"A boy without a father is supremely vulnerable. He has
inexhaustible resources of love and loyalty and devotion. And he aches to bestow
these on some man who shows him what he might, if he is lucky, become. The heart
of such a boy hangs on the smallest of tokens and is to be had for the slightest
expression of regard; is to be had, I mean, passionately, irrevocably, and for
life. And for what? For a glance of interest, a question, an autograph on a
I don't care for the way the writer expresses this, but I think he's telling the truth here. Boys need fathers. Boys without fathers are vulnerable, because they are looking for any man who will give them some attention, some evidence of concern. Grown women can say children don't need fathers as much as they want, but the boys themselves are apt to feel differently. If I were a single woman with a son, I'd be asking myself what kind of men my son is being exposed to, both in real life and in the media, and if I'd want him to grow up imitating any of them.