Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
Send GK Your Question »
Dear Garrison, I had never
November 14, 2005 |
Dear Garrison, I had never heard of Norwegian bachelor farmers until I started listening to your show a few years ago and am curious about this. My partner's mother (first generation Norwegian) had three bachelor brothers. Has anyone done research about the reluctance of Norwegian men to marry? Seems like a great Master's thesis for someone. One of the brothers was dating a Catholic girl and went to church with her. She stopped to genuflect as she entered the pew and he did not notice and fell over her onto the floor, and left the church in great haste, never to see the poor girl again.
Nancy, One theory is that they were deeply attached to their mothers and couldn't break this attachment. Another is that they were gay and didn't know it. Another is that they were pretty happy as they were and once they had passed a certain threshold and remained single ----- say, the age of 30 ----- then they became trepidatious about what was involved. They lived in rather small communities where everyone knew everyone else and there were few available women and a bachelor was watched carefully for signs of interest, and they simply found it easier to retire from the field of battle and embrace bachelorhood. To pursue romance in a small community, with everyone looking at you, exposes a man to large risks of losing his dignity, much as bronc-riding does or writing sonnets or singing German lieder, and Norwegians, always capable of sacrifice, might naturally choose celibacy.