Photo credit: Neil. Moralee via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND
The Bible says that when God created Adam and Eve He said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply.” Back then reproduction was a biological imperative for all species in order to populate the Earth, but when Baby Boomers were ready to leave the nest Zero Population Growth was a hot topic. In the 70’s people were urged to only reproduce enough children to replace themselves in order to keep the population constant. That wasn’t the expectation of their parents who came back from World War II, married, and raised large families. They may not have wanted such a large brood, but there were no desirable and effective means of birth control and some religions considered it a sin.
Baby Boomer men were pressured by relatives and society to prove their masculinity by marrying, taking care of a woman, and giving her children. From 1954 to 1999, The Marlboro Man became the macho or ideal man. Although we were never sure if The Marlboro Man had a wife living with him out on the range, it was believed he’d get married and settle down. George Clooney used to be the famous hold out for single Boomer men, but even he married. The popular belief is that most men will come to their senses and tie the knot.
bach•e•lor (băch′ə-lər, băch′lər)n.
- A man who has never been married.
- A person who has completed the undergraduate curriculum of a college or university and holds a bachelor’s degree.
- A male animal that does not mate during the breeding season.
- A young knight in the service of another knight in feudal times.
If you go to http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Bachelor you get some interesting definitions from men who prefer single life.
If you search for “successful older men” on the internet you get dating sites or ways and places to meet them. Add “famous” to the search and most of the men who come up died years ago. They include:
Jean-Paul Sartre-French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, political activist, biographer, and literary critic who said, “If you are lonely when you are alone, you are in bad company.”
Ludwig van Beethoven– German composer of Western Classical Music,
Henry David Thoreau-American author and philosopher who wrote “”Walden” and “Civil Disobedience”,
The Wright Brothers-American inventors of the first functional airplane,
Alvin Alley-African-American dancer and choreographer,
Mikola Tesla-American inventor, engineer, physicist, and futurist,
Sir Isaac Newton-English physicist and mathematician, who invented the theories of universal gravitation and the three laws of motion,
Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, and James Buchanan, Jr.-Presidents of the United States.
Some of these men felt relationships hindered their creativity and all were consumed by their work. Modern day life-long single Boomer men may have the same views. Past studies seem to show married men are happier and live longer because their spouses encourage them to seek medical care on a regular basis. Bachelors often earn less and don’t have health insurance. However, this research often has flaws. Bella DePaulo Ph.D. studied this phenomenon for years and documents it in her book “Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After”. In her book, she critiques several well-known studies, one being the 2004 Center for Disease Control (CDC) Report. In its press release titled “Married Adults are Healthiest, New CDC Report Shows”, the researchers interviewed a representative sample of 127,545 Americans 18 and older. Dr. DePaulo points out how subjects who were never married rated themselves similar to married people when it came to mental and physical health. Those who were widowed, divorced, or cohabitating rated themselves lower. My opinion is that one-time rating systems based on a person’s response to a set of questions may not be accurate since answers are subjective and depend on a person’s feelings which may differ day to day. It’s difficult to account for all of the variables involved in a study no matter how committed the researchers are to finding the truth.
There’s been more written on single women than never married men. Lifelong bachelors are rare. Baby Boomer bachelors are even harder to find. There are many out there, but only the famous ones are noticed and often not in a positive manner. Actor Hugh Grant, who’s still single, was the center of a sex scandal over 20 years ago when he was arrested with a prostitute. The incident got tremendous public attention and his interview even pushed the Tonight Show to the top spot on late night TV when he admitted to doing something many married men have done since the beginning of time.
More positive press has been given to male Baby Boomer confirmed bachelors:
Ben Cohen-American businessman, activist, philanthropist, and co-founder of the ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s,
Bill Maher-American comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, media critic, and television host,
Al Pacino-American actor of stage and screen, filmmaker, and screenwriter,
Billy Idol-English musician, singer, songwriter, and actor,
Drew Carey-American actor, comedian, sports executive, and game show host,
John Waters-American film director, screenwriter, author, actor, stand-up comedian, journalist, visual artist, and art collector,
Jeremy Wade–British television presenter and author of books on angling,
Ian Khama-4th President of Botswana, and
Clergy in the religions where the members of religious orders remain single. Not all of their press has been positive.
For the record, it wasn’t easy to find these living single male Boomers. Proponents of marriage might suggest that since they weren’t married they died young. I’m sure there are many happily single Boomer men out there who aren’t famous and enjoy their single status.
A 2015 Gallup Poll article titled “Fewer Young People Say I Do — to Any Relationship” by Lydia Saad at http://www.gallup.com/poll/183515/fewer-young-people-say-relationship.aspx reported, “the percentage of young adults who report being single and not living with someone has risen dramatically in the past decade, from 52% in 2004 to 64% in 2014.” Findings also show that a higher percentage of men live alone. That’s a significant rise when compared to the marriage rate of male Baby Boomers. Time will tell if young men remain bachelors for life. Singlehood by design is a bold choice for both sexes, but men who choose that life know it can have many rewards.
Continue the adventure!
Is a man happier married or single? That would be up to the individual man.