It's not for everyone.
"Mr Wooster is an agreeable young gentleman, but I would describe him as essentially one of Nature's bachelors."
This character is one who is not just unmarried, not just uninterested in marriage, but for one reason or another is staunchly against marriage. They may be against the institution of marriage itself and believe that no one should get married, or simply be opposed to the idea of getting married themselves. Most examples are male, but females can count as well
. With the increasing legality of gay marriage, gay characters can fall into this as well if marriage is available to them but they make a point of eschewing it.
There can be a few reasons for this:
- The He-Man Woman Hater Bachelor: This character is a Straw Misogynist (or Does Not Like Men if female), in which case expect to see them Mistaken for Gay, assuming they're not...
- The Armored Closet Gay Bachelor: Pretends to be one of the other types to explain why they're single, but it's really just a cover. The term "confirmed bachelor" is sometimes used winkingly as a euphemism for this, although its broader definition is the original one and still widely-used.
- The Lost Love Bachelor: This character might have considered marriage, but their preferred partner is unavailable (either deceased, married to another, or just uninterested) and they are unwilling to settle for another. May seize on a He-Man Woman Hater attitude as an excuse, similar in some ways to the above.
- The Casanova Bachelor: On the flip side, they may like the opposite sex just fine and either prefer the single lifestyle or Really Get Around and enjoy variety a little too much to settle down with just one person. Or in the case of the Casanova Wannabe, they may just aspire to this.
- The Commitmentphobic Bachelor: Somewhere in the middle, this character enjoys romance but has issues that keep them from getting all the way down the aisle. May overlap with Serial Romeo or In Love with Love, especially if they believe that marriage would somehow kill the spark between them and their amore.
- The Uninterested In Love Bachelor: This character simply has no interest in love or romance, let alone marriage, being too busy with other pursuits. Often overlaps with Married to the Job in cases where the character is too buried in their work to even try to find a suitable spouse, as opposed to cases where they try and fail or wish they had the time to try. For much the same reason, can overlap with Celibate Eccentric Genius. If the entire cast is like this despite being of an appropriate age for romance, it's No Hugging, No Kissing. Often overlaps with Asexuality in fiction, although real life asexuals are often still interested in romance and companionship and some do marry.
Whatever the reason, the end result is a character who would otherwise be considered marriageable — is of the proper age, reasonably attractive, financially stable, confident, hasn't taken a vow of celibacy, etc. — who nevertheless is unmarried, has never been married, and is not expected to become married.
Often overlaps with Celibate Hero
. If one of these characters winds up getting "turned" and becomes Happily Married
, they have become a Deconfirmed Bachelor
. Compare Awful Wedded Life
, which is what many Confirmed Bachelors consider marriage to be. Spouses trapped in an Awful Wedded Life
often express anti-marriage sentiments similar to those of certain types of Confirmed Bachelor.
Has nothing to do with getting a four-year college degree.
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Anime & Manga
- In Death Note, L and Light Yagami fall into the Married to the Job category. Light does become engaged to Misa, but never follows through and his reasons have little to do with romance in any case. Contrary to the wishes of shippers and despite the subtext, they are not canonically of the Armored Closet Gay variety.
- Ser Brynden Tully from A Song of Ice and Fire, also known as The Blackfish, is famous for his refusal to marry, despite living in a world where Arranged Marriages are the norm and the decision requiring him to cut ties with much of his family. Fanon has him of the Armored Closet Gay variety (enforced by the setting, which is not gay-friendly), although he has no known lovers of either gender.
- P. G. Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster actively avoids marriage, often becoming accidentally engaged and relying on his valet Jeeves to get him out of it.
- Sherlock Holmes is one of these in-canon because he finds romantic attachments to be a useless distraction. It doesn't keep Fan Fic writers from shipping him with Irene Adler, their own original character, or Watson.
- The plot of The Da Vinci Code centers around attempts to prove that Jesus, contrary to his depiction in The Bible (see under Religion), averted this trope with Mary Magdalene.
- In The Bible, Jesus is depicted as the Married to the Job variety, too busy spreading His teachings and generally being a really cool guy to worry about romance. Some believe that the historical Jesus may have averted this with Mary Magdalene.
- St. Augustine embraced The Casanova variant of this lifestyle in his youth, famously praying, "Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet." His prayers were apparently answered when he converted to Christianity and entered the priesthood some years later.
- Professor Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady is of the He-Man Woman Hater variety, believing that marriage would destroy his domestic bliss. The song "I'm an Ordinary Man" is all about the chaos he thinks a wife would bring to his life.
- Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing is explicitly called a confirmed bachelor. In regards to women, he calls himself a "professed tyrant of their sex."
- Prizmo in Adventure Time is averse to romantic relationships because of the compromises they demand, using the ever-present question of coordinating dinner plans as an example. Jake says that he has an overly-bleak outlook on relationships and ends the episode saying that he needs to get that guy a girlfriend, although Prizmo seems more interested in Jake than women.
- Granddad on The Boondocks says at one point that he believes that "all marriage is wrong." It's unclear if he was serious or if he was jokingly trying to evade the question of his stance on gay marriage, but aside from raising his grandchildren, he certainly does fall into the Casanova Wannabe subtype in his lifestyle.
- Scrooge McDuck in DuckTales, something he loudly re-affirms after Ma Beagle ran a scam faking a marriage with him so she could get at his fortune. This seems to be a more recent development, as in his youth, he seriously considered marrying Glittering Goldie.
- There is some dispute among historians whether Leonardo da Vinci was of the Married to the Job type or the Armored Closet Gay type; regardless, he never married.
- Sir Isaac Newton was likely a combination of Married to the Job and He-Man Woman Hater; he proudly claimed to be a virgin on his deathbed and Voltaire wrote of him that he "had neither passion nor weakness; he never went near any woman."
- Nikola Tesla was a lifelong bachelor despite accounts of women vying for his affection, claiming that chastity was helpful in his scientific abilities. Toward the end of his life, however, he expressed some regret about this.
- C. S. Lewis was of the "Lost Love" variety for much of his life: he was in love with a married woman, couldn't pursue her because of that, and wouldn't consider other women because that would be cheating on her. Only after her death did he move on, marrying late in life.
- Washington Irving, author of Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, never married. Apparently he was socially more competent at friendship than love, and at least one biographer called him a better brother than a lover.