Who are the summer bachelors?

summer bachelors

The Great Summer Exodus so common among expat families is when wives and children head home to relatives or friends for the summer and the Summer Bachelors stay behind.

The Summer Bachelors left in KL

The other week at yet another birthday party, I was chatting with a friend, a single mum who works in downtown KL. We talked about plans for the summer and how, once again, she would have to send off her son to France to his dad and she would be missing him for over a month.

“Oh well,” she quipped. “I suppose I could join the Summer Bachelors.”

“The what???” I said, with both eyebrows raised.

Families away for summer

She giggled a bit and explained that was the term in their office for all the husbands left behind in town while their families were away ‘summering’. And that, apparently, emails start flying around making plans on how to amuse themselves for the next month or so. Nothing naughty, she claims. Harmless relaxation—more drinks than usual consumed perhaps. And dinners out that break the monotony of eating cheese on toast in front of the telly.

A good ol’ pie and a pint

Nonetheless, my curiosity was piqued. I googled around and discovered that the Summer Bachelors was (is?) quite a phenomenon in the UAE/Dubai. There were stories of common-knowledge post-work romps among the naughty ones. And some of the more sedate husbands who choose to spend their evenings enjoying Summer Bachelors restaurant specials that include a good ol’ pie and a pint.

The Summer bachelors

I was surprised to learn of a similarly-titled movie—surprised only because it was a film released in 1926, about rich New York businessmen who sent their wives and children off to the country in July and August. And this was apparently based on an earlier book called Summer Widowers by American author Warner Fabian.

Nearly two months…

“Don’t tell me you think all the husbands just sit by their lonesome on the couch pining for their families each and every night—for nearly two months—every summer?”

Of course I don’t. And while I often find my husband looking bored out of his wits whenever we Skype in the summer, it’s also good to know that for two months in the year, he can get some nights out without the pressure of having to make it home in time to tuck the kids in.

Just curious: What is your Summer Bachelor up to in the summer and are you cool with it? Is this more fiction than fact?

Written by Marite Irvine

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