Monday, November 05, 2007

Single People Get Rolled With Wedding Expenses

Sarah Jessica Parker’s “Sex And The City” character, Carrie Bradshaw, the intrepid romance columnist, had a pretty good point in a re-run the other night about wedding and baby shower gifts: there’s just no reciprocity for singles.

“We pay to celebrate couples’ life choices, but after graduation that’s it for us with gifts, except birthdays, and everybody has those,” goes the oh-so-very Carrie line of reasoning.

I rarely watch HBO’s “Sex And The City” (now in syndication elsewhere) because it is, well, a TV show for women. During the rare episode I was forced to watch Sarah
Jessica Parker was really upset because she went to a baby shower for a friend. Said friend, a germ freak named Kyra, made Carrie take off her shoes, which happened to be a $500 pair of Manolo Blahniks.

Someone steals the shoes.

So Carrie is out the $500, plus the money it cost her to buy gifts for the baby.
She thinks her friend should pay for the shoes. But Kyra, a mother and wife with “real responsibilities,” belittles Carrie’s admitted extravagance with footwear.

Perennially unsuccessful with men or at least content with temporary arrangements, Carrie thinks about the shoe incident and comes to a marvelous conclusion — one I’ve thought about for years.

When you reach your mid to late 30s, and you’re still single, you realize just how much money you’ve spent celebrating other people’s decisions to get married and have kids.

It’s expensive — particularly if you are standing up with friends at a wedding.
There is the cost of the formal wear, the hotel rooms, the gifts and the travel — not to mention the strippers for the bachelor parties.

Carrie figures she spent $2,300 on the wedding expenses and baby gifts for Kyra alone.

For my part, I’ve been in six weddings, and a best man in three. On Tuxedos alone that’s more than $500.

I’ve also been to numerous other weddings for co-workers and friends.

All told I’ve spent thousands of dollars on wedding-related expenses.

It’s an honor to be invited, and more special and life-affirming to be asked to participate in the ceremonies and give toasts.

And I sure haven’t used the splendid days in the lives of loved ones and friends as an occasion to wonder why I’m still single.

That’s for self-absorbed types like Carrie.

But she is on to something. If one never gets married, then shouldn’t a decision to remain single be celebrated, too?

Why should married people get all the gifts?

After all, they have each other.

We singles have microwaved dinners and re-runs of bad movies on TNT. The other day I even watched Robert Downey Jr.’s “Less Than Zero” again.

In a very real way, gifts would mean more to the single people of the world. We could ration them and open one every night we get lonely.

Nothing kills the blues like unwrapping a toaster oven.

Think about it this way: Someone could get married three times — and receive gifts at each blessed occasion — while the terminally single person gets absolutely nothing.

What’s fair about that?

Playing the Dennis Rodman card, Carrie announces on “Sex And The City” that she’s marrying herself.

And she registers for shoes.

Just shoes.

That’s a bit extreme. Or at least odd.

But perhaps it’s the start of a movement.

If people make it to, say, age 40 without being married, their friends and family really should — out of fairness or sympathy or something — organize a “single celebration” with loads of gifts and food.

And just think how great the bachelor party beforehand would be.

The only way you could ruin the main event is by ending up with a stripper — and marrying her.

1 comment:

Clever Elsie said...

What an excellent post! I couldn't agree with you more. Singles certainly get the raw end of the deal, and I love your suggestion to make it de rigeur to throw a party for singles who reach forty. I wrote a similarly Carrie-inspired blog on this subject just today:

Commit to Yourself

One of my closest single friends and I regularly joke about hosting "self-commitment ceremonies," and we're only half kidding. Through social traditions and the politics of tax law, insurance actuarials, and singles supplements, singles have been bankrolling married couples for decades, yet we're the ones who can least afford it. It's time we turned the tables!