The gendering of domestic spaces has persisted since the Victorian age, where women had the boudoir (with a vanity to sit at and weep about the terrible things done to them) and men had the library and study (for “serious work”). Somewhere around the turn of the last century, women successfully claimed the home as their own, turning it into a feminised enclave, and men, requiring a habitat for their manly habits, carved out the “man cave” as the last masculine bastion within the house. As the idea of the unmarried adult male became less of a societal oddity, the existential necessity of man caves expanded to encompass entire living spaces – all those single men needed some place to stay after all – and thus, the bachelor pad was born.
The original 1960s Playboy vision of the bachelor pad served as a stylish emissary for a modern masculine lifestyle liberated of familial responsibilities and work ethics. It was a place where prosperous and hedonistic males could luxuriate in sybaritic leisure, accompanied by à la mode furnishings that were a leitmotif of the post-war consumerist boom in the 1950s and 1960s. These sleek, sovereign kingdoms – articulated by men’s magazines like Playboy and Esquire – finally gave the single man his own private domain, to fit his moods, suit his needs, and reflect his personality.