Debating Manland

For Australia’s Father’s day weekend, an Ikea in Sydney unveiled their latest in-store project, “Manland”. Filled with foosball tables, free hot dogs, flat screen televisions that play non-stop sports and video games, Manland is a special room where women can drop off their husbands for the day while they shop. A temporary project that ran from Sept. 1- 4, Life writers Colleen Connolly and Michael Porfirio debate the pros and cons of Manland — should this day care for men be a permanent fixture?


Colleen Connolly/@ColleenRC

We’ve all seen them. They’re right up there with the clueless sales clerk that guides you in the same helpless search you just came from when you need assistance finding something. Or the cell phone yielding, credit card flashing ten-year-old that gets you nostalgic of your wonderfully poor and styleless childhood. Yes, they too are one of the mall’s characters most deserving of your sympathy: the shopping couple.

It’s always the same, she with a purpose in her step flipping through clothes, rack upon rack as he struggles to keep up, not attempting to understand the workings in her head as she pauses from time to time. He can only hope that the pause doesn’t mean another question of his preference which, if answered incorrectly, could result in a very long car ride home. She flings items backwards, he dives to catch them. There’s no time to miss, she’s on a mission.

Does he really want to be there? Department stores are one thing, with their small confined spaces and limited selection. But IKEA is a whole different ball park. A gigantic maze of various items in every color and size — it’s enough to cause a panic. And that’s where Manland comes in.

It’s optional, so those few men who have worked out a good shopping process with their significant others are free to do their thing. But for those couples who fit my earlier description like so many do, Manland offers an escape. Not just for the boyfriend either, but a girl can browse much more effectively without another’s boredom weighing down the excitement of her shopping spree. With everything getting done faster, it works out for both of them. That is, if she can ever get him to leave.


Michael Porfirio/@M_Porfiri0

Don’t get too excited men, because (knowing IKEA) what ever cool things are in this “Manland” room, you’ll probably have to assemble yourself. Coming from a male perspective, I can assure you that a place for women to drop off their men before they shop is very condescending.

Despite how innovative the idea is, IKEA needs to understand that men are not little children. We’re big children. We need far more attention than a child would need. Unless there is a professionally trained supervisor in the Manland, I don’t think a group of men should be left alone in a room together. That situation will quickly turn into a jungle, where the more dominant men prevail. You hold the TV remote, you hold the power. Women will return to pick up their significant other only to find them covered in blood, feasting on the carcass of another man.

Besides, what does this leisure room have that men don’t have at home? A television? Comfortable couches? Food? Something tells me there will be a lot of homeless men in there claiming their wives are out shopping.

Listen women, letting your man off the hook by leaving him in a place with everything he needs to stay quiet (a chair and a TV) is just reinforcing the idea that he has no decision-making place in the relationship. Furniture shopping is a cute cliché that every couple must experience together. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have someone else by your side as you roam the twisted halls of the Swedish building. If you have ever been there, you will know that escaping IKEA is a difficult task, even with arrows on the floor.

I have a friend who went into IKEA a couple weeks ago, and no one has seen him since. Is it even legal to go in there alone? Can someone verify that? Regardless ladies, it wouldn’t hurt to have your man by your side.

I’ll admit this will come in handy if your girlfriend forces you into an urgent IKEA run on Super Bowl Sunday, at least you will have a place to watch the game. Having said that, if your girlfriend is forcing you out on Super Bowl Sunday, it’s probably a good time to rethink the entire relationship to begin with.

Take a step back and really consider the idea as a whole. The only men that will make use of this Manland centre are the ones who refuse to shop. Now why would they be there to begin with if they don’t want to shop? We have free will; we can stay home if we choose to. Surely our role in the relationship isn’t to simply drive the women around.

If we choose to go to IKEA, it is because we want to shop and/or want to keep our girl company (none of which can be achieved from within the Manland).

Sorry IKEA, but I suggest you stick to funky furniture and meatballs.

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