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It takes skill, brains and daring to evade modern woman's tender trap.

"The Toughest Job in the World"

by Don Delacroix



Vol. 3, No. 7, January, 1959

     The toughest job for a man in the world today is not practicing brinkmanship like John Foster Dulles to keep the Cold War from becoming hot. It is not mastering the ultimate intricacies of nuclear physics, or walking a tightrope over Niagara Falls, or removing damaged canvasses from behind old masters without disturbing a fleck of the paint that covers them. Nor is it trying to land a killer shark with a trout line.
     The job that demands the greatest stamina and resourcefulness on the part of the American male, to say nothing of fluidity, trigger-fast thinking and sheer endurance, is none of the monumental assignments listed above. The toughest job in the world for the modern American male is...remaining a bachelor.
     Anyone who follows the newspapers or adventure magazines will note how many prepares American bachelors and grass widowers seem to enjoy courting discomfort and danger tramping on safari through Asia or Africa in search of man-eating wild game, visiting desolate regions of snow to study the dietary habits of Eskimos, Nepalese and Abominable Snowmen. Why do they do it? The answer is simple--mere physical discomfort is a luxury after the confines of endless convertibles and living rooms with drawn Venetian blinds.
     No wild beast, however large, well fanged and ferocious, is dangerous compared to the stalking American female. To the unregenerate bachelor, a sleeping bag on stone-cold ground is more slumber-conducing than a soft double bed with a marriage license nailed to its footboard.
     For one cause or another, the world has been down on bachelors for a long time. Mussolini even put a tax upon them as luxuries his abortive Neo-Roman Empire could ill afford in its race to overcome the more populous nations of the world. In America today, through the eonly official tax is negative--lack of exemptions on the annual report to the Bureau of Internal Revenue--the bachelor must be prepared to pay stiff penalties for his freedom.
     First among them is the fact that, if he is to have any social life at all, the perennial bachelor must be prepared to endure the needless sacrifice of being the extra man. He must be prepared to fend off all sorts and types of strange females brought forward by their mothers, his friends' ever-conspiring wives, even by his friends themselves once they are caught in the mixmaster influence of matrimonial-minded she-members of their own households.
     He must, furthermore, be prepared to guard himself as all times and in all sorts of places under conditions predetermined to sap his will to resist--at suburban home weekends; at little, informal dinners in town; at large, formal dinners anywhere; around barbecue pits, at nightclubs, and, most perilous of all if the huntswoman has a figure, at the beach. Tired, rested, sober or drunk, he must be equally impervious.
     Also, he must maintain his defenses against an insidious, ever-present moral climate that regards him as sort of biological-social Benedict Arnold, a traitor to the species, no matter how many children he may have helped spawn out of wedlock or in other men's homes. The man favored with even the faintest vestige of looks, charm, ability or fortune has got to be tough if he wishes to remain in his natural, untamed state, a free-roaming huntsman as gaily in search of female game as they are ungaily in search of fetters with which to bind him.
     At this point, it might be wise to pause and consider why, under such disadvantages, any man remains a bachelor. The old misogynist, the late George Bernard Shaw, once said something to the effect that, "It is to every man's advantage to remain unmarried as long as possible, just as it is to every woman's advantage to marry as quick as possible."
     Note that even Shaw, tough as he was where the alleged fair sex is concerned, used the qualifying phrase "as long as possible." For, ultimately, even Shaw, the supreme derider of women, fell prey to one of them--though, according to his biographers, he insisted that sex be not part of their life together. Even in surrender, the great playwright triumphed--he acquired a hostess and housekeeper instead of a mate. But, unless a man's masculine urges are as chill as were Shaw's, such a triumph would ultimately be a Pyrrhic victory--one that costs the winner more than the loser.
     Why do men want to be bachelors? The answer falls into five categories. One, unlikely as it may seem, some men are so unattractive that not even a woman wants them--though such cases are rare and growing rarer as the number of women over men increases in this country. Two, there are some men so dedicated to a cause or a career that their dedication devours all of their life forces, the sexual urge included. Three, there are men, like Bernard Shaw, who either dislike or fear woman so greatly that they want no part of them in their lives. Four, there are the biological misfits, or homosexuals.
     This article is not actually concerned with any of the above. Rather, its message, if any, is for the fifth category--that of the red-blooded single male who likes women too much to want to be tied down to any one of them. Psychiatrists, almost all of them caught in the web of matrimony themselves, have been having a field day in recent decades labeling our woman (in the plural) lover a sublimated homosexual, a man ridden with a castration complex who is forced to prove his virility in the field or an incurable mama's boy who secretly hates the things he seeks. The lengths to which it is currently fashionable to go in order to "prove" the normal male is monogamous overlap the border of the absurd.
     They also make it tough on the character who simply desires women and lacks the slightest desire to be one with them. And our red-blooded would-be bachelor has enough troubles on his hands to begin with, to be bothered by the not-so-sly innuendoes of American's ever-growing army of head-shrinkers.
     Disregarding the attrition of weekends, dinner parties and beaches, to say nothing of dowagers hungry to see their daughters securely spliced, the man who loves women and remains free is usually eminently successful in running up a score with them. The chances are that he would not love them half so well if at least some of them didn't reciprocate in kind. And in his very success may well lie his undoing and the knell of matrimonial dirges to come.
     Oscar Wilde, in his great lament, "The Ballad of Reading Gaol," states, "Each man must kill the thing he loves." This may or may not be true, but in any event, it is far easier emotionally to destroy the object of one's affections than to be steadfastly obdurate against its most deep-seated wish--marriage.
     Most attractive modern girls and women are readily seductible to the man who reveals any affection or knowhow--especially if he is slow from a standing start. If their mothers haven't blueprinted all the cul-de-sacs, port-cullises and labyrinths of the tender trap for them at any early age, they pick it up fast enough from their girlfriends (married) or office colleagues (hopeful of getting married).
    The little rascals are not above allowing themselves to become pregnant if they think it will do the trick and bring a mute and trembling bridegroom to the altar. Or, if they play the field themselves and get caught, they seldom hesitate to try to foist the blame on the most prosperous or best-looking man who is down in their little black books.
     Even Casanova, the all-time Lothario, repeatedly had to face the problem of women who wanted to marry him in the worst possible way. But the great Venetian amorist was clever--when he could not manage to marry his victims off to someone else, he simply packed up and went in search of the next pair of flirtatious eyelashes, leaving a trail of unfathered progeny over most of Western Europe. On one occasion, according to his memoirs, he was actually guilty of incest with one of his own daughters, though unaware of it at the time. Mother, daughter and himself were much amused at the mishap after the event.
     Casanova was little troubled in conscience or in pocketbook, by his illegitimate children--in fact, he enjoyed playing the father when, as happened on occasion, his trail crossed theirs in after years. But this was Europe, and the eighteenth century, when manners were tighter and morals looser than now.
     What your determined bachelor should realize is that, while he can be held to account for bastardy today, and while it is a punishable offense in most states of the union, it is a lot cheaper to pay court costs and living expenses for an illegitimate child than it is to pay alimony for an illegitimate wife.
     The mere fact that a woman has conceived and given birth out of wedlock is enough to prejudice the minds of most courts against her. So, unless there is a shotgun muzzle imbedded in the neighborhood of his dorsal vertebrae, it is far more practical for the women-loving male to pay the charges and let the mother go.
     Heartless? Certainly. But no more heartless than the girl who deliberately lets herself get pregnant to trap man or tries to pin a false paternity rap on him! It is wholly a matter of bachelor self-defense--and what is more, it is within the law.
     About the only good thing that has happened legally to bachelors is the abolishment of that fine old piece of legalized blackmail, the breach of promise suit, which should have gone out with the chastity girdle. However, in its place has grown a climate of popular disapproval that can run a modern Don Juan right out of a small town if he fails to act down to so-called "norm" of behavior.
     This is a pity--for, with contraceptives so easily available and the age-old bugaboo of disease laid low by penicillin, this should be the heyday of bachelordom and more or less free love. But the weight of society at all levels is heavily stacked against the free male. If he doesn't come through with a wedding license sooner or later, he is apt to find himself out of a job as well as run out of town on a rail.
     The only real defense the modern bachelor can establish against this never-ending pressure in favor of Lohengrin's "Wedding March," is to play the field so openly that any girl he gets in trouble will simply be labeled an idiot even by her female coconspirators. He won't scare many of them off--since every woman likes to think she has it in her power to halter to the altar the most dangerous Lochinvar--and, if he does, so what? Women are growing up like weeds in America these days, and growing prettier every minute. The fields, far and near, were never fresher.
     So, it is possible to remain a bachelor in America today, but it takes a man, a real good man, a man dedicated to his task.

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