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If your answer is no then you are either lonely and live life as a bachelor at which point any space you inhabit is essentially your manspace (mom & dad's basement withstanding) or you need to look down and you will recognize that you are not wearing any pants. Hmm, then who is wearing the pants in your domicile?

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Hey chief, you need to get your satchel in order and decide how to make your next move. Too often I go out with buddies only to watch them wither down to weenie-less nothings when the phone rings or the next text comes in. "I gotta go, man. She sounds mad." What, why? Because you went out for once in a great while with friends instead of staying home and painting her toenails? And that's if my buddies make it out of the house at all. More often I hear, "Sorry, dude she's in a bad mood tonight/this week/this year/since I married her."

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So what other moves do you have? Well, you can always stay at home in your Man Cave. My friends love coming to my man cave and I really enjoy hanging out in my friends caves. I often use the excuse, "Hey, at least I'm not at the bar" and that seems to float me along just fine. Nothing against bars as long as you're single. Bars can be good places to meet women - but I'm married so there's no need. Rather, to me a bar simply acts as a convenient surrogate man cave when another isn't available. Say, after work far away from home or while on vacation with friends. Otherwise to me it's just a noisy, expensive, impersonal, and unappealing place to gather. 


You really need your own manspace. You need a place to reflect your interests and gain much needed solitude or 
camaraderie depending on your mood. A place to get away from screaming kids, nagging wives, to-do lists, and bills. A place to kick back, crack a beer and say to yourself, "Me..... I am the one wearing the pants 'round here!"

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Looking to get your own space? Give us a call today.
- just remember we're a design/build firm not a marriage counseling clinic.
 
 
So, I met with my insurance rep yesterday and apparently..........

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In order to be a 'practicing preacher' of mancavology, I had inadvertently went against my homeowners insurance by installing a cast iron wood stove in my man cave. Unfortunately [according to my insurance man] the combination of an attached "garage" and the fiery goodness of burning oak logs is a NO-NO in Insuranceland. So much to my regret I now be un-installing my lovely keeper of the flame.


But, the good news is you shouldn't be deterred from putting a fireplace or woodstove in your own man cave just so long as you adhere to any of a few basic rules:

1. Your mancave + fire box combination isn't a "garage"
Your mancave should be a "living space" that doesn't incorporate automotive sized  doors, piles of sawdust, piles of oily rags, or lingering fumes from various volatile chemicals 
2.  Your mancave is "detached"
Your home is your greatest investment - it is also where your wife and family sleep. If you want fire in your cave, try spacing it away from your home a good distance... say 100 feet.
3. Your mancave has a full-blown fire suppression system
Water is the mortal enemy of fire. Having a 1000 gallon passive action sprinkler system hanging above assures you that your fire won't get too cocky if it decides to jump out of it's cage.
4. Your mancave is a bunker
Build your mancave out of solid reinforced concrete complete with automatic closing fire rated doors. As a bonus; You also have a bomb shelter incase of a coming invasion.

Of course these are just a few generic 'rules of thumb' for creating a wood heated mancave and you should first check with your local code officials and your trusty insurance advisor before setting up shop and lighting any matches.


In other news...
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Recently, Dreamcatcher was contacted by Blaklader Workwear to test and review a pair of their uber-cool knickers designed specifically for trade professionals. While there is no doubt that Blaklader makes some of the toughest pants around we at Dreamcatcher Design+Build have very specific demands regarding our personal appearance on and off the job site. Insomuch, you will never see a Dreamcatcher associate show up at your home sporting cut-off jean shorts or a do-it-yerself sleeveless t-shirt. Rather, for awhile now I have been prone to wearing Carhartt B-151 work khakis and am quite pleased with their durability and good looks. 

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So, stay tuned for a head to head comparative review that pits my defending work pants (the Carhartts) against the new work dungaree contender from across the pond (Blaklader Workwear) in an all out death match to see who will reign as the next World Champ of the Work Trousers. 

Let's get ready to ruuuuuuuumble!
 
 
Pier 1 Imports (the Harbor Freight of home decorating) just released a series of new commercials which tend to prove two things:

1.)  Converting your garage into a Man Cave is waaaaaay cooler than hanging some lights on a tree in the back yard and calling it "Wonderland".

and 

2.) Women are freaking nuts! 

While I didn't previously know that women look to inanimate objects like talking yard ornaments and latino pepper shakers for their self confidence boosts, after watching theses commercials I think it explains a lot. While some may argue that men receive messages from objects like cars and tools, at least those messages are predictable depending on the object. A car says "fix me, wash me, and drive me fast" and a chainsaw says "lets chop some trees up". But who knows what a talking frog statue could say next? And putting your life decisions in the hands of a pair of Mexican salt & pepper shakers is just plain scary.

So, the next time your lady friend comes at you with a new plan it may just pay off to ask her who (or what) gave her such an idea.

Hint: Never trust the knife block.
 
 
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My darling wife finally read one of my blog posts here (thanks dear) only to comment over at the Dreamcatcher Facebook page that I forgot to include a coffee maker in the Man Cave bathroom blog post. Ah, she knows me so well.
 
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For the longest time it has been my dream to have fresh brewed coffee ready for me in the bathroom when I wake up. Why should I have to travel all the way to the kitchen to begin my morning only to have to go through the process of grinding beans, separating filters, and filling the coffee reservoir then waiting for what seems like an hour before I am finally able to stagger back to the bathroom to conduct my daily business meeting. 
 

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If only I had a Miele CVA-4066 Automatic Coffee Machine ($3000) that is built right into the bathroom wall and plumbed with fresh flowing tap water so you never have to hassle with filling up a water reservoir again. It also has a coffee bean bin and a built in bean grinder that automatically grinds a digitally measured portion of beans each day to ensure you get that robust fresh ground coffee taste. For those wussies out there who feel the need to taint the purity of that black morning potion with cow juice, it even has a refillable milk tank and a frothed milk dispenser. Additionally, it even has a hot water dispenser in case you'd rather have tea than coffee...but really who would?

 
 
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Ironically, I decided this while using the bathroom this morning. But it's true. While you can surely have a man space with a bathroom in it you cannot take over the family bathroom and call it your Man Cave.  For one, the  there's no beer or whiskey in there - or at least there really shouldn't be. Secondly, it would make for a horrible space to hang out with your manly buddies; especially if one of those buddies decides he's "got to go".  So, while the bathroom is indeed an important sanctuary for a man to get some reading in,  perform manly grooming rituals, soak his sore muscles, and of course 'do some business on the throne', it simply cannot be considered a Man Cave.

However, while we are on the subject of the bathroom, let's look at what can be done to make the bathroom a little more appropriate for manly seclusion. 

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I think it's more than obvious that every bathroom - manly or not - must have a toilet. But the question I ponder is "must thou throne be thy common white porcelain?" The answer is of course no. Take for instance the Herbeau Dagobert solid ash throne. Constructed of solid ash with any of twelve hand painted designs on the porcelain basin, the Dagobert sports such manly features as built in arm rests, a wrought iron candle holder, and even an integrated ash tray. Pulling the chain not only flushes the toilet but also rings a bell to alert others that you just KO'd another one. Even more interesting is that when the lid is raised  the toilet plays the tune "Le Bon Roi Dagobert" (The Good King Dagobert) which is a song about a French king who arrived at the minsters council with his trousers on back to front. The plaque adorning the backrest keeps the lyrics at the ready so you can sing along. MSRP $14,000.


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Let's not be coy here... sitting on the toilet is a great time to fit in some quality reading time. I personally think that National Geographic Magazine owes its long sustained existence to toilet reading. Whichever publication you dedicate to be 'red flagged' doesn't only act to enhance your everyday bathroom activity but also says a lot about you to your guests as they peruse your stacks during their stay. While the old standbys included the daily newspaper, Field and Stream,  Popular Mechanics, or Playboy the new standard is sure to be the Apple iPad2 ($500). 
Yes, gone is the day of thumbing through the yellowed pages of moisture decayed novella and enter the future of bathroom tech where we can access the internet to read online subscriptions to an endless number of ebooks and online periodicals. As if that isn't enough, the ipad can be loaded with games and apps or even used to jot down notes.... such as what to write your next blog post.

 

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Personally I am a rather strict shower guy but sometimes, after a long hard day of humping lumber and pounding nails, I might just treat my aching bones to a soak in the tub. As dainty of a task as this may seem, it could be greatly enhanced in a manly way were my recognitive soak was taking place in the carved innards of a 2-1/2 ton granite boulder. Enter the Stone Forest "Natural" Bathtub ($14,500). Each solid stone tub is hand carved using hammer, chisel, and brute force. This gives it the raw natural character of the earthy depths  from which it was spewed and leaves the imprint of the stonecutter's soul on it's worthy patron soakers.

 

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No matter how manly you think you are - how rustic and burly - every man needs his own grooming kit. No more borrowing tweezers and clippers from you wife; it's just not worth attempting to rummage through her menagerie of clipping devices and plucking implements. Go and get your own. A good quality, all stainless steel grooming kit is a good start and most contain the basics such as;  1) A pair of small scissors that can be surgically inserted in the ear or nose to strategically dispatch that pesky tickling nose hair. 2)  A pair of finely tipped needle-nose tweezers for digging into the skin to pull that festering splinter or metal shard. 3) Large, high strength nail clippers for clipping back those pointy talons before they are hewn down in some more grisly and tortuous fashion on the job site (been there, done that... ouch!).  4) A razor sharp v-tip cuticle trimmer to carve those dry, chapped cuticles back before they split and bleed all over your freshly planed oak slab. Not that that isn't a great way to color wood but it might not be the look you were after.  5) Finally, you need some sort of secure containment vessel that will keep "her" from borrowing your manly grooming instruments. A well stashed leather pouch or secret shaving can safe are usually good bets for that. 
 

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By now you're probably saying to yourself, "Okay, you're right I need to get my own set of grooming tools but there's no way my wife is going to let me put that throne in the family bathroom!" Well, maybe you just need your own bathroom. That's what this blog is about; getting your own man space. If your significant other isn't keen on the idea of having a boulder for a bathtub but you know it's for you then maybe it's time to give Dreamcatcher Design+Build a call. Fortunately for you, we don't just specialize in Man Spaces but also bathroom remodeling and home additions. With just one call to us, you will begin to understand the feasibility of adding or adapting a bathroom to your abode so that you may finally have a real Master Bathroom fit for a king. 

 
 

The Phonetic Military Alphabet that is.

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We've all heard it before, often in old war movies (you are watching old war movies, right? It's in the Dreamcatcher Pyramid of Greatness). Anyway, they'll call over the walkie-talkie, "This is Charlie Company in drop zone Zulu do you read" or something like that. But what does it mean? Well, anybody familiar with the Phonetic Military Alphabet could tell you that company "C" which was probably preceded by companies "A" and "B" just landed in the area designated as location "Z". The letters are just read out as words which are specifically designed to be easier to recognize, even in the ear-splitting chaos of war. This is because many letters in the english alphabet are just too easy to confuse with each other - especially those ending in the common "ee" sound such as B, C, D, E, G, P, T, V, and Z. Numbers on the other hand are mostly unique in their sounds with the exception of nine; which could be confused with five and so is called out as "niner".


Now you might say, "I ain't in the military, why should I know this crap?" Well, in this day and age of call order products, cell phones, and indian call centers you can easily find yourself talking over an unreliable cell phone network to someone who doesn't speak english so well. In such conversations, it is helpful to be able to spell out what you mean in a method other than just common alphabetical terms. 

So, instead of spelling out your home town as Dee-Eee-Tee-Arr-Ohh-Aye-Tee and hoping that Gupta on the other end doesn't mark you down as living in BDEROKD ( which is possibly his hometown) you can pheonetically spell it out to him as DELTA-ECHO-TANGO-ROMEO-OSCAR-INDIA-TANGO and be confident that your order for that Mother Fuckin' Wallet will be sent to the correct address.

If you like this and other blog posts in The Man Cave and you don't want to miss any posts in the future, be sure to try using the RSS feed - or as you'd say in the military, the "Romeo-Sierra-Sierra Feed".
 
 

Answer:  Yes. 

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Five out of five cowboys agree - Whiskey!
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Have you ever watched an old western movie and seen the lead outlaw or cowpoke walk into a saloon and order a vodka tonic? I didn't think so, and there's a good reason for that. Whiskey is the drink of men. You can drink whiskey warm or cold. And after a long day on the open trail, whiskey cuts the dust and clears your throat. Some consider Whiskey to be the middle ground of liquors and a great spirit for camaraderie.  While some top shelf aficionados may prefer expensive cognacs or tequilas and well drinkers may order a cheap vodka or rum, it is in the middle that they should all be able to meet up for a glass of whiskey - it's the ultimate unifier and the second most drank liquor worldwide. 


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Whiskey is produced from mashed grains that are aged in wooden barrels. It comes in many forms that are usually designated according to where they were made and how. Here in the good ol' US of A, we just call our American Whiskey "whiskey" - redundant, I know. However the term does have some underlying information attached that categorizes  American Whiskey as being any whiskey produced anywhere in the United States except Kentucky. What's so special about Kentucky? Bourbon! Bourbon is the only spirit with a true American pedigree. It was invented in Bourbon County, Kentucky (shocker.) and specifically has a minimum 51% alc. content obtained from using a barley mash distilling process followed by a minimum of 2 years in freshly charred white oak barrels. While whiskeys made elsewhere may have adopted the same process, only those made in Kentucky may be called bourbon. 


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To properly pay our homage to those craftsmen of the spirits, we usually drink our whiskey 'neat' or as we like to call it 'trail ready'. That just means straight without any mixer, ice, or water. While 'neat' is a the more genteel method involving the use of a glass filled one or two fingers high with just whiskey, 'trail ready' can mean sans glass and usually consists of a 'poke' or a 'nip' straight from the bottle. Some may find this method a bit too rugged, but it gets the job done. Sometimes, if we need to relax at the end of a long day, we may drop two fingers of whiskey into a tumbler glass with an ice cube for a 'cooler' on the rocks. But remember that the ice will melt in the warm liquor and change the flavor that the distiller intended.



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Not convinced yet? Well, if you need more purpose just remember that whiskey makes a great make-shift antiseptic. While I am not sure how the medical community feels about this use, I do know that if I'm in the shop ripping through some mangy red oak timbers and one decided to rip me back, I ain't about to go searching through the medicine cabinet for rubbing alcohol as long as a bottle of 51% ABV is sitting right there on the shelf. My personal first aid response is to pour on the booze then wrap the wound with my trusty handkerchief (always in my back pocket). Oh yeah, it's gonna sting but while it's burning away those grimy germs and I'm contemplating my next move at least I can sip a little whiskey to dull the pain. 


So, be prepared - head on down to the nearest purveyor of fine spirits and get yourself a bottle of good whiskey, bourbon, or  even scotch. Hopefully you'll never have to reach for it in an emergency - unless that emergency is unexpectedly having your buddies stop by your manspace to loiter awhile. Then at least you can offer them a fine glass of whiskey. 

Already have a choice whiskey in your manspace?     
Let us know your favorite whiskey in our comment section below!

 
 

...I have a man space. 

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Whoever said "a man's home is his castle" didn't get it quite right. We might unclog the toilet when it overflows, mow the yard when the grass gets high, or even pay the mortgage once a month - But "castle"? That implies we get to do whatever we want in the house, and that's just not true. Anyone who has ever lived with a wife, kids, or live-in girlfriend can tell you that.  In fact, a more accurate adage might be, "A man's home is his castle until his significant other moves in." For it's then that men often lose control. Table saws and tools in the garage get crowded out by bicycles and soccer gear. Motorcycle posters are replaced by Impressionist art prints. Even the beloved leg lamp  may be banished. Before a man knows it, the only space he has left is a bedside table or the top of a dresser - just enough room for the contents of his pockets.


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Lately though, men have started to find freedom by reclaiming previously lost territory. Backyard sheds, spare bedrooms, unfinished attics, corners of the basement, old outbuildings, and brand pole barns  alike have all been taken over with a new found sense of purpose.


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I built my manspace within our 24' x 24' attached garage. Though it still looks very similar to a garage; it has a concrete floor and two large roll-up doors , what it does not have is a car within it.  It is now exclusively a man space; my workshop to be specific. Cast iron machinery, maple work benches, stacks of lumber, chisels and hand planes have replaced the spaces once reserved for the family vehicle, baby strollers, and boxes of christmas decor. The wet tire marks that used to cover the floor are now covered by sawdust. The once cold concrete slab is now warmed by the wood stove and a mingling odor of woodsmoke and whiskey fills the air. While it's certainly no bar room, it dutifully fulfills the purpose of providing a comfortable place to hang out with the fellas while discussing work over a glass of beer. Most importantly it is a space that is designated as mine own where I may do whatever I want, even if all I want is to casually exchange the drudgery of life for the feeling of a plane iron sliding across an oak slab.


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As a man in the market for a man space, you must make some decisions that are difficult. Often the decision made is not so difficult for you to come to terms with as it will be for your wife to come to terms with; some sly negotiation may be in order there. From my stand point, I presented the issue as: "I get the garage and she gets the whole rest of the house*". 
{*Except the bathroom in the morning and the living room on football sundays.} 



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Once you make it through negotiations, the rest is easy. Of course planning, budgeting, organizing, construction, and outfitting the space are all issues that can only be executed on a custom level pertaining to your decided upon space and the intended purpose of that space. It should be noted that Dreamcatcher Design+Build is steeped with knowledge of creating man spaces, it is after all our specialty and the reason for this blog. If you have a space you'd like to reclaim, don't hesitate to contact us so that we may provide you with the ammunition to approach the negotiation phase as well as consultation towards achieving your man space after your space is procured.

 
 
If a man's house truly is his castle then where he sits becomes his throne. But I certainly am not talking about that porcelain throne which adorns the 'morning man sanctuary', rather I'd like to discuss the throne which may occupy your living room, workshop, or other Man Space. In thinking of this, I decided to make a short list of some of my favorite man thrones. Let us know what you have and what you would rather have. Any of these?
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At the  top of my list is the Herman Miller Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman ($4500). To me this is easily the ultimate in retro-style manliness. It falls somewhere between Captain Kirk's seat of command on the bridge of the U.S.S.Enterprise and something you might spy in Don Draper's office. Having sat in one, I can say first hand that this chair was designed around the man's proportions and is extremely comfortable. While it's equally appropriate for a traditional man space library and a contemporary man space sports den but would be best suited in a retro styled Mad Men home office. Made of pressure formed laminated walnut, plush black leather, and cast aluminum base this is the quintessential representation of manliness in the shape of a chair.
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The La-Z-Boy has come a long way since introducing the reclining chair back in 1928, quickly becoming the most famous name in man furniture (maniture?). Today's rocker-recliner is loaded with man inspired features including drink holder, remote control glovebox, built in beverage cooler, vibrate and heat massage and now with the new La-Z-Boy Explorer Lounger ($1400) even a tray table with integrated wireless keyboard to control the television and surf the net via Microsoft WebTV Plus service. Imagine hanging out with your buddies in your man space sports den when an argument commences over "who was the best pass rusher of all time?" then you can simply flip out the pad and google the answer faster than your quibbling pals burp the national anthem. (BTW, the No. 1 pass rusher of all time is Hall of Fame defensive end David "Deacon" Jones)
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For the less lazy boy or otherwise tech savvy man, there's the new Elite iPad Chair ($4000) that offers - you guessed it - a built in iPad tablet holder. Other features include a whisper quiet reclining motor for the foot rest, lumbar support, elbow positioning, a stainless steel cup holder, and a seat cushion normally found in a European sports car. In addition to sitting back and reading, the chair also becomes command central for providing complete home automation through the iPad. Companies such as Crestron and Home Logic now offer downloadable apps that transform the iPad into a beautiful, large home theater touch panel. With the Crestron Mobile Pro G app made specifically for the iPad, your personal fortress can be controlled by simply tapping the screen to select movies, view various security cameras, adjust light levels, room temperature, and volume with supreme ease. (iPad not included)
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Take seven strategically-placed speakers and cover them in Italian leather and you’ve got yourself theBodySound Recliner ($6000). This home theater or music room specific chair places the subwoofers and loudspeakers normally associated with a home theater system inside the chair, under your back, butt and sides thereby addressing “the need for full impact, large scale sound in a smaller space.” The intensity of the deeply vibrating sound waves not only intensifies movies and music but produces “ profound relaxation and deeper states of meditation” according to the company. I’m sure the speakers have something to do with that, but it might also be the Italian leather and the comforting ability to spend $6000 on a chair.


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Every man space should have a bar - it doesn't need to be a formal bar like the one down at the "friday night jamboree and hootenanny", mine own consists of a tray atop a mini fridge and a portable bar box that I take to with me to hang at my less fortunate friend's man spaces. But if you are so inclined to build a real deal bar, you will need to conemplate a place to sit at . Enter the Tahoe Antler Co. Elk Antler Bar Chair ($2400), available with elk antler arm rests and elk hide seat and back - if only it had hoofs for feet it would be complete. This chair is about as manly as it gets, I can only dream of  sitting in it at a traditional red oak bar while enjoying a hand crafted american lager and gnawing on a hearty elk burger! Buck snort.


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I've seen this awesome "Scottish Bar Stool" floating around the internet for awhile but until sitting down to make this list never researched who made it and where it could be purchased. It turns out, nobody knows who made it and it cannot be purchased (sad). But, in the indellible spirit of Dreamcatcher Design+Build, I have decided to build it myself (I dunno, maybe). It would make a great addition to my homemade hokum collection that also includes my Leg Lamp I made this past winter. 


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When someone says "bean bag", images of either a tie dyed faux felt bag full of mini packing peanuts or a sticky pleather floor pillow that's not even fit for the dog easily comes to mind - certainly nothing manly. However the Steel Bean Bag Chair by Rick Ivey ($4500) is nothing like that. Made of riveted stainless steel plates, this one surely would take away the prize of being the “most manly bean bag ever” and is the only bean bag that we could possibly recommend for any man space.