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July 08, 1988 - Image 85

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-07-08

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Two Jewish women
in England tell why
they don't want to
get married


Journalist Irma Kurtz has chosen the single life over marriage.

Special to The Jewish News

omen's Lib encour-
aged women to be
independent masters
of their own destin-
ies with all the
freedom available to men, and to
choose whether to marry, co-habit or
remain single. Two Jewish women liv-
ing in London came to their own deci-
sions and explain why they chose to
live the "bachelor" life.
Back in the late 1960s a New York
girl from Columbia University decid-
ed that life as a married woman
would be a total surrender to her per-
sona — only more so. Irma Kurtz
came to London and has made her
way in the world of journalism. She
has for many years had an "agony "
column in the international magazine
Cosmopolitan; she writes a weekly
column in the London Evening Stan-
dard; she is a regular contributor to
Punch and writes articles for the
prestigious Sunday Times. She has
also written five books, her most re-
cent, "Man Talk," has just been
published in the United States.
Kurtz lives alone in Soho, the


heart of London's theaterland, which
she describes as "Times Square made
safe." She has a tiny apartment
crammed with books and records and
cassettes and the tools of her trade:
word processor, typewriters, tape
recorders. She is a trim, youthful 50,
but 16 years ago Kurtz decided that
she wanted to have a child, but not a
husband: marriage in her eyes
becomes, she says, "a battle between
two egos."
Kurtz's son Marc is 15, the pro-
duct of two highly talented people —
she a writer, the father an artist. She
explains: "I wanted a baby because I'd
always had a wonderful relationship
with my own mother, and you can't
really get closer than this kind of
maternal bonding. I knew I could be
good at it. I didn't need the financial
support of a man because I was doing
quite well myself. Marc's father is a
good guy: he didn't want to marry but
he was aware of my need, and we went
into it deliberately and produced this
lovely boy." Is it possible that Kurtz
was behaving selfishly because she
wanted the child but not his father?

She believes not.
"My son was able to see his father
all through his baby and growing-up
years. He sees him whenever he
wants to now and stays with him, but
Marc and I have a special honest rela-
tionship and he knows that his father
and I are very good friends and will
remain so."
Kurtz has stringent views on the
state of matrimony. "A man has his
reasons to marry, good or bad. A
woman, however, is probably marry-
ing out of an impossible romance: she
expects security, fidelity, loving sex,
constant attention. She also expects
equality. Sometimes she may cook on
alternate nights and wash half the
She goes on: "I always believed in
a true and wonderful love, and mar-
riage was unimportant. I hoped that
I could make an intellectual and
spiritual match, and for me it was not
worth settling for anything less. I
don't question the fact that it could
exist for other people. I love being in
love and believe fidelity is important
and necessary because honesty is the

key to any relationship."
A spirited girl endowed with gifts
— she is literate and articulate —
Kurz wanted an adventurous life and
says "You can't do this in marriage
because you tend to act on impusle,
and anyway it's not fair on the part-
ner." She is much travelled: Southeast
Asia, Australia, Israel, Japan —
wherever the fancy took her and she
found jobs on the way.
The desire for a child occurred off
and on for some time, but she saw the
dangers of a child living with its un-
married mother in a sort of bohemian
existence, but the desire for
motherhood took over.
"When it came to telling my
parents that I was going to try and
get pregnant, that was classic: it's not
the thing for a nice Jewish girl to
want a baby but not a husband, and
it took them quite a while to get us-
ed to the idea. But after Marc was
born he had the most amazing rela-
tionship with my father. We visited
New York and my parents came to
London, because that is where I have
now made my home."



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