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The trick is to play the cad and not wind up the cadaver!

"How To Be A Bachelor Though Married"

by Loyd Rosenfield



Vol. 2, No. 5, 1957

     LOTS of beautiful girls swear they can merely glance at a man and tell whether or not he is married-insinuating thereby that the wedded ones have a defeated, down-at-the-heels, secondhand look. Nothing can make a married man feel more dead and buried than to smile at a lovely stranger on a bus and have her (a) look surprised, (b) laugh out loud, or (c) act insulted. He couldn't feel any older if she stood up and gave him her seat.
     Obviously, therefore, the first requirement for being a bachelor, though married; is to look like one-but not just any old bachelor. You must look like an eligible bachelor--one who has trouble keeping a step ahead of the gorgeous heiresses and startling starlets. You must not look like a perennial bachelor--one who has chased debutantes so long he wouldn't know what to do with one if he caught her.
     How does the successful, practicing bachelor look?
     To begin with, he watches his P's and J's paunches and jowls. It is quite true that you occasionally see lovely young things pinching the cheeks of fat old roués. But in these cases, she doesn't care how fat his cheeks are, as long as his checks are even fatter. So, unless you are after a gold digger, who will love you for yourself alone, stay trim. Nothing says 20-years-married louder than a bouncy walk--if it is your chins and tummy that are doing the bouncing.
The second rule of appearance is to wear the correct clothes, preferably something you pick out yourself. A man who allows his wife to select his clothes somehow always winds up looking branded-with the Bar O. W. (Other Women) brand. There is nothing wrong with dressing conservatively-but don't wear the sort of thing you'd like to be put away in. Something between the Ivy League and the Texas League is desirable.
     And do splurge on ties. The true badge of the married man is the bargain cravat. He receives them for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries and all Annual Clearance Sales. When you walk down the street with a ten-dollar tie, a haircut, a shave, a natty pin-stripe suit and a fresh shine, one babe will say to another "Hmmm. Now there's a man who dresses with individuality. He isn't being led to the haberdasher's. He looks like…he must be…he is an eligible bachelor! Pardon me while I drop my glove."
     The final item in appearing like a bachelor is your facial expression. Glance at the other married men around you while riding downtown any morning. What is their dominant facial expression? Boredom. When they see an especially beautiful girl, most of them are so resigned and completely devoid of hope that they are able to do nothing more than change this expression of boredom to one of wistfulness.
     What is the best expression to wear in order to capture the hearts of the hunted and convince them you are an eligible bachelor? One of faintly cynical amusement--one that says, "Get a load of these unburied married suckers around me! Never catch any one woman tying me to a mortgage and a mess of brats--not even you, you gorgeous creature, apparently reading the society page, but actually secretly fascinated by my expression of faintly cynical amusement."
     Now that you have mastered the art of appearing to be an eligible bachelor, you are actually ready for the thrill of meeting a real live girl, for the first time since your marriage, and using your bachelor's personality on her.
     In trying out this bachelor's personality, don't try to fog your high hard one over the plate the first day of spring training. Remember, you are out of practice. You've been married, maybe for years. So take it easy and try your slow curve the first time out.
     Wait until a rainy day. Ladies always have trouble with their umbrellas on rainy days. Halt just outside a building entrance, and when a damp-but-delightful number tries to lower her umbrella before entering the revolving door, you step up and say "Please allow me." As you lower the umbrella, murmur "Lucky raindrops to be falling in your hair." If she smiles warmly and replies something like "Thanks-for lowering my umbrella and raising my morale," then you simply tip your hat and stroll on.
     You have had an extremely successful first experience in how to become a bachelor, though married. Don't pursue this one any further. Savor it. Enjoy it. You will find you feel like a new man--alive, vital!
     You will soon be certain you are ready for something a bit more adventuresome. However, remember you are still a comparative novice. Wait until you are called out of town, for one reason or another. Overnight trips by train are about your speed, at the moment. Enter the club car. Pick a chair near the most attractive girl without seeming to notice her. This is like choosing the fattest French pastry without even seeming to look at the tray--but actually you examined the tray thoroughly when you entered the restaurant. Thumb through some of the more sophisticated magazines, making certain to show your left hand while doing it, to enable her to see you are not wearing a wedding ring.
     When you have seen her repulse the clumsy openings of the other would-be bachelors in the car, such as “Have met before?," "Lovely railroad, isn't it,?" and "When I left Dubuque it was raining,"--and when you see she is just about to give up hope of your ever noticing her--then you turn to her suddenly, smile and say, while proffering her the magazine you are reading. "I know this is a man's magazine, but there's not much else to do on a train--you may as well live dangerously."
When she laughs gratefully and accepts the magazine, then you be quiet and bide your time while she peruses the periodical. When she hands back the magazine, with a smile, you can launch the conversation, now that the ice is gracefully broken, with almost any opening you wish, even "When I left Dubuque it was raining." The successful bachelor-type personality, you see, must always be an expert at smooth introductions.
     When you feel you and the young lady in the club car know each other well enough, you can ask her to join you at dinner. As you leave the club car for the dinner, note the angry, puzzled, disgusted expressions on the faces of the other would-be bachelors. They are thinking, "That bird isn't as handsome as I am, even. Yet the way she tumbled for him you'd think she was a European acrobat and he was John Ringling North." What these other gentlemen fail to realize is that you approached the problem at hand scientifically and correctly.
     Now, you may feel that buying the young lady's dinner entitles you to ask her to join you in your roomette for a quiet evening of gin-liquid and/or the card game. But no. You have done very well for your second sortee into being a married bachelor. Besides, a train is a terrible place for romance of the more active type-especially if there is much switching going on.
     Having arrived at this point, triumphant though unsullied, you are now ready for the third, and most difficult, part of the game--How To Be A Bachelor Though Married, Right Under Your Wife's Nose!
     The first problem with operating locally as a married bachelor is: with whom shall you conduct this dalliance? Someone in the office? Not too advisable. Most people there know your true marital status. And suppose you choose a beautiful girl who operates a modern business machine? These machines are so sensitive they just might feel and resent her inattention and, therefore, punch out a special card for your employer, saying "My operator is playing around with a married man--your assistant, if I'm not mistaken, and I'm guaranteed not to be for ten years."
     Whom, then, shall you choose? Preferably someone you can easily contact almost daily, someone with whom you can build a friendship before getting down to pleasure, and yet someone who will not suspect your true marital status. Your manicurist? No. She's been lied to so much that the only men she believes to be really bachelors are boys under 15 and priests.
     After a great deal of research on the subject, the lady who emerges as the ideal type with whom to play the bachelor is the lovely creature who works at the department store cosmetics counter. She is very easy to meet. You can ask her for a scent suitable for a girl of about her coloring, although not nearly so glamorous-looking, and yet something not too provoking to the male. Settle for a couple of drams of FOREVER FRIENDS. This will give her the idea you feel you must give this girl a birthday present, perhaps, but don't want to give her anything that will make her feel she has you hooked, or encourage her to try and hook you. It will also make the cosmetics cutey reasonably certain you are not married (especially since you are also wearing your bachelor-type clothes, your bachelor-type expression and naked fingers.)
     There is no point in going into the get-acquainted routine here, since you are by now presumably an automatic ice-crusher. But there is one thing: when she accepts your offer to take her to lunch tomorrow at the little French restaurant, you will exchange names. Should you give her your right name? Yes. You will inevitably bump into someone who will call you by your right name anyway. And one of the most difficult questions in the world to answer is "You say your name is Lionel, yet everyone calls you Joe. Why is that?"
     Now we come to a rather difficult part of being a bachelor though married--the part where you keep the girlfriend from finding out you are a husband, and your wife from finding out you are a bachelor. Luncheon dates in the business world are not often questioned, but at night you must be careful to take her to places where you are not likely to meet friends who know your wife: corners of dark night clubs, drive-in movies, candlelight cafes. When she asks you why you never take her among the bright lights you can tell her you don't want to expose your love to the vulgar glare of publicity.
     When your wife no longer believes that you are spending two evenings a week working at the office, change your story to one night a week at the office and one night a week bowling to keep in condition. Buy a bowling ball to prove it, and take it with you one night a week. If your passing passion should ask you why you always have a bowling ball in the car on Friday night you can answer, “I keep it for a married friend of mine who on Friday tells his wife he is going bowling, but who really goes out with another woman.”
     Now come the two most vital parts of being a married bachelor--how far to go with the girl you are leading on, and when to quit being a bachelor and return to being a faithful husband. Assuming you are not a cad, sir--and do not wish to be a cadaver--you don't want to hurt either the girl or your wife. What is the precise point at which you can fade out of the girl's life without having her think you intended marriage, and ease back into your wife's life without her ever having known you've been out of it?
     The time is drawing near when your fleeting flame is so under your spell that she says, one night as you are leaving Carrie's Calypso, "Why don't we go up to your place for a nightcap?" This is a great time to begin your farewell ceremonies because (a) there is a good chance your wife might not be entranced with the idea of your bringing a strange lady home at one a.m., and (b) your casual love is apparently ready to turn your romantic interlude into a full-fledged affair.
How, then, does the married bachelor break off this intimate interlude? When the girl asks her question about going up to your place for a nightcap, you smile a sad smile and answer "No, dear, it wouldn't be fair."
She will probably reply something like "Why not? I can outrun you if I feel like it."
You shake your head and say "That isn't what I mean. I am growing too fond of you, and I can never marry." Her eyes will grow as wide as an old potato's. "But why not?" she will exclaim again.
"Because I have RB-more commonly known as Restless Blood. It causes me to have a roving eye. My father had it, too. In fact, he disappeared when I was four. And I promised my mother I would never marry and make some good woman as unhappy as he made her."
     "Gosh," she may answer, looking at you admiringly, "that's the nicest brush-off I ever received." "Brush-off?" you say in bewilderment. "Call it that if you care to, but saying farewell to one I cherish as much as you is about as easy as brushing honey off my tie." The next morning you go to another department store cosmetic counter and buy a bottle of FOREVER FRIENDS perfume and send it to her, thus making a contact for future reference if you again feel the urge to be a bachelor though married.
     You will probably find that you have divested yourself of your divine diversion in the nick of time when, the following Friday night, your wife announces "I was going to clean your bowling ball for you, but I find it isn't even dusty or slightly scratched. I think I shall just go bowling with you this evening."
     "But of course!" you can reply. "I was just about to invite you. Why should the ball be scratched? You will find I have one of the smoothest deliveries in town."
     "You seem thinner, more self-confident, more the man-about-town, lately," she may say speculatively, "just as you were back in our courting days. You aren't courting again, are you?"
     "Yes. You. Perpetually," you can reply, embracing her. 
     "Gosh," she will say, snuggling closer, "I guess I'll have to start sprucing or reducing if I'm going to remain attractive to a guy like you. You operate like the perpetual eligible bachelor."
     There! Now you have been paid the ultimate compliment. You have reached the zenith for a married man your own wife regards you as an eligible bachelor.
     Relax and enjoy it for a year or so. Then, if she resumes taking you for an everyday husband, you can resume being a bachelor though married.

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