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Then they visit a local foundation counselor (usually a minister), who records his own impression of the would-be bride or groom.
All of this material is forwarded to the foundation headquarters in Indiana, where the initial “mating” of couples is done by means of an IBM sorting machine.
In the Cold War period of the 1950s and early 1960s, an era in which married life was often idealized as essential for personal happiness and success, non-conformance became a social problem in need of study and explanation.
Experts in social science fields of psychology and sociology, and commentators in the popular press conducted research and published findings that sought to account for the relatively large numbers of men and women who remained unmarried despite societal pressures to wed.
Unmarried women were depicted as “depressed” or “frantic,” while single men were typed as “fixated on a mother figure,” inclined to “antiresponsibility,” or “latent homosexuals.” Men often failed to find the “perfect” woman; women frequently could not find even an “eligible” man.
If a man is still single when he reaches the age of 35, he will probably never marry. Although he may talk constantly of the desire to get married, there is a strong chance that he unconsciously rejects the idea.
And if a man attends church regularly, this is usually the result of family tradition or personal conviction—not because he knows that many men have met the women who became their wives at church or church socials. Even in the 1960’s, an unmarried man has one special advantage over a single woman.
In this, single men differ dramatically from unmarried women. He has no hesitation about sallying forth from his lonely room to a neighborhood bar for a few sociable drinks, or to seek other entertainment, without worrying about the comments of his family or friends.
Women without men head for ski resorts, parties—and often church—with one primary objective: to meet eligible men. Even strangers assume that a man who goes to a movie or a prize fight alone does so through choice. THE SCIENTIFIC APPROACH Sometimes, in desperation, the lonely man will put a notice in the “personal” columns of newspapers. Am a Jersey man, American, Catholic, not rich, but happy, white.” Or: “Marriage only—Lonely bachelor, 26, college educated, good-looking, wishes to hear from well-educated young lady. Snapshot.” Or: “Master sergeant, gentleman, has retired and needs gal to help civilian him.
Mixed in with the frankly erotic notices in such columns are a vast number of apparently sincere marital offers: “Lonely—I am a widower, I need a widow. He’s fat, 50, widower, now in Massachusetts.” Some unmarried men long for a scientific approach to mate selection.