The Sexes: The Dangers of Being a Single Male

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George Gilder, 35, is a shy, conservative bachelor and the nation's leading male-chauvinist-pig author. He won the title last year from Norman Mailer in a one-punch knockout with his book Sexual Suicide, which derided feminism, exalted motherhood, and argued that men are fragile creatures who must be socialized through marriage.

Everyone knows he is the new champ. At a feminist party in Manhattan last week, Leading Contender Al Goldstein, executive editor of the pornographic journal Screw, wandered around happily unbothered, but Gilder was repeatedly invited to leave. Three women marched up to inform him that their husbands and boy friends are not impotent—a reference to Gilder's warning that female aggressiveness can affect bedroom performance.

Gilder just shrugs: "Maybe they'll like my new book better." They just might. Naked Nomads (Quadrangle; $7.95), published this week, continues the argument for marriage. But the bitter sniping against women's lib is gone and Gilder announces that our major social problem is men—unmarried men.

Unmotivated Wanderer. No social scientist but a journalist and a former editor at the New Leader, Gilder plowed through obscure census data and federal studies for a year. He then sur faced with an alarming statistical portrait of the single man: he earns far less than a married man, is roughly twice as likely to commit crimes, go to jail and die early. He is also much more likely to develop physical and emotional illnesses and commit suicide. Though married blacks and single women face real handicaps in the job market, they make about the same amount of money as similarly qualified single white males.

To Gilder, the reason is that the single male is an unmotivated wanderer, with no clear long-term sexual identity.

"Men need women for their survival," he said in an interview. "If they can't find a role as providers, we're in trouble." He notes that the marriages most apt to break up are those of successful career women and ghetto women. "In the first case the provider role is usurped by women themselves; in the second it is usurped by the state through welfare."

Marriage is crucial, he says, because it ties men to a purposeful future, and monogamy is its preferred form, as a fair mode of rationing—one wife to a customer. As the system breaks down, with more and more men leaving their wives to take younger women, he argues, "the older men in effect become polygamists, monopolizing the fertile, eligible years of two or more women. The inevitable result is a growing pool of abandoned older women and millions of young single men who cannot get married or have children—a major rupture in the social system. The sexual shuffle is creating a class of bitter losers."

He believes that it may also be creating more homosexuals, as men without women turn to other men for sexual outlets. "I went through the list of societies which affirm homosexuality and found that in every single case, these societies were polygamous—powerful men could have a couple of wives, so the society accommodated the men left over by affirming homosexuality."

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