That Common Cold of the Male Psyche, Fear of Commitment

Richard Schickel? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The film historian and critic Richard Schickel asserted that men’s refusal to commit to relationships is as prevalent as the common cold. Would you please help me to find the exact phrasing and a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1983 Richard Schickel reviewed the movie “Terms of Endearment” in “Time” magazine. The matriarch Aurora Greenway played by Shirley MacLaine eventually commenced a relationship with retired astronaut Garrett Breedlove played by Jack Nicholson. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

He has been living next door to Aurora for ten years before she hints that she might entertain a luncheon invitation from him. Five years later she actually accepts it. Thereupon a woman who once told an admirer not to worship her unless she deserved it plunges giddily into a relationship with a man she knows suffers that common cold of the male psyche, fear of commitment.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading That Common Cold of the Male Psyche, Fear of Commitment


  1. 1983 November 28, Time, Cinema: Sisters Under the Skin by Richard Schickel, Time Inc., New York. (Time magazine archive at; accessed March 12, 2018)