Man caves. Social spaces where men hang with other men. Classic man caves have lots of seating -- preferably with beverage holders -- big screen TVs, pool or poker tables and easy access to copious amounts of food.
My husband, a huge Bengals fan, wants the whole package -- a fully equipped man cave with doors that open to an outdoor kitchen with an industrial-sized grill, a beer and meat fridge and another TV. I mean, you can't miss a play while flipping burgers. Naturally, this amazing outdoor kitchen would have to be next to a pool. Grilling is hot work.
Before we start shopping for our retirement home/manspace, I have to consider my own needs. Is there some reason his man cave can't be a freestanding structure located on a distant corner of a big property, perhaps with its own driveway? I think not.
These thoughts led me to consider what a woman cave might look like. Out of curiosity, I polled my friends on Facebook. I tagged women of all ages, occupations and geographic locations -- and wasn't surprised to find how similar we all are. Almost universally, women incorporated some very specific things, like comfort, work/creative space, an outside view element, privacy and a place to nap. We all need a nap. Wine was another popular requirement -- lots and lots of wine.
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One of my favorite answers came from high-powered success mentor Kat Loterzo. "What I really want in a woman cave, and what I seek to create, is a place where I can feel totally free to unleash my creativity and reach the world without having to exist in it, in a practical sense.” She gave me a list of things she already has in her space.
A custom designed piece of art that says "Full-time Hustler"
About 4 different Mac computers and laptops
A beautiful couch for thinking, meditating and journaling
A set of hand-painted Babushka (Russian) dolls -- she's collected them since she was young
Something nature-based for energy and beauty
An open bottle of wine and a wine glass
"And a lot of scattered journals and beautiful fountain pens," Loterzo added, "as my craft -- even though it may be mainly online now -- has always been the art of writing from the heart and letting my message out.”
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More woman cave ideas.
Amy Do, social media director at Sparkbrand, said it was a tough question, but her answer sounded very familiar. "I can never escape work so I'd want lots of screens that pull up social media like the stock exchange," she said. "While on the other side of the cave I'd like a zen garden or beautiful view to be my 'think tank.'"
Tracey Pouncey is the general manager of a busy restaurant located in a tourist area. She has two young children -- who also happen to be my brilliant and adorable grand-niece and nephew. “I would build a small, one room outbuilding in my yard," Pouncey said. "It would be pretty, with lots of white and pale colors that I can't have in a house with small children. I would have shelves full of my books that are currently stored in the garage. Bluetooth speaker system for music, oversized chair -- maybe a recliner -- for reading, a comfy daybed covered with down pillows and throws for naps, a mini fridge and a lock on the door. I love being a mother, but I miss books, and naps most of all. Actually, I also miss having nice things that kids don't break or put grimy hands on.”
Industry expert and brand influencer Adel De Meyer from Brand24 gave the girliest, and most fun, answer. “For me and my girlfriends I'd have a jacuzzi, cocktail machine, wine, huge mirror with make-up and hair stuff, comfy lazyboys and big screen with surround sound to watch girly movies." De Meyer calls herself a gamer, so she said she would definitely need her Playstation 4 too. Other things on her list included neon glow-in-the-dark walls, an epic sound system with disco lights, poles for dancing and a "fridge full of ice cream, treats and any other comfort food a girl could want.”
Samantha Harris, who is home on maternity leave in a London suburb with her first baby. has very specific items for her space too. "Definite book nook required," she said. "Very comfy furniture, preferably something that swings. Maybe a hammock? Lots of books. Calming decor with plants and full length windows. A little kitchen for tea and biscuits. A table to do jigsaws and colouring in.”
Erin Schultz, my former editor at Entrepreneur, has a foot in each camp, with the social aspect of a good man cave and the solitary creative pleasure of a woman cave. “My woman cave would be a rustic little beach cottage where I can sit in the sun or shade, write my book, play guitar, hang out with my cat and have plenty of healthy food stocked," Schultz said. "I would also have a nice outdoor workout area and be able to run on the beach. Of course, this woman cave would have to be located next to a friendly local pub where I can also enjoy all the man cave things”
Gail James is retired, and she brought something new to the discussion. “My woman cave would be a soothing space," she said, "have the smell of wonderful things like basil or lavender, have comfy seating, a lot of books, someone to fetch some wine or other libation, soft music to calm me down and take me away, flowers or plants, and a view of the ocean with the sound of waves present.”
Sharon Robinson Diacheysn, an incredible singer at Northland Church and mom of six kids has specific wants for her space. “Leather recliners. A giant flat screen -- 70 inches at least. Surround sound. A Murphy bed style wall that actually houses my tools so no one can touch them. An entrance so that my friends could come and hang anytime, even if I'm not there.” She knows what she wants.
My sister-in-law, Bonnie Smith, is a nurse with the two youngest of her four kids in high school. She would take her woman cave on the road. “It would be mobile, simple, and the inside would include plants, colorful furniture and quilts," she said. "I would like to have a small area to play with make up sometimes. Lots of windows a small TV. Pictures of natural things like trees or sunrises.”
Nell Peterson, a rainbow-haired artist in Sweden, was the only one who eschewed windows in favor of a basement setting -- dark, cool and soundproof. Her space would serve two purposes, she said. "One part would be for gaming and movies... the other part would be crafting."
My 29-year-old sister, Lauren Jones, is a mom of three with a husband who works out of town. In her situation, she doesn't have time for a woman cave, but if she did, " it would be very spacious and organized with tons of windows, preferably looking over the side of a mountain or the ocean." She'd have a full bar, a Starbucks and "a place for me to do all those awesome Pinterest things I never try.”
Dalia Castro Malby, a paraprofessional at an elementary school, wants a relaxed setting big enough to share with friends. A lot of things on her wish list have already been mentioned, but she remembered one important thing others left out -- "a bathroom so you don't have to leave the peacefulness you're enjoying.”
Carina Borders, owner of Diva Designs Jewelry in Key West, rejects the whole concept of a woman cave. “Who needs a cave?" she asks. "Poolside, baby, with some great music and a piña colada, lounging. Throw in a handsome cabana boy -- fantasy complete.”
The perfect solution.
One day soon, I need to sell my house and look for my dream place on the beach. It will have a glorious woman cave with big windows and a view, lots of electronics, art, books, wine and comfy furniture that swings -- or glides, I like gliders. It will have room for my creative pursuits, writing and quilting. It'll also have a bathroom -- that was a great idea. Above all else, it will have a soundproof door with a sturdy lock.
A girl's gotta dream.