathroom, microwave, kitchen sink, cabinets with dishes, and a closet with shelves. Full central heat and AC, and UPS and generator backup (I have a bunch of client computers running here.)

I end up spending most of my time over here. Part work, part play. I meet my wife over in the house at various times of the day, and we both love this setup.

8:41 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Adam said...

I was essentially thrown out of my house after being denied by own space in favor of the convenience of my step sons who kept violating my space, my things and tearing up my car. It has not been easy going finding myself all alone again at age 55. My only daughter is grown and lives far away.

The next time I want a wife just like the Instawife - a great woman who understands men, mens issues, the disrespecdt of men and coins terms like "Going Galt". I have "Gone Galt" on women who treat men with disrespect. This post has obviously really hit a nerve. What it is at 116 comments so far?Amazing. Keep up the great work Helen.

9:37 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger dts said...

I do not have a space; we're crammed into 780 sq ft in Manhattan. We plan to move soon. No space then, either.

I do think there are fewer places for men to go. I never went to such places (except for strip bars), so I don't miss them.

However, I also am struck that strip bars rose since the early 80's along with the feminist movement and political correctness. Aren't strip bars a place men can go that women mostly avoid?

If you don't like them, or have moral scruples, get into amateur radio.

9:49 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Chas S. Clifton said...

I was tired of the phrase "man cave" the first time that I heard it. So patronizing.

But I do have a study. On the main floor of the house. With books, computers, guns, and big dogs.

Dr. Helen: it's OK to correct quotes from other sources: "free rein." (A metaphor that makes no sense unless you have been around horses.)

9:57 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger What's up with the name? said...

As a 55 year-old woman, I'm especially curious as to the age range of the men who are craving space, yet not "allowed" to have it. While I can sympathize with their predicament, being someone who requires a lot of elbow room myself, I wonder why they don't take a stand and make known their need for time to themselves. I would think any woman, once this was explained in a reasonable manner, would be willing to accede.

10:21 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger the Egyptian said...

I built an office out of an old bathroom we replaced when we remodeled our old farm house, so I have a Man HOLE, not CAVE, all of 6x12 ft, Oh well at least it's mine, unless the wife wants my computer (her netbook isn't good enough) all built in desk and lateral files done by me.

10:34 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

You sound very young...or at least very naive and inexperienced. In any case, I'd bet a dollar you have some nasty surprises coming your way in your lifetime if you continue to hold those views.

I've made it to 30 and still don't know how to change the oil in my car.

10:42 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Hag Gasgun said...

Why have men let this happen? I don't mean to sound naive or sarcastic. I really wonder why men have turned over their space and rights to women and others without a fight?

May be because of perpetual brainwashing saying everywhere that we are stupid, violant, worthless, useless, obsolete, abusive, idiot, inferior, name it. May be because laws marginalised us.

Do you feel that there are fewer places for men to go?

In somewhere deep in wilderness may be...

10:47 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger Kim said...

No, I don't have a space to call my own. If I need space (e.g. to clean guns), I make some.

Other than that, I'm quite happy to sit with The Mrs and chat, or do my schoolwork, or surf the 'Net in our family room or in our library.

I don't watch much sport (other than the golf majors, the F.A. Cup Final or Wimbledon). But if I do, I just take over the TV and change the channel. The Mrs. (and Daughter) have the TV the rest of the year, so it's no big deal to them. And if they get bored with golf, they are at perfect liberty to move to a different room (as am I, when the 24/7 HGTV gets too much).

I outgrew the need for "man space" when I turned 25, and I don't need to hang out with men other than at the range or, when in the UK, at the pub with Mr. Free Market and The Englishman.

11:54 PM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger br549 said...

I have always heard, and then even experienced the situation most men have been told since puberty. A man marries a woman because of who and how she is. We basically hope she never changes. A woman marries a man with the idea she can change him and mold him into what she wants him to be. A sort of perverted version of nurturing, I suppose. And women always change. The change begins shortly after the ring goes 'round the finger. Now being overly sensitized to the effect of that, I have done my marriage, and will do no more.

Everyone needs "personal space" and / or time to themselves.

5:48 AM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger M. Simon said...

I would think any woman, once this was explained in a reasonable manner, would be willing to accede.

This assumes that women "reason". Few do.

As far as women are concerned men are useless unless there is a need for a warrior or an engineer.

Warriors are out of favor (9/11 is history) and engineers have done most of what is required to make women equal to men. How do you like running water? Electricity? The washer/dryer? A Model 1911?

But be careful my dears - sharia is coming and you are silent about Female Genital Mutilation.

7:58 AM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Earth Girl said...

My husband has several spaces, which he welcomes me to visit. Even so, I ask him if he wants company if he doesn't invite me first.

First, he built a temperature-controlled woodworking shop separate from the house. He spends an evening in the shop perhaps once a week, unless he has a big project.

Second, when he was in his early 20s, he bought three acres along a river with two male friends. The building on it is even called the Boys's Club. Canoes, firepit, campground all welcome the boys. I tease him about hanging curtains on the windows of the Boy's Club, but it remains decorated with posters, maps, pictures torn from magazines, etc.

Finally, he had major input into the remodel and design of our main living area. It was easy since we both love to read and it is essentially a library. His desk is in the bay window with views of the pond outside or the fireplace inside.

The key to our relationship is that I want to make him happy and content and he wants to make me happy and content.

8:47 AM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

And I'm not talking "man cave" decor, but a place that receives widespread compliments from men and women alike. But not from prospective Wife #2.

Thats a very big clue right there.

Kick her to the curb.

Online porn doesn't care how you decorate your house.

9:09 AM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

One male place I haven't seen mentioned is the local VFW or American Legion hall. Low ceilings, composition floor, folding chairs, big screen TVs, cold beer, little lace. Women may be there, either by right or invitation. If the former, they don't much care what it looks like, although they would like it cleaner and, sometimes, even take it upon themselves. Those there by the latter course only complain once.

The next 10 or twenty years is going to be an interesting experiment in that we will see if all the female combat vets joining the VFW are going to try and push their preferences and make them the "default" with no options decided by and for men like they do at home and have done to the business world once they entired it in force.

9:13 AM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

Whats up with the name,

It's called "Divorce Court" and the lesser of two evils. Men would rather put up with lots of shit at home than have their life destroyed by a judge enslaving them financially to someone that doesn't live with them.

9:16 AM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

Glittermama,

Because, when all is said and done, if the man brings home the bacon by working his ass off but comes "home" to a house that only reflects HER tastes and desires, they might feel that maybe they deserve a spot in that house THEY PAY FOR that reflects their own tastes.

Because maybe they feel excluded and alienated from something they are busting their ass for and don't feel appreciated for doing so.

Indeed they might feel taken for granted by someone who says they love them, but treats them like their personal ATM with a penis, or more to the point, an economic slave.

It's about respect and too many women are a one way street in that regard. They have become sexist sows enabled by inequality of the law called "divorce court", where alot of women can indulge in their natural tendency to be vicious, destructive, manipulative liars in order to get their way in the divorce, because no one holds them accountable for their evil behavior in court; indeed it is given deference, simply because of theier genitalia.

Do you get it now?

9:33 AM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger MB said...

What's up with the name sez "I would think any woman, once this was explained in a reasonable manner, would be willing to accede."

---------

I can see you've never dated women. Some of them take delight in doing the opposite of what you explain in a reasonable manner, some of them fight about it just for fighting's sake and most of them don't really care what you are explaining in a reasonable manner.

Really.

Because when they are young they have men chasing after them no matter what their personality is like - so lots of them develop rotten personalities.

You probably have the experience of reasonably explaining things to people YOU date (i.e. men), seeing that they DO usually listen to you, and assuming that it's the same for the people heterosexual men date - i.e. women. You can't transfer it that way.

9:34 AM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

Here's an apt analogy:

How much would any man demand his own space and stand up for it, if he knew that if and when his wife got pissed off, she could call up her Big Brother, who would come over, kick him out of his own house, take his ATM card and car keys and once a month would go down to the bank and withdraw 2/3rds of his pay check to give to his little sister and there was nothing he could do about it?

Because thats where we are.

9:42 AM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Mateo G said...

You have to keep firm hand with women. Once see sees you as anything less than the boss, you're not going to be respected. Don't go by what women say, but what they do. Don't take any shit from a woman. Call her on her BS, tease her and never let her dictate anything to you.

This should be taught in school, but never will because of those shrill ugly harpies known as gender feminists.

11:39 AM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...

SGT Ted,

I really think most women and those men who have never been divorced just don't get it. Maybe they never will but if the men don't wake up soon, many of them will go through hell at some later point, and never have any idea they they were part of the problem. Many men are passive at this point, thinking that they won't have any problems. Surely, the law is on their side or their wife will never want to divorce them. But this faulty thinking has destroyed men's ability to do anything about their situation, including being able to psychologically stand up for themselves. Everyone walks all over them and they think they are still in control.

11:43 AM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...

Mateo G,

I get what you are saying but teasing is not constructive. Standing up for yourself and calling a woman out who is abusive or too controlling each and every time it happens seems to work best.

11:47 AM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger kwood said...

The space to be a man is in our own heads, 24x7. As another said, many of us bought into the idea early on that accommodating women and womanly ideals would make us attractive.

Yes, in our heart of hearts, we thought it was going to get us laid. We need to put this ghost to rest and simply be ourselves, everywhere and all the time, come what may.

None of this is anyone's fault, btw, it's just the way it is. It is perfectly natural for men and women alike to seek advantage wherever we think we can get away with it.

Just pick up and move on. Bitterness and recrimination is for sissies!

12:06 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Milwaukee said...

I have seen The Taming of the Shrew. At the end, Kate's brother and father tried to get tough with their wives, and their wives said 'don't even think about it.' Once things are too far out of whack, there's not going back if the woman is unwilling, and why should she? This is like an employer allowing inappropriate behavior for too long from a poor employee. Should the time come to fire said employee, they can say, 'you allowed this for years, why is it all of a sudden forbidden?'

12:11 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger dunkelzahn4prez said...

Testing.

12:16 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger dunkelzahn4prez said...

Helen said...
Mateo G,

I get what you are saying but teasing is not constructive. Standing up for yourself and calling a woman out who is abusive or too controlling each and every time it happens seems to work best.

11:47 AM, February 08, 2011


I'm a longtime lurker, but just had to get in on the comments, which are always very interesting.

My question about the above is what does that actually involve? How does a man go about calling out behavior from a woman that is, at best, unacceptable? And what does one do when the woman's response is to escalate?

Dr. Helen, your blog is great. I know I don't get any brownie points or anything, but it's a daily must-read for me.

12:24 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Cham said...

Okay, I'll bite. A husband deserves/needs/demands his "space". But in our modern times where does the wife get to put her computer? Does the extra bedroom automatically go to the husband, yet the wife should be gainfully employed and pay half the bills? All space in the residence is communal for the whole family with the exception of the woodshop, workshop, garage, basement, cigar room, office which falls under the purvey of the husband. The submissive and obedient wife gets to balance her laptop on her lap in the rumpus room.

12:26 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...

Hi dunkelzahn4prez,

"My question about the above is what does that actually involve?"

Good question, I actually need to do a blog post about this at some point. If your significant other says something that bothers you, the first time, not the 20th, say "That tone of voice/behavior etc. is not acceptable to me. Please don't do that." If she does it again, say, "I told you that I do not appreciate when you tell me what to do etc. Don't do that again." The third time, tell her you will need some time to evaluate whether or not this relationship will work for you as you will not be treated this way and leave. If she apologizes and doesn't do it again or makes serious attempts to stop, she might be okay. Do not allow yourself to be a doormat. Remember, a girlfriend who does not listen and attempt to change her behavior will not compromise when you are married.

12:35 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Mike said...

Cham,
Now you’re getting the idea! More seriously, though, the need for a ‘Man Cave’ seems to stem from a lack of respect in the relationship, and a man not feeling like he’s the King of his castle. If the man feels marginalized, not respected, and his wife rules the roost, then a ‘Man cave’ becomes necessary. In this scenario, the wife rules the rest of the house, so ‘her space’ is everything else- romper room and all.

The ‘Man cave’ is a desperate attempt to claim ownership and rule over one part of the house, when the man has ‘lost’ all others. The funny part is this can only occur with the permission of the wife, as many men here attest to- having lost ‘man caves’ to constant encroachment from their harpy wife.

When a husband is respected and takes his leadership role in the house, there is no ‘man cave’, just maybe some places where he keeps the stuff he likes to work on. When the husband is not respected, it’s a necessary refuge and gets the degradingly Neolithic term ‘Man-cave’, as an attempt to establish some primal dominance over something.

I don’t have a man cave. I don’t need a refuge from the house I own and the family I lead. I do keep the computer & joint hobby tables in the basement, but that’s a matter of space utilization and getting away from the TV.

12:51 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger dunkelzahn4prez said...

Thanks, Dr. Helen. That would make a great and very helpful blog post. Might I suggest also addressing what to do about it if you're already married and ending the relationship is far less simple?

I think a lot of men have simply not been equipped to stand up for themselves. It's just not something their parents (especially their fathers) taught them or modeled for them. They certainly aren't going to learn it from popular culture, labels and caricatures men who actually do stand up for themselves as chauvanistic pigs or domineering abusive jerks.

1:05 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger dunkelzahn4prez said...

popular culture, which

1:08 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger kwood said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:38 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger kwood said...

And what does one do when the woman's response is to escalate?

Escalate more!

;)

One important thing, perhaps, is to get yourself comfortable with the idea of 'losing it all' if a divorce ensues. Get used to that, and the reality, if it ever comes, will probably be nowhere near as bad.

Trying to placate someone because you're afraid of losing something (you think) they have control over is no way to live. Accept now that you'll live in a tent if you have to and will be happy.

The way of the samurai is death. If you're truly not afraid of dying, few things can hurt or frighten you.

From this space, you can approach things with grace and good humor that would have horrified or riled you before.

And it's not about becoming a tough guy or a bully, although you may be accused of just that. Moving from your own internal guidance in this way does not always go down well with those who prefer to see you bend with the wind of their fury, or respond in kind with a fury of your own. These people were mistakenly taught to see that sort of attachment as Love.

It is not.

1:49 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger dunkelzahn4prez said...

kwood,

that's a bit grim at first glance, but it's a good point about losing one's fear of the worst case scenario. The thoughts in your last paragraph are insightful. When someone comes out of that environment, they tend to either act as they were taught, or to accept being on the receiving end of that kind of thing.

3:12 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

"Escalate more!"

---

No, because the end result of that is going to be a cop slamming your head against the floor while he cuffs you.

3:13 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger dunkelzahn4prez said...

JG said...
"Escalate more!"

---

No, because the end result of that is going to be a cop slamming your head against the floor while he cuffs you.

3:13 PM, February 08, 2011

I'm pretty sure that comment was tongue-in-cheek, but it doesn't change the fact that you're right!

3:15 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Milwaukee said...

So this farmer on the high plains arranged for a mail-order bride, and he picked her up at the station with a wagon hitched to two mules. The mule on the right skittered when entering the creek, and he popped the whip behind it's ear and said "First warning." That mule fussed again on the sharp corner, and heard the whip again with "Second warning." At the bottom of the gully the mule again stumbled on some rocks, and was rewarded with a whip pop and "Third warning." Finally, just at they made the last turn into the farmstead, the mule shied at an imaginary snake. The farmer stopped the wagon, took out his shotgun, and killed the mule. The new wife started to protest. He pointed his finger at her and said, "First warning."

3:55 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Michael K said...

....and my step-daughter told me the other day, that my dog would be easier to control if he was neutered (had his balls cut off...)

i will have to warn her boyfriend.


I broke out laughing and can't stop chuckling. Male dogs are not safe near any adult woman. My basset has his balls intact and they are always a spectacular sight on male basset hounds.

7:11 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Michael K said...

A comment on not letting the first example of disrespect without a comment.

A lot of men, like me, are very busy with life's work when these moments come up. I was a college student thinking seriously about pre-med when I got married. A year later, I had been unexpectedly accepted to medical school and was taking 28 units that semester to get all the requirements completed. It was hectic for the next 16 years. We had three kids. I worked after class in medical school so she could stop work to have our first child. We had a nice home, she had a maid and I was going flat out 12 to 16 hours a day. That was 1961 to 1978.

What was I supposed to do ? Anyway, the problem is way in the past and we even talked about it after we were divorced. Some men can't stop to deal with relationship issues like this. Non-working women have all the time in the world to argue. I married two of them.

7:22 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Tether said...

The two ex-wives were simply using you for money and status, Michael K.

If you want to do everything for a career, the stupidest thing you can do is marry a woman who is thinking money, and who otherwise is going to make your life a miserable hell. And I thought surgeons were supposed to be smart. Huh.

If you want a heavy-duty career, pay for the housekeeping and sex. Re sex: no, not a prostitute, "arrangements" can easily be found.

I actually understand women who fleece men like you; it's men like you I don't understand.

I have run across women who have never worked a day in their lives who are filthy rich, and I have run across men who have built big businesses, or who were partners in law firms, who turn out to be relatively poor. After the respective women are done with them.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. But people like you sometimes think it is something to brag about. It's not.

7:36 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Glittermama said...

Glittermama,

Because, when all is said and done, if the man brings home the bacon by working his ass off but comes "home" to a house that only reflects HER tastes and desires, they might feel that maybe they deserve a spot in that house THEY PAY FOR that reflects their own tastes.


There are a lot of assumptions packed in this paragraph. Let's talk about them.

Firstly, you assume that the man is the only one who works for the home they live in. If this is the case, why is the woman not working? What does she do with her time? And why is he in a relationship with a freeloader? Most of the couples I know are not in this situation. Either both of them work, or one of them works and one of them provides childcare. In both of these cases, the partners are performing equal roles, and have equal say in what the house looks like.

Then, you assume that he didn't have a say in the decor. That's unlikely, but if it's true and he really deeply cared to the point where he's feeling wounded and alienated by it, the couple has a communication problem. He probably should have participated in the decor-choosing process when it was going on. I'm sure she didn't do it overnight, behind his back. If she did, they need to see a marriage counselor and work that out.

Because maybe they feel excluded and alienated from something they are busting their ass for and don't feel appreciated for doing so.

Why would one feel alienated or excluded just because they don't have more than everyone else in the house? A family is about sharing. If he didn't want a family, he should probably have stayed single. If his wife does not have a room of her own, I don't understand why he should feel alienated and excluded and unappreciated just because he don't get more than she does.

Indeed they might feel taken for granted by someone who says they love them, but treats them like their personal ATM with a penis, or more to the point, an economic slave.

If he feels this way, his relationship has deeper problems than whether he gets the bulk of the house to himself or whether he has to share it with his family.

It's about respect and too many women are a one way street in that regard. They have become sexist sows enabled by inequality of the law called "divorce court", where alot of women can indulge in their natural tendency to be vicious, destructive, manipulative liars in order to get their way in the divorce, because no one holds them accountable for their evil behavior in court; indeed it is given deference, simply because of theier genitalia.

And too many men have been sexist douchebags for a very long time as well, insisting on being a master rather than a partner, and then crying about it and stamping their feet when she doesn't bow and acquiesce to his every whim. And they feel they deserve this supremacy and domination over their partner... you got it. Simply because of their genitalia.

Of course, you and I aren't like this. We are reasonable people, who believe in equality in relationships. So I don't understand the point of talking about those others, who we would never be in relationships with. Nor do I understand the discussion of divorce in a conversation about whether a man should have more rooms in the house to himself than any other member of his family.

Do you get it now?

Your post seems to indicate that you feel unappreciated and poorly done by, and that some women are bad people. I don't think this addresses the question of why a man should have more rooms purely to himself than his partner does.

So I get what you posted, but you either didn't get what I posted, or you deliberately avoided answering it. I'll leave it to you to decide which one of those things happened.

9:43 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Tether said...

"Most of the couples I know are not in this situation."

----

Actually, I heard the same kind of thing from a woman who also claimed to live in a trailer park in Tallahassee, Florida. She said that no one she knew was paying alimony.

And I truly believed her.

9:52 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Tether said...

"Either both of them work, or one of them works and one of them provides childcare. In both of these cases, the partners are performing equal roles, and have equal say in what the house looks like."

------

Yeah, well, maybe. Except if it's the man who is working and not being able to play with his kids, it's "normal". If he won the lotto, believe me, he'd be doing the other "equal" role of staying at home.

But the problem is that you can't argue with a woman who has firmly parked her butt on the sofa. Oprah sure does get good ratings.

The ONLY thing you can do as a man is not allow her to get out the blowtorch and weld that butt to the sofa. You have to leave her if she does it.

Most men are truly wimps and get what they deserve. No Mr. Chivalry-Big-Wheel, I don't respect you.

9:55 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Glittermama said...

Tether, I don't understand your first comment about the woman in the trailer park. Could you clarify? I think you might be trying to say that I'm dishonest, but I'm not quite sure.

As for the rest, I know a handful of couples where the man is the caregiver and the woman is the breadwinner. And I know couples where the woman stays home and the man works. It's a brave new world, and sometimes couples work things out in ways that the traditional roles don't encompass.

I don't understand your comment about welding butts to sofas. Do you know no men who lay on the sofa all evening and watch TV while their wife makes them dinner and does the dishes? I'm very surprised if that's the case. And if you do know a couple like that, why do you mention a woman watching Oprah, but not a man watching football? Is one inherently less lazy than the other? Or do you believe that men don't watch television?

10:11 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Tether said...

"Tether, I don't understand your first comment about the woman in the trailer park."

---

No. It doesn't mean you're dishonest. It means that you are viewing life from your station in life.

There was a famous comment from a left-wing woman about how she couldn't believe that Richard Nixon was reelected - because NOBODY she knew voted for him. It's self-selecting. She was telling the truth.

As for the rest, I can only tell men that if they don't want that arrangement, don't stay in it (or better: don't get into it in the first place).

If everything is hunky dory, including the post-divorce payments for a sit-at-home, like alimony and a generous property settlement that she didn't earn, who am I to interfere. I just want to warn men to think about it. Got a problem with that, Glittermama?

10:15 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Tether said...

"... why do you mention a woman watching Oprah, but not a man watching football?"

---

Because the first one sounds like a sit-at-home, every day, while the latter sounds like he wants some peace and quiet for one day in the week (Sunday).

But you are going to pick-pick-pick at anything I say, deny any understanding of what I am trying to get across and otherwise require a full and complete explanation of what others probably recognize at sight.

Good luck, because I'm not going to explain jack shit to you any more.

10:17 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger Glittermama said...

Got a problem with that, Glittermama?

Why do you think I do? You were the one who engaged me in discussion, Tether. That seems to indicate that it's you who has problems with what I say. I'm responding to you, but I don't have to if you're feeling attacked or threatened by it.

*looks down*

Oh, you do. All right, then, I'll help you out. Just don't respond to me. I'm going to want to have a discussion if you do, and it looks like that's upsetting to you. Let's just go our separate ways. :)

10:23 PM, February 08, 2011  
Blogger br549 said...

I know a few women who play just like you, Glittermama. You have an interesting and humorous way of manipulating.

Long and short, the best weay to keep a woman on her best behavior, that I have found, is never go near the "m" word. If she walks, she walks.

6:02 AM, February 09, 2011  
Blogger Topher said...

Several themes have emerged from this thread.

1. It underlies many of these stories that the wife has "the run of the house" in use and decoration, and that the man has to actively cordon off a space where he can put his personal touch.

2. The term "male space" refers to the psychological as much as the physical - we are dealing with Einstein-esque "space-time."
With the decline of male fraternities, churches playing hard to the women in the pews, the expansion of anonymous white-collar bureaucratic jobs at the expense of blue-collar ones, and society's continuing emasculation of fatherhood, it is not assumed that men can and should have some time to be themselves absent responsibilities to others.

3. I am told that generally speaking dads spend more time with kids these days than in previous generations (the fact is that moms do too). That is without a doubt another factor in men being unable to find their own space and subordinating their identity to the wife or family. Dads go to work, they come home and tend to the kids, there's not a lot of time left over to do your own thing.

I am guessing the "space" issue is magnified in "traditional" stay-at-home-wife arrangements where the missus has lots of time to (a) nest the house and (b) ruminate on how bored and underappreciated she is.

4. It blows my mind but is also familiar to me how guys have their stuff rearranged or thrown out by their wives. It blows my mind how inconsiderate some people are about other people's things and how arrogant they are to think they know better what should be done with it.

12:50 PM, February 09, 2011  
Blogger Cham said...

Before we all jump to some crazy conclusions, Dr. Helen Fisher does a report called, "The Forgotten Sex: Men" and in it comes to this conclusion from the survey data:

In a committed relationship, men are less likely to say they need personal space (58% vs 77% of women)

From this web page:

http://blog.match.com/2011/02/04/the-forgotten-sex-men/

3:02 PM, February 09, 2011  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

glitter,

While equality in relationships sound nice, there isn't truly any. Otherwise we wouldn't hear about how men are lazy if they don't pick up a "fair share" of household chores, even if the woman is the stay at home and he works 12 hour days.

We certainly don't hear that the woman is lazy if she doesn't come to his office or worksite and vacuum, dust and empty his office trashcan.

And while I am sympathetic to the hard work that is child rearing, especially in those first years, it is the same amount of hard work that a man puts into the start any professional career; super long hours, lots of stress, not alot of time off. I don't know any fathers that don't resent the time spent away from their children but alot of women want to bust his balls because he isn't home to help, taking for granted that he is working and providing the home.

I suspect that when the career minded woman and hubby decide that she is to stay at home, that the resentment is even more so, as she see's that his having a career is now denied to her, despite her having volunteered to her role.

If a man doesn't work and stays at home for his part of the partnership, society looks on him as a freeloader and suspect; not quite a "real man"; the breadwinner. Their own women will think of them so as well, because thats how they have been raised in what a good man is: a provider. Did your dad tell you when you were growing up that he hopes you marry someone with a good job, or did he tell you that he hopes you pick a good man to stay at home and raise the kids?

A woman has no such societal pressure to work outside the home; hers is a world of options. About the only time a woman feels the heat from society is if her kids are fuck-ups, or if she cheats, and not always then.

I notice you ignored my overall point; that due to the abuse of and imposition of blatantly sexist laws that enable defacto female supremacy when it comes to the divorce and childcare, men are second class citizens in their own homes and nation if they happen to be married to a woman.

Maybe gay marriage will finally change that dynamic as that will remove the genitalia disparity from the picture, thus disarming the sexist attitude that enables the arguement that women are helpless girl-children who after some years of marriage are so incompetent that they cannot be expected to support themselves and are thus entitled to access the bank account of someone they don't want to live with.

9:31 AM, February 10, 2011  
Blogger Kim said...

"The space to be a man is in our own heads, 24x7."

Bingo. And questions such as "What are you thinking about?" should be ignored or answered with lies.

11:52 AM, February 10, 2011  
Blogger Goober said...

By the way, do you know how to navigate by compass, let alone by the stars? Can you extract water from mud? Can you kill, skin, gut, and cook a wild animal and determine what plants and fruits are and aren't edible? Can you make soap? Can you make your own clothes? If you can't do any of these things, how have you possibly made it to whatever age you are without being able to?

I can navigate by compass, and triangulate my position anywhere so long as I have a viewpoint where I can see landmarks. I HAVE extracted water from mud, boiled that water in a birch bark vessel to purify it, and http://notboutthing.blogspot.com/2011/01/outdoor-update.htmlcooked so many wild animals and eaten so many wild plants and fruits that it isn’t really even a novelty to me anymore. I have also butchered domestic ani8mals that I’ve raised myself. I have made biodiesel, the byproduct of which is glycerin/lye soap. I have made my own clothing, but choose not to put the effort into doing it regularly. I have rebuilt car engines, replaced transmissions, fixed clutches, and repaired tires on the go when I had no other resources. I can easily catch enough fish, kill enough game, and collect enough greens to feed my family, especially considering that I have a half-acre garden behind my house, and the means and wherewithal to pickle, can, and preserve all of its produce for use in the off-season. I can build a house from the ground up, including running equipment to excavate for it, concrete foundations, framing, finishing, drywall, plumbing and electrical. I can drive almost anything – I have a commercial driver’s license, and certifications in the State of Washington to run pretty much every piece of heavy equipment used in any construction trade. I can finish concrete flatwork.

I do not say all of this to toot my own horn, but to point out that it is possible for a man to be able to do all of these things, and that it is my belief that every man SHOULD be able to do these things. I am reminded of a quote from Heinlein:

A man should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

1:09 PM, February 10, 2011  
Blogger Dandapani said...

Just a minute, let me go ask my wife...

9:28 PM, February 10, 2011  

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