Thursday Night Loaded: Intruders Into The Man Cave

I had long been planning a Thursday Night Loaded about scotch and manly spaces — the idea being that, of all the spirits, whiskeys in general and scotch in particular tend to be the object of male, rather than female, affection. The Expensive Scotch Tasting, for instance, is a rite of passage I’ve been through many times, in many provinces and always with chaps — while any attendees representing the distaff side, when threatened with some peaty bottle of burnination, have recoiled at the suggestion and retreated to the safety of their vino, beer and fizzy vodka beverages.

My plan had been to look through a whiskey-clouded lens at the shifting nature of male space. How it’s moving from the garage and the workshop into the realm of First Person Shooters, online sports forums, genre film discussions and action figure collecting. How entire industries exist solely to supply a range of predominately male obsessions. It begins with Pokemon cards in childhood. And works its way up to single malts in middle age.

It would have been an excellent blog post.

Then along comes the Globe and Mail to declare that whiskey isn’t just for lads anymore. (And, as it happens, Aidan has already taken note of this.)

Now, I concede I’m a tad disappointed that my planned TNL has been derailed by the intrusion of “facts” about the non-exclusivity of whiskey consumption along gender lines. But I’ll get over that. In fact, it got me thinking. I’m willing to bet there are more than a few men out there who feel a little threatened at the idea of womenfolk making whiskey their beverage of choice. That they see this as an annexation of a revered corner of the Man Cave for use by the Ladies’ Cotillion. That in short order Glenmorangie and Talisker will be synonymous with lambs and pink chiffon.

Not me.

I heartily welcome women up to the oaken bar of scotch enthusiasm. It is long overdue. In fact, I can’t see how having large numbers of whiskey-swigging women at one’s elbow can be understood as a bad thing. Bring it on, I say.

Moreover, it would be damn hypocritical of me to feel otherwise. You see, as a S.A.D. (which stands for Stay At home Dad — although I much prefer the term “idler”), I am frequently in the position of being an interloper into female spaces.

I can’t tell you the number of times a mom-and-tots drop-in or library nursery-rhyme program has gone quiet the second I walk in.* Often, I’ll catch the last few seconds of some conversation about clothing or breast feeding and then I’ll round the corner and…. awkwardness.

Now, once I linger long enough** to become an established quantity,*** the stay at home moms I have met have been entirely welcoming. And a huge help and support. I am very glad to know them.

The least I can do is share my whiskey.

* This was way more common during that first year when we lived in Waterloo.
** On more than a few occasions, I’ve been told things like, “Oh, I’ve seen you around. Everybody knows you. You’re stay at home dad guy.”
*** Over the last four years, I’ve noticed a marked increase in the number of SADs I run into. And by that I mean men who’ve quit their jobs to raise their kids and don’t have some guaranteed career safety net to fall back on. (So, no, if you’re just some guy taking your six months pat leave, you don’t count. You pussy.) Have to admit, I’m feeling considerably less the maverick these days.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

11 thoughts on “Thursday Night Loaded: Intruders Into The Man Cave”

  1. Do you participate in any mom ‘n baby aquatics classes? If so, ever been arrested? As for female intrusion into manly pursuits, such as Scotch drinking, try holding the event in a trailer park. I swear to God, trailer parks are the final domain of womanless mancaving. Educated, restless chicks who like to intrude into manly enterprises are often of the socioeconomic backgrounds that LOATHE filth and decay, possible perversion, lower-class lifestyles (unless declared in theme-night irony). Make it real, yo. Invite a bunch of creepy dudes like Randy from My Name is Earl–women will FLEE.

  2. Stay @ Home Dadaism just makes sense these days. In an effort to “right past wrongs,” women have the advantage, at least in terms of public sector, non-profit, media, teaching, and health care employment; you have 29-yr-old women reaching the tops of their pay-scales in the time it took many senior managers 30 years to get there, so earning in the $70K range in their 20s. Women definitely have the momentum. Dudes are just not coveted. It’s not worth not returning to work after a year or less mat leave.

    Plus, for what it’s worth, the experiment in infant-toddler daycare now just seems wrong. It was a 90s thing and that’s fine, but I think this age group of parents 25-40 whatever, are sensitive to the fact daycare for kids under-3 just seems grim and unnatural. Plus, why wouldn’t you want to see your kid grow up? There’s no way I’d choose 45 hours a week very likely not enjoying my job over raising my kid, if I had the choice, despite the possible ennui.

    Anyway, three cheers all ’round, for stay at homes dads, moms, working moms and working dads. Hip Hip Hooray

  3. You know, several of my guy friends have been weepy-drunk at various points in my life and confided to me that they really don’t like beer or other “manly” tipples. They would rather have some fruity confection but are too afraid of their male friends policing their gender! I told them to drink what they want, the people who are too invested in that sort of shit generally don’t enjoy life anyways.

    tl;dr: Stereotypes hurt everyone, drink what you want (or not at all). Also, I’m a well-educated and restless woman and have been to my fair share of trailer parks. You are not safe!

  4. @ Katie

    I have solve that issue years ago. I just drink a little bit of everything so any guys around me are completely used to me drinking beer or strawberry wine or just about any cocktail under the sun.

    Now what to drink tonight: honey mead or scotch?

  5. Garth: Ick. I mean, just, ick.

    Zane: No. The idea that women have a huge advantage because of some kind of guilt-induced reverse sexism is a myth. In my experience, if there are women in a workplace with a leg up on their male counterparts it’s because they’re working harder. And maybe a little smarter too.

    Men continue to have things very good in our society. If anything, a sense of entitlement has made them a little soft. I’ll include myself in that if it makes you feel any better. But I’m not about to blame any failure to earn a massive income on some big injustice.

    As for daycare, the image of it as grim and damaging to children is also a myth — one beloved of social conservatives and Real Women™ ( I have lots of friends and relations who’ve put their children into daycare at very young ages. It has done their children no harm. My daughter is extremely gregarious and I wonder sometimes if she wouldn’t have preferred daycare to hanging out with me all the time. One of the things that makes me think that is she has told me, “Dad. I’d rather be in daycare than hanging out with you.” She’s in school now — public school, also an oft-maligned institution — and very happy.

  6. Katie: Sorry, but you’re not impressing me with these guy friends by telling me they were weepy drunk.

  7. The SLG sells a heinously expensive bottle of Highland Park, 18 year old I believe. It is heinously delicious. I recommend asking Santa for a bottle.

  8. Great post, and great follow-ups, Paul! I’m a weekday idler (I go to work on the weekends, my wife goes to work during the week), which is less rare, but still exotic in my Vancouver neighbourhood.
    I get the occasional, well-meaning “Are you babysitting your little girl today?” but for the most part I’ve been warmly welcomed by the mostly mothers at kid hangouts we haunt. If anything, I find stay-at-home or just-plain involved dads get credit just for showing up, which is, ultimately, demeaning to everyone.

  9. Emmet: I know what you mean. It is amazing how much more credit I get for taking an interest in raising my daughter than all the women I know who’re doing the same thing.

    Although, I’ve often gotten, usually from folk of the Boomer generation, this response: “Oh, you’re a stay at home dad? Good for you.” Which I’ve always read as more than a little condescending.

    Meanwhile, my wife talks about how weird it can be for her on the weekend at the park or museum because it’s mostly dads out with their kids.

    Then, when the three of us go out together, my daughter is all over my wife and wants nothing to do with me. And I imagine sometimes people looking at us thinking, “Look at that guy. Works all week but his wife still has to take care of the kid on the weekend. What a prick.”

  10. When men take care of their own children they are NOT babysitting: they are parenting, and that is a point I have always made when I hear that phrase. That said, note that involved/at-home dads are at the same social stage as working moms were some 30-odd years ago, so be patient and wait for the phenomenon to become so commonplace that no one comments on it anymore.
    See, there’s an advantage to being old: you have perspective. And you no longer give a rat’s appendage WHAT other people think.

Comments are closed.