by Jonathan B. Perry
While being a bachelor often means spending lots of quality time alone with Ramen Noodles in your underwear in front of the TV (the noodles shouldn’t be in your underwear), in one sense the bachelor is never alone. Where there’s one bachelor there are several bachelors, much like rodent infestations in your neighbor’s house. I don’t mean to say that the bachelors have been cloned or that they flock together in communal groups reveling in their singleness (though monks and frat guys do), nor do I mean to point out the bachelorhood of non-straight men gathered on Fire Island for high festival (some aren‘t bachelors anyway), but rather that there are legions of bachelors today, as there have been throughout the ages and ever will be.
The ancient Egyptian royals fared well because those lucky bachelor pharaohs always had the option of marrying a sister or mother or both, and anyway it helped keep the bloodlines pure, sometimes even providing extra toes for better statues (European royalty had their cousins instead). Outside of some lurid Greek wrestlemania action, you don’t hear or read much about bachelors in ancient history. Take the Bible, for example. Much of the biographical information lists such things as “Bob begat Fred.” and “Fred begat Steve, then Fred died.“. Because of the specialness of lineage, the non-begatters are rarely seen.
For instance, do you know much about your Great-Great-Great Uncle Franklin? Probably not. He was a festive single dude and, once a generation or two had passed, was pretty well forgotten except for maybe as a dead-end branch on your family tree. If you don’t maintain a family tree or if the people in your family are grunters, then it’s as if Uncle Franklin never existed. So it was in days of old. It’s very sad. Franklin might have been a dancing machine who lit up a room, played a mean fiddle, and built his own log cabin, but unless Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about him, he’s lost to history and memory. Poor Uncle Franklin.
I’m not suggesting going out and getting a family so you can be written about, not just because lots of familied people have been forgotten too, but also because being remembered isn’t an excuse to mate. Not a good one. But take heart. There have been plenty of bachelors through history that have wormed their way into history. Probably the most famous bachelor, Jesus, seems to have really left his mark and won’t soon be forgotten, not that his fame could be easily matched. It’s always useful to have dedicated biographers or to be God. As a side note I will subversively mention the speculation that Jesus and Mary Magdalene might have been married, potentially weakening the case for worthy bachelordom, though this marriage theory is partly from the highly questionable writings of the Apocrypha, and the theory that Jesus had children by Mary is more of a fun conspiracy theorist’s tale, most famously promulgated by The DaVinci Code.
One other Biblical bachelor of note is Paul, as in ’St. Paul’, though there have also been theories that he was perhaps struggling with his sexuality and only stayed single to avoid the issue, but I’m sure that’s just Hollywood gossip and bizarrely tantalizing scriptural/watercooler interpretation (see 1 Corinthians 7).
The secret fake word is familied.
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