It takes skill, brains and daring to evade modern woman's
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
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
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
So, it is possible to remain a bachelor in
America today, but it takes a man, a real good man, a man dedicated to