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Why do some men make
a conscious effort
to avoid the altar?
Among scholars - who've con-
the subject of bachelorhood,
Special to The Jewish News
one issue is whether men who long
WV hat is a bachelor? delay marriage will go on to wed in
What is this unusual due time. "Once bachelors get into
breed of man that the 40-50 age group, the proportion
has avoided the pit- who've never married is not going to
falls of the ever be that much greater than it was for
previous generations," estimates
precarious institution of marriage?
Is he the fellow in the three-piece Peter J. Stein, a sociologist at William
suit who shows up at the singles bar Paterson College in New Jersey.
Why don't men marry?
after work in search of companionship
According to Bloomfield Hills
for the evening?
Maybe he's more the reclusive marital and family expert Bruce
type who goes straight home after Hillenberg, "There are many factors
work where he relates to his computer and combination of factors that con-
and VCR better than he can to tribute to a man's decision not to
marry. The three most predominant
Maybe he's the battle-scarred factors are opportunity, the value one
veteran of many unsuccessful roman- places on marriage and heterosexual
tic encounters who has finally decid- anxiety.
"Opportunity is simply the ac-
ed that living "happily ever after" on-
cessibility of someone to potentially
ly happens in fairy tales.
eligible partners., Few eligible part-
He's all of the above and more.
Webster's defines a bachelor as ners reduces the chance of contact
"an unmarried man; a male animal and potential relationships. The value
without a mate during breeding one places on marriage is obviously
time." There's no mention of love or important. Marriage represents dif-
commitment or "till death do us part" ferent things to different people. Most
— just the elements of being unmar- of these values are based on past ex-
ried with the desire to breed (or at periences, family history and cultural
least go through the motions). Many or religious influences," explains
women who will confirm this as the Hillenberg.
Ron. T. is a 46 year-old corporate
typical bachelor's M.O.
According to the latest data from consultant in Oakland County. He
the United States Census Bureau, has never married. "When I was
13.8 percent of 3044 year old men young, I always knew I wanted to see
have never married, a significant in- the world — not just visit a country
crease over the nine percent of never- for a week or two, but to live there and
married men a decade ago. Not since get a feel of a country. So, I went into
the Great Depression has there been a field that would let me move
such a high proportion of bachelors in around.
"I've come close to getting mar-
this age bracket. Tbday, some 3.5
twice," Ron continued. "The first
million men are traveling solo
time was in my late 20's, but I wasn't
mature enough or willing to settle
down. Neither was she, but she would
never admit it.
"She was 24 and was getting a lot
of pressure from her parents to find
a 'nice Jewish boy, settle down and
make babies. When she finally realiz-
ed that, with me, there wasn't going
to be a house in the suburbs, 2.7
children, a station wagon and credit
cards in her future, she split.
"She'd say, 'I really care for you,
but I've got to plan my life and I'm not
getting any younger?
"Can you imagine that?" asked
lion. "Here was someone only 24
years old trying to map out the next
50 years of their life?"
According to psychologist
Hillenberg, "Heterosexual anxiety
plays an important role. It often
reduces the possibilities before rela-
tionships ever get started. It is the
basic fear of calling up or initiating
contact with women. There are many
men who are just not comfortable ver-
bally communicating with women."
Byron K. is a salesmanager at a
local computer store. At 36, he's single
and perfectly content to return to his
apartment, make his own dinner and
tinker with his personal computer.
"I've got a lot of free time and a
lot of interests," says Byron, "It's just
not my style to date much. I used to
feel a lot of pressure to have a girl
friend — to have a relationship, but I
was always uncomfortable. I feel that
if it's going to happen, it's going to
"There's no particular void in my
life. If I meet someone, great. If not,
that's okay, too. In the meantime, my
life is pretty full;' he continued. "I
figure the investment in my computer
is about the same as I'd spend in a
relationship, but with my computer I
don't have to compromise. It'll do
whatever I program it to do."
A man's concept of marriage has
a large affect on the chances of his
diving into the sea of matrimony. "If
a man has ample opportunity, is not
anxious about meeting and com-
municating with women, but has
predetermined negative views of mar-
riage, the chance of a marriage
developing is understandably slim,"
explains Dr. Hillenberg.
"By the same token, a person's
cultural and religious background
may have taught him to highly value
marriage and family. However, if he
lacks the opportunity or the interper-
sonal skills to initiate contact, the
chance of marriage is, again, remote.
"If any one of the three factors is
not present, it can effectually
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS 99