Man caves are the subject of lots of jokes, but man caves fill an essential function. Is this something new? Or is it feeding a deep and primal need?
Modern social science has discovered that men need solitude to reduce stress and recharge their batteries. While women reach-out to “tend and befriend”. Men go inward. Men go to their man caves. Before man caves there were basement workshops, garage workbenches and poorly-lit bars. From a Feng Shui point of view: Men go into a Yin place/state and women go into to a Yang place/state.
Yin and Yang
The ancient Taoists created concepts that explained our universe and ourselves. First came Chi – the breath of life, the animating energy of the universe. Then Chi divided in two and became Yin and Yang. These are complimentary opposites. You cannot have one without the other. Note the small circle within each swish, this represents the existence of the opposite within each. Everything in the universe is made up of different proportions of Yin and Yang. Every human being is made up of both Yin and Yang.
Yang is described as:
- rational and
- stereotypically male
Yin is described as:
- passive (I think reflective is more accurate),
- intuitive and
- stereotypically female.
Men need Yin spaces to balance and restore themselves
Man caves are dark, quiet, reflective and intuitive. A Yin space.
The décor of a man cave, or its equivalent, usually consists of sports memorabilia, college mementos, auto or motorcycle dreams. What you may think of as kitsch or clutter. While this may look stereotypically masculine, these items are selected and placed with their hearts, not rational analysis. The décor is intuitive or Yin.
We restore and balance ourselves by going into the opposite state and environment. (I will leave the reasons for this to the neuroscientists and metaphysicians.)
Why is this important?
There are two reasons while there is a greater need for man caves today:
- In our disposable society, and with more complicated computer-based auto engines, there is less need and ability to do auto repairs, home repairs, make home-crafted items and the opportunities these gave for solitude. Unfortunately many men feel compelled to watch high-testosterone Yang sports (golf being an exception) on big-screen TV’s when in their man caves and miss out reflection and renewal.
- Because decorating usually falls to women the result is the unconscious feminization of our homes and home décor. There is nothing wrong with the feminine in décor, but when there is little to no masculine or Yang elements in a space there is a lack of balance and men especially will feel unconsciously uncomfortable. (Click to Read How to Balance Yin and Yang/Female and Male in your Master Bedroom)
An Ideal Feng Shui Man Cave
- It is in a quiet(er) part of the house
- It is dark or has the ability to be darkened, i.e., light-blocking window treatments
- It has lamps positioned next to his favorite chair and any craft or activity area. Avoid too much darkness, which is not restorative.
- It has a stereo system for listening to music, book shelves for books, magazines and display. A table or desk for creative or manual work. Or whatever will make this a restorative man cave and not just a dark TV room.
- This is where the man in your life expresses himself. This is where logic, good taste and order may be lacking from your point-of-view. But “good taste” and organization is not the purpose of this space. This is his domain for reflection, relaxation and renewal.