One of my first articles written for Residential Systems, “The Man Cave is Extinct” helped birth my career in writing (well, I like to think of it is a career). It was August of 2012 and the term “man cave” was just introduced to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate dictionary.
Hearing the term today still makes me cringe. Every. Time.
Now before you go on a tangent in the comment section below (as happened in 2012), I am not saying the home theater is dead. I do believe many have grown into multi-purpose rooms, and fewer dedicated theaters are being installed today, but the theater itself still has a pulse. Again, it is the term man cave that causes me to recoil, especially as a sale tactic.
In this world of equal opportunity, a land of seven billion people, why would you exclude half of them? The realm of AV is a male-dominated industry, and my clients are mostly male, but I sell technology as a benefit to the home, not just to the man. Closing off the wife, who often has control of the decision, is something I fail to understand.
According to Wikipedia, the man cave or man-space is “a male sanctuary, such as a specially equipped garage, spare bedroom, media room, den or basement. Is it a metaphor describing a room inside the house where “guys can do as they please” without fear of upsetting any female sensibility about house décor or design.”
I thought that was called a frat house.
John Grey, the author of Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus claims that a man needs his own space. “In Australia, for example, men have their sheds — little rooms apart from the house,” he has said. “And in India men escape to the cave by meditating.” (I bet he can meditate in any room)
In my house, it is the garage. Unless it is 10 degrees, then my husband is out of luck.
I understand the need for personal space, I do. However, as custom integrators, I do not comprehend pigeonholing our demographic by marketing and upholding the idea of a man cave. Can’t we be more creative with the labels? How about the classic theater, entertainment zone, game room, or even den or lair?
Today, I had a radio station pitch me on a “guy-rage” promotion (get it? Like garage — but for the boy? I wonder if their marketing department ever realized they are also saying guy rage, as in mass anger.) One lucky winner could win $100,000 in the ultimate garage and companies are asked to sign on to be part of the promotion.
You will be shocked to find out that I passed.
I don’t sell products, and I don’t sell rooms. My business has gone through a metamorphism, for now we sell a better way of life. If we’ve done our job right, you should not notice that we were there. TVs should fit seamlessly in room, and lights should turn on before dusk (a much easier feat thanks to Crestron’s Pyng). Open your door with a code, not a key! (Hello again Pyng, or Kwikset, which offers a great introduction to this newer tech) I’ll tell you, digging in your purse when it is sub-zero temperatures is not fun! Entering a code to enter into my house is easy and one of my favorite pieces of technology. Audio Video and beyond has left the living room and is oozing into the home, and what a market that opens up!
So, if you are set on selling the man cave, go ahead.
As for me, I will be selling technology for the rest of the house and beyond.
Heather L. Sidorowicz is the president of Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY.