September 2009

A Few Words About Bachelorhood...From a 5th Place Loser

Author: Erik Olson

I recently received the conventional forwarded e-mail from a buddy. It was titled “The World’s Shortest Fairytale” and read as such: “Once upon a time, a guy asked a girl ‘Will you marry me?’ The girl said, ‘NO!’ And the guy lived happily ever after and rode motorcycles and went fishing and hunting and played golf a lot and drank beer and liquor and had tons of money in the bank and left the toilet seat up and farted whenever he wanted.” The End

I laughed because I fart whenever I want (and sometimes try to light them) but found the e-mail interesting because of the recipients: 10 males, median age 27. One is married. Two are in serious relationships—and “serious” is somewhat of a fluid term at best. Aside from myself, these are all well educated, charismatic, good looking males with successful careers, living in the Lowcountry. These are prototypical bachelors. I forwarded the e-mail on, and I’m sure they did, too. I mean, it’s funny. Do these dudes seriously want to be bachelors for the rest of their lives? Nope. I know they don’t, because we’ve talked about it. Do I? Of course not. It’s not because we aren’t cool enough to pull it off (or so we think). The truth is, while these guys revel in bachelorhood, they seek companionship.

Each year CH2/CB2’s Bachelor of the Year competition provides a spotlight on local bachelors. If you are nominated and you’re not a hermit, you’ve heard “NO!” before, although hopefully not while proposing. For lack of a better word, that would suck. While it’s fun to spin the title of “bachelor” as a badge of honor, if you are going to participate, let’s run with the assumption that you are looking to shed the title. More importantly, let’s admit that there is a reason why you are still a bachelor. I mean, why did our fairytale dude get the “NO!”? I would propose that there are a handful of social dynamics with which a Lowcountry bachelor can identify (at least one) that have him on the hunt:

Stability: You’re having a tough time with your career right now. Actually, that’s not enough detail; you don’t have career employment right now. The economy blows, but that isn’t going to make her feel any better about the fact that you don’t have the means to provide right now. Truthfully, with today’s progressive culture, I’m not implying that we need to be the sole source of funds. But we’ve got to bring something to the table. I know it’s blunt, but part-time work or living at home is going to make for some challenges when selling yourself upon meeting a girl… and that’s really what’s going on up front, isn’t it?

Pride. Most dudes have felt the pressure to chase “the image.” Maybe you’ve done your time in the gym. Maybe you’ve had laser hair removal on your wolverine neck. Maybe you have a recurring shipment of Opalescence. Sweet. You want to look better than the next guy. I get it. I live here, too. First impressions are everything. And if it doesn’t consume you, it might get you the attention you seek from a prospect. You want your buds to think the girl you are with is hot. I totally understand. You look good, she looks good; you look good together. But you have to wonder: Is this the right foundation? I mean, being attracted to a companion is crucial. That’s not what I’m referring to. If we’re talking shedding bachelorhood for a long-term commitment; should the concern for public image be a priority? Even if she gets some Bondo work done at the body shop, it’s an absolute certainty in life that her looks will fade with time. So will ours. Let’s hope there is something to talk about when they do.

Tolerance. Once you have been a bachelor for a while, you have less tolerance for the minor annoyances that are bound to creep up in any relationship of decent tenure. She takes too long to prep. She’s doesn’t like your friends. Her sister is crazy. You get it—the small stuff. A quick Google search can turn up as many quotes as you want about embracing imperfections. Although I think chasing quotations for guidance is lame, Sean (Robin Williams) nailed it in Good Will Hunting: “You’re not perfect, sport. And let me save you the suspense: This girl you’ve met… she’s not perfect either. But the question is whether or not you’re perfect for each other.”

Evolving Market. Hilton Head Island and Bluffton aren’t exactly the stocked pond we had in college. In fact, no place ever will be. We’ll never see the same per capita concentration of prospects. We had four years, or more for those who utilized their college years wisely, to make it happen, and we didn’t. To make a broad generalization, past generations did. I’d argue our generation is peaking later in terms of being prepared for the dynamics a fully-committed relationship, and furthermore, the institution of marriage. I don’t say that with negative connotation; I could easily argue why we should never “grow up.” My point is that it’s important to know who we are and where we want to go before we can bring somebody along for the ride.

Enough of the psycho babble; I’m still a bachelor, so what do I really know anyway? If you accept your nomination and want to win CH2’s Bachelor of the Year, you will have to actively tap all of your resources. That said, you’re going to be fine if you don’t win. I probably say this because I didn’t win last year. Loser. I didn’t create a Facebook group for myself. Fatal mistake. But I digress; there is a reason why you are a bachelor. The Bachelor of the Year competition won’t make you a pimp, and women aren’t going to flock to you. It will, however, provide the opportunity for some local exposure. How you handle that is the fun part.

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