Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Confirmed Bachelor (CB) Hall of Fame

To those ambiguous people of all genders and all
Sexual orientations
Who plainly exist, and just as plainly do not
Appear in any sitcoms
Who are not necessarily wholly opposed to the idea
Of sexual or romantic partnership
But for whom it has always just ranked... well,
Rather low on their list of priorities -- But wait, you ask --

Aren't they all gay, but in the closet -- could that, in fact, be it?
Usually not -- otherwise they would have long since simplified their position --
by coming out.
Plenty of them are gay, to be sure, but such receive
The same questions from their grandparents as the rest of us do
About why they haven't yet found a nice girl or boy.
Are they simply unlucky in love?
They will themselves provide this to you
As an explanation, in the hope it will give you a category in which to place them --
For to be forever categoryless is a frightening thing -- more frightening even
than being pitied.

Are they asexual? Could be -- but not always and necessarily--
Aromantic? Is that a thing? Maybe, again, but if you ask them,
To explain their bachelorhood and its confirmedness
They are likely to tell you, with perfect honesty,
That they "just haven't found the right person yet" or
"Are thinking about starting to date more," or
"Aren't opposed to the idea of being in a relationship"
They just -- year by year -- aren't in one. Quite.
And if you ask further (as many do -- among them
Parents, and journalists, and neighbors and other delegates
From the realm of normal proliferating humanity--)
Why they haven't yet "settled down" (as if
The quiet evenings they spend
With a book or a friend
Are a kind of perpetual orgy),
And how it can be that they claim to still be looking for "the right person,"
When the rest of humanity doesn't seem to have so much trouble --
or how it is that they are
"Just too busy for that stuff"
When everyone else seems to find the time and a willing partner, even Henry Kissinger, even
V.S. Naipaul, even
Ramesh Ponnuru
And other unloveable and undeniably busy people! If you ask them that -- Why, chances are,
-- they're just as baffled by it
As you!--

To such as these, my brothers, my sisters
My siblings in awkwardness and sudden changes of subject
You who have numbered so many poets among you--
But whose name is rarely remembered in poems--
You who have perished in so many causes
But have seldom recognized your own--
You who skip over the boring romantic parts of novels and books of poems--
In order to get to the juicy political bits--
You who never realized you were confirmed bachelors
But went to your graves thinking, "Maybe I'd be open to the idea -- if I seemed to find the right
person, or take the right
Point of view" All the while making magnificently little effort
To find such a one!-- To you,
This Hall of Fame is dedicated.

Long may you remain fruitless and unmultiplied.

The Hall (Currently Accepting Nominations)

 "There is nothing an old bachelor likes better than to find a young married man who wishes he had not got married"
~ Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh

"And don't have any kids yourself"
-- Philip Larkin

1.) Samuel Butler -- a sort of patron saint of the genre, whose The Way of All Flesh is the closest thing we've got to a manifesto.

2.) Sir Isaac Newton

3.) T.E. Lawrence 

4.) Ivy Compton Burnett -- There is a correlation between being a CB and being British and equipped with a chilly sense of irony.

5.) Louise Michel

6.) Sen. Lindsey Graham

7.) Sen. Corey Booker. According to Wikipedia
"Booker has never been married, and in 2013 he was named one of Town & Country’s Top 40 Bachelors'. Although he has generally tried to keep his personal life private, Booker has in the past described himself as a 'straight male' and has said that he is trying to date more in hopes of finding someone to settle down with." 

8.) Simone Weil-- she was something, at any rate.

9.) Philip Larkin-- except, not quite. Larkin, who did have a long-lasting if tormented relationship with a woman, was living in the bad old days before the movement was inaugurated by a famous blog post written on March 31st, 2016, and in those benighted times many unfortunate CBs did not yet have a name for what they were and confused their feelings with those of a distaste for the opposite sex. Larkin may have been one of these. But he equipped the CBs with many a versified self-justification.

10.) The Man Brandy Loves -- If you want to be technical, though, he's married to the sea. 

11.) Justice David Souter

12.) Justice Elena Kagan-- Evidently there's something in the water cooler at the Supreme Court.

13.) Nietzsche -- among other things.

14.) Ratty, Moley, and Toad of Toad Hall. Unless I'm forgetting something.

15.) Sherlock Holmes -- A classic case, forever baffling the conventionally hetero Dr. Watson. Of course, his creator speaks at one point of there being a particular dark lady in Holmes' past, but then, even the narrator of The Way of All Flesh had his Alethea Pontifex.

16.) Mycroft Holmes. With a vengeance.

17.) Jesus of Nazareth -- depending on whom you ask.

18.) Frodo Baggins -- and most other Bagginses, it would seem.

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