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Why Bachelors Stay Single

Besides football and free for alls, there are many reasons that bachelors stay single.

By Lizzie BoudoirPublished 8 years ago 11 min read

There is a certain amount of concern these days—and much pseudo-sociological gobbledygook—about why, in a society as vociferously dedicated to matrimony as ours, there should be an ever-increasing number of men who remain bachelors. Even bachelors often find themselves wondering why they are still single. Married men, of course, often wonder why they ever got married, but usually they only start wondering when they find out that they can't stand their wives. They don't question the married state itself. But a bachelor can be fairly well satisfied with his own personality, looks, temper, and conversation, and enjoy his own company, and still wonder. In this day and age, being a bachelor just doesn't seem right, and the average one would probably prefer to be married.

But first he has to find the right girl. This is pretty easy to do when a man is young, because any fool can fall in love in his early twenties, and the girl he falls in love with needn't be anything out of the ordinary. When a man is young, the urge to be in love is strong, the sap is high, and his powers of selectivity are still undeveloped. And it only takes a single “Yes, darling, I'd like to” from one of the beloved to get him married off.

There are some men, however, who don't fall in love, and more who keep falling in love with girls who won't—or can't—marry them. They move into their late twenties still single and with their chances of falling in love diminishing with every passing day. For, as one woman I know puts it, “The bells stop ringing after twenty-five.” Or -six. Or -seven. Certainly by thirty. Then, as the blood ceases to boil and declines to a simmer, reason takes over. Instead of rushing headlong into marriage, the bachelor of thirty or more often becomes judicial. He considers the evidence for and against marriage. He weighs and sifts it. And his decision to get married, if and when it comes, is born of long, calm reflection. Which is one reason why late marriages are so much more likely to be successful than early ones.

But some men never do decide to get married. There are many reasons for this. The first and most important is that after a certain age, a man's drive for marriage begins to slacken, as the benefits he can expect decrease in value. The two main benefits a woman can offer a man are:

  1. Sex, on ice, available within reason as and when required.
  2. Companionship.

Consider them.

Via Business Insider

The Nippy Thirties

Sex may seem comparatively unimportant to the husband who has it laid on beside him and is receiving it regularly. But to a bachelor who has to fight for his ration, it can be of crucial importance. However, as a man passes thirty on his headlong rush into middle age, his appetite for sex decreases, and the urgent drive for women tends to give way to an urgent drive for money. It is in the years from eighteen to twenty-six that men bite their wrists at night in agonies of frustration and shudder with desire for the pretty girls in summer dresses they pass in the streets. To a man who has suffered but survived through the bitter frosts of the wifeless twenties, the wifeless thirties are like a crisp, sharp December afternoon—nippy but easy to bear. Besides, he has gained some experience in the area, so he knows how and where to find women that possibly have mutual attractions to him. He still wants his sex, naturally, but the price he's prepared to pay for it has slumped way down. Moreover, he has grown far more skilled at satisfying his needs without benefit of marriage.

Then what about companionship? Doesn't a bachelor grow lonelier as the years pass? No, he doesn't. Like sexual frustration, the loneliness of youth is the hardest to bear. After a few years, a man gets used to being alone. He learns how to make the most of his own company. He organizes his activities and pleasures to fill his vacant evenings, which are, as a matter of fact, likely to be far less vacant than those of his married friends. Single men go out much more often than married ones. They can have just as much company if they want it, the only difference being that the bachelor keeps looking at new faces, while the married man must keep looking steadily at the same one. And besides, what’s better than watching some Sunday football without a girlfriend or wife nagging you about the mess you’re making or how loud you’re being?

Meanwhile, the bachelor is developing all kinds of little habits and indulgences. Not shaving on Sundays, for example; smoking cigars in bed, or playing the saxophone; doing crossword puzzles with his meals. Such habits, which marriage would almost certainly bring to an end, can become very important. Of course, the company of a beloved wife might well more than compensate for these admittedly petty little joys. If she stays beloved. But should the bachelor exchange an absorbing book over dinner for the untested conversational skills of a comparative stranger? It's a risky proposition.

And that's exactly what he does wish. He wants to step straight into the husband's place, complete with two chuckling children and a wife he loves: the wife who is serene and content, an accomplished cook, a skilled housekeeper, a practiced and capable mother. But this is not the bachelor's alternative. His choice lies between his single state and marriage, not to the wife, but to the girl he has brought with him on the visit. So he turns to look at her. He takes a good, hard look and he realizes what a long and tortuous road he must follow to reach the position of the so-much-envied husband.

The Mating Game

The bachelor's common perception of life after bachelorhood goes as follows. First he must take the girl out night after night after night after night after night after night after night... Sometimes he will enjoy those evenings. But more often he will be bored. Then, the courtship over, he will propose. She will accept and take him on a weekend visit to her parents (again) to celebrate (again) which will be agonizing. Then he will take her on a weekend visit to his parents (again) which will be worse. Then will come the wedding itself, which, almost certainly, will be total hell. Then they will find an apartment and settle down, a process which will involve destroying most of his cherished habits. Soon she will become pregnant and need constant ministrations. Then she will give birth to a beautiful baby boy, and for months he will get only a few hours' disturbed sleep a night, ending invariably at six, including Sundays. Meanwhile, the whole apartment will be deluged with diapers and other impedimenta. And every day they will be toiling through the constant crises which beset first-term parents. “I dropped baby on his head this morning, darling!”

“My God, is it broken?”

The bachelor can be aroused from his deep lethargy only by an exceptional girl who will challenge and excite him. Which is usually why bachelors keep a few girls on their recently called list. After only a few minutes with her, he can guess exactly what she will say about the latest bestseller or the income tax or the latest episode of The Bachelorette (which he hasn’t watched but scanned the articles about it cause he heard she likes it). Sometimes he does encounter novelties—a lady district attorney, a lady skin-diver, a lady shot-putter. But the district attorney will be like a congresswoman he once knew; The skin-diver will be like a mountain-climber he met in Colorado; The shot-putter will be like a lion-tamer he ran into in the club car on a train to Sioux City. Does he meet a girl who is beautiful and elegant? He can remember six who were just as beautiful, just as elegant. Does he meet a girl who is witty and smart? He can remember one who used to make him sick with laughter back in 2007. But he didn't marry one of those. Why then, he asks himself, should he marry one of these?

To make things even worse, while the bachelor's standards are going up, the level of what he can get is going down. The choice of wives open to the over-thirty bachelor gets smaller every week.

This warning was offered me by an English friend. He had known an English girl of twenty-two, he told me, who became engaged to a man twelve years older. Her brother had been outraged.

“What did he say?” I asked.

“She's marrying an antique, old boy,” my friend said, mimicking him. “Positively an antique.” And then, “How old did you say you were?” he asked me.

If a thirty-four-year-old bachelor is an antique in England, in America he is a relic. For in America nearly all the best girls are engaged by twenty-four, and they prefer to marry men who are within five years of their own age. This is natural. For they want everything that marriage can offer, including youthful gaiety and plenty of sex. Unless the over-thirty bachelor has a stroke of luck, he must resign himself to marriage with a woman in her late twenties, or more. And if she has stayed single for so long, it is fairly safe to assume that either there is something wrong with her or she has also dedicated herself to the single life. Thus, the man who has stayed a bachelor in the hope of meeting a girl better than any he's met before, in fact finds himself driven back on women he would have rejected, or that would have rejected him, in his prime.

Image via CNN

Reaching the Obvious Conclusion

But the bachelor might still be persuaded to overlook all his objections to marriage. He might still compromise and settle for the best woman he can get, if he could convince himself that he'd be happier married than single. But would he be happier? To estimate his chances, he looks around at the married people he knows.

He knows a few married women. One who seems contented; one who is always complaining that she has turned into a vegetable; another who is dying to be left alone, just for an hour, away from the constant screams of her children; another who is bitter because she's left alone all day; another who appears happy; another who flirts dangerously at parties; and another who complains that she's just an unpaid housekeeper. The wives' voting pattern, it seems, is discouraging. He turns to the husbands.

There are the happy, contented husbands who are always quick to hasten back to their wives' company and enjoy it when they get there. And there are the husbands the bachelor runs into at the bar where he stops for his after-work drink. One is talking about a girl in his office who will probably come across in a few weeks; another complains that his wife will allow him enough money for only one drink a day; another excuses himself to call a girl; another is saying he hasn’t been to a theater since the Christmas before last because it would cost $30 to pay for the tickets, plus dinner out for two, plus a baby sitter; another is saying, “I’d love to come but what could I tell my wife?"... two more are clutched hungrily around a girl in a tight sweater; another is taking down the waitress' telephone number; and three are getting drunk. Watching them, the bachelor reaches the obvious conclusion: If getting married doesn't cure a man of the urge to chase after other women, he'll be better off staying single, where the campaigning is so much easier.

Via The Lost Ogle

Not Memorable, but Pleasant

When the patrons leave the bar to catch their Ubers home, the bachelor leaves, too. He stops in for a leisurely dinner at a good restaurant—he can afford that. Then he takes an Uber, which he can afford, back to his condo. It is three rooms, one of which he converted into a media room/man cave, plus terrace, in a new building; a perfect place to live in winter. The rent is high, but he can afford it. In summer, of course, he can afford to rent a condo by the beach where he can have girls out over the weekend.

After reading up on Forbes and checking his Facebook (face it, everyone checks Facebook), the bachelor goes to bed. There he lies awake and reflects. There are no children in the next room, their tousled hair and fresh, innocent faces peeping over the bedclothes. Bad. There is no woman beside him. Bad. But he is at peace. He has no worries about money. Except at work, he never has to see anyone he doesn't want to see, nor do anything he doesn't want to do. He is never nagged, he never has quarrels, he invariably gets his own way. The day—like other days—has been pleasant. Not memorable but, still, very pleasant. Tomorrow is the day for his weekly game of poker. The day after he will go to a ball game, and later he will meet a woman he has known for years, who is coming into town for the weekend. Probably she will stay with him. And he likes her. He wouldn't want to see her every day, or even every week, but once every month or so she makes a nice break. And wondering where he should take her on Saturday night, the bachelor falls peacefully asleep.


About the Creator

Lizzie Boudoir

Thrice married, in love once, overly romantic, and hypersexual.

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