Louche leather sofas, glass-cased kickboxing belts and a gauche gorilla sculpture. These are just some of the aesthetically offensive trappings of Andrew Tate’s home, raided by Romanian police on human trafficking charges just over a week ago.
Before the kickboxer turned social media misogynist was banned from Instagram last August, he would gloat his Bucharest compound with a walk along tour, displaying a lounge complete with dancing pole encircled by cinema style chairs. The bleakest of patriarchal pied‑à-terres, it called to mind one thing: the bachelor pad.
The bachelor pad first appeared in the pages of Playboy back in the 1950s, when a growing cohort of men – single, career-orientated city slickers – looked to escape the four walls of the marital home.
The bachelor pad sold men a dream, a lifestyle beyond the burden of becoming the family breadwinner. It also played balm to their anxieties of growing gender equity in urbanised US spaces.
At least that’s what you can glean from the magazine’s 1958 defence of the pad. Women had taken over clubs, bars, offices. As Philip Wylie wrote, she “wanted to invade everything masculine, emasculate it, cover it with dimity and occupy it forever”.
So the bachelor sought a room of one’s own. But not in a chic, Virginia Woolf, Bloomsbury Set way. More in a smug, leathery, open-plan kind of way. It’s sleek, it’s swish, it’s got stainless steel and a well-stocked bar, replete with hi-fi gadgetry, otherwise known as “boys toys”.
If you’re thinking the tacky wood-panelling, flat screen TVs and cigar rooms of Andrew Tate’s decor is a one off, consider the 1959 “comedy” Pillow Talk. Its protagonist, played by Rock Hudson, flexes his bachelor pad with a button that locks the door, cuts the lights, and spins a record – all before a girl can say “I really should be going home now”.
There’s also Bond. James Bond. Who can forget his swanky 1973 Live and Let Die pad, where he makes an espresso for M while hiding a naked girl in the closet?
Consider, too, the faux French frivolity of The Great Gatsby’s 18-bedroom mansion, where girls “came and went like moths”. Or the chaotic “male genius” energy of Sherlock Holmes’s 221B Baker Street bolthole, with trinkets strewn across his library-meets-laboratory.
The bachelor’s pad is a byword for male desire, a space devoted to indulgence in a way the single woman’s home is not (Google “is there a woman’s bachelor pad” and you’ll be left disappointed). It looms large over culture, even making an appearance in Shrek. Cue the martini-sipping Lord Farquaad in his mood-lit, plasma TV, bear-rugged bedroom.
But fact is always stranger than fiction. You have the infamous London bachelor pads of Albany, habited once by Lord Byron, Terrance Stamp and, um, Jacob Rees-Mogg. (No women were allowed until 1880, coincidentally the same year it is inside Rees-Mogg’s head).
There’s the 19th century painters’ pad Leighton House, where a butler once instructed visitors upon entry there was only one bedroom – his. (Only a stuffed peacock managed to reach permanent guest status).
And, just before entering the Playboy Mansion in 1960, you would have found a brass plaque obnoxiously emblazoned in Latin: “Si non oscillus, noli tintinare” (“If you don’t swing, don’t ring”).
In a 1956 edition of Playboy, an article took readers around its own fictitious Playboy pad: the Penthouse Apartment. Apexing a skyscraper, with glass to ceiling windows, its bachelor could later tuck himself into a bed that could only be described as a terrifying Swiss Army knife take on bedtime furnishings.
Not that there’s much to fear anymore. Whatever leftover crumbs of clout it had before Andrew Tate, the bachelor pad has been gobbled up by the economy. Nearly a third of 20 – 34-year-olds in the UK are living at home with their parents. As for Tate, it looks like he won’t be lounging on any leather sofas for a while. Anyone fancy a secondhand gorilla statue?