Six years ago, Elliott Lewis wrote a tongue-in-cheek guest post for my blog, “35 signs you may be a confirmed bachelor.” To this day, it remains one of the most popular posts on that site. So I guess people are interested in signs of confirmed bachelorhood. And now, with the death of Hugh Hefner, maybe even more people are thinking about a certain kind of bachelor life.
What I’m thinking about, though, goes beyond stereotypes. Suppose you actually wanted a serious answer to the question, “What are the signs that you are a confirmed bachelor?”
Here are 14 possibilities. Some are based on research; others are just my best guesses that still need to be put to the empirical test. And the criteria apply equally to women and men.
1. You like your single life.
2. Well, that’s not quite true. Actually, if the rest of the world did not think it was oh-so-odd to say so, you’d put it this way: You love your single life.
4. You are not going to let your idea of a social life be dictated to you. Maybe your friends matter more to you than anyone else. Maybe your relatives do. Maybe you don’t want Saturday night to be date night. Maybe you like going out in big groups. Maybe you like more intimate get-togethers, in which “intimate” is not just a polite word for sexual, but can mean something bigger and deeper. Maybe you want your time with other people to be plentiful, or maybe you want it to be scarce. You are a confirmed bachelor if you are living the social life that best fits who you really are, and that social life is not just the standard-issue “find someone and get married.”
5. You enjoy handling many tasks and challenges on your own. That doesn’t mean you will always want to do everything on your own, but you do enjoy your self-sufficiency.
6. You have a sense of mastery — a belief that you have the skills or knowledge to do what you need, or that you can develop them and would probably enjoy doing so.
7. When you need to make decisions (including small ones about your day-to-day life or big ones about major life choices), you don’t think it's tragic if there is no one person who always makes those decisions with you. You may or may not want input from others, but ultimately, you are happy to have the final say.
8. If you never had to date again, you would be very happy, and not because you already found “the one." Do you disagree with this one, but still think of yourself as a confirmed bachelor? Okay, I have a loophole for you: There are confirmed bachelors who enjoy dating and romance; they just don’t want that to turn into married life.
9. If you were in a serious romantic relationship, and it ended, maybe you will feel sad or hurt; but you may also feel relieved, because now you get to go back to the life that feels right to you.
10. You are on top of your life, or you would be if only you would buck the matrimaniacal masses and admit to yourself that you really do want to be single. For example:
11. You want your work to be meaningful. Sure, good money and opportunities for advancement might be appealing, but you are not going to do work that you hate if you don’t have to.
12. When people you care about marry, and you think that it is a good life choice for them, you feel happy for them. Their marriage is not a painful experience for you, because it is not the choice you want for yourself. You’re not envious; you have the life that you want. (If the newlyweds subsequently ditch you, because now they are in the Married Couples Club and won’t socialize with single people anymore, you can be miffed about that and still be a confirmed bachelor.)
13. When someone asks you if you are married, and you are beyond the age at which they think you should be married, you know what they are wondering: What’s wrong with you? What they don’t know is what you’re wondering: What’s wrong with YOU that makes you think that everyone wants to marry, and if they don’t, there’s something wrong with them?
14. You are living the life that is the best, most authentic, most fulfilling, and most meaningful life for you. If you are a confirmed bachelor, that life is single life. You are living your best life, even though other people can’t quite get their heads around that. Congratulations! You are awesome.
Does a lot of this sound familiar? It should. I am describing people who are single at heart.