May 21, 2019

The Pitfalls of Short-Term Bachelorhood

“My wife left me recently, and I didn’t know what to do.

All right, it wasn’t permanent. Sarah simply went to Australia to visit our son. (We’ve been married for 37 years, and we’re still going strong.) But I didn’t feel any less untethered just because her absence was temporary.

Granted, short-term bachelorhood has its perks — the unmade bed, leaving the toilet seat up, throwing my pants on the kitchen table. Such old habits are a form of reversion therapy, putting me in touch with my younger self, free of spousal judgment.

And the plans! I’ll go see old friends, I told myself, or have dinner out with just the newspaper for company. I’ll wander to Brooklyn, hit some jazz clubs!

It seemed plausible enough. Back when I was single I could catch a double-feature at Bleecker Street Cinema, enjoy ricotta cheesecake and iced cappuccino at Caffe Reggio in the Village, browse a record store, buy a literary magazine, walk down unfamiliar side streets, wander into a tattoo parlor or some other hangout, and still be up for more.

Then I remember — that was in 1976. I’m out of practice.”

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