Cents and Sensibility The Lame Expenses of Smug Marrieds Mary Dacuma

Many people I know are settling down in to the next stage of adulthood. Everything around me is babies and engagement photos and houses in the suburbs. When people tell me they are having a baby, the correct reaction is now “Congratulations!” and not, “Oh s*#@.” It’s weird.

There are a lot of really fun married young adults out there (or so I’d like to assume.) But there are also the  “smug marrieds,” as Bridget Jones would call them. You know, the ones who give you unsolicited advice on your (lack of a) love life, or tell you how ecstatic relieved they are that they finally found “the one” and don’t have to get dolled up and go to bars anymore. You know, the stuff single girls do just for fun and not necessarily to meet men.

Smug marrieds can often induce envy, rage and self-pity as evidenced by countless romantic comedies and Tumblrs like this one. But chin up, singletons! All is not lost. To be honest, I’m planning on holding on to this lifestyle for a while. Domesticated adulthood is expensive! There are the obvious things – weddings, homes, babies, lawyers for the 50% of you who are going to get divorced. But when you really sit and think about it, there are so many unaccounted expenses that make me really thankful for my undomesticated life and considerably less envious of really pretty engagement photos. For example:

  • Baby gifts – I don’t care for babies that aren’t related to me. They don’t appreciate my jokes. They haven’t seen the mid-season finale of Breaking Bad. Their birthday parties are super lame unless you are either another baby or the owner of one. But unless all my friends make some kind of non-pregnancy pact, I’m going to have to buy things for babies. I doubt they’ll be getting me anything for my birthday. Whatever.
  • Costco memberships – Who needs a small barrel of grape juice? Or a pallet of Diet Coke? Or a storage box full of assorted fruit snacks? Smug marrieds with kids do, that’s who. And don’t even start with the fact that buying in bulk saves on the unit cost. I’d rather pay an extra nickel for each roll of toilet paper if that means it will fit in the linen closet and I won’t have to create a stockpile in the garage.
  • Filing systems– Right now, all my important documents fit in one portfolio case that’s barely full. And half of the items in that case are probably useless. I’m sure there are old coupons and tax returns from the early 2000’s. But at some point in time I will have to keep records of things like wills and deeds and extensive medical histories. I’m actually going to have to purchase a file cabinet, labels and maybe even some color-coded folders. You know what I’d rather buy? Shoes.
  • Vans/SUVs – If there was any motivation to not be a soccer mom, the soccer mom vehicle would be it. They are usually ugly. They usually take up a ton of gas. They are near impossible to park in the city. Plus, if you are a terrible driver like me, these vehicles make it really hard to pull off clutch maneuvers on the road. But when you’ve got a brood of children, loads of sports equipment and a cooler emptied of beer and filled with Capri Sun, vans and SUVs are a necessary evil. (Or an evil necessity, whichever you prefer.)

Obviously, these are just a few things in a long list of expenditures that come with settling down. And now that you think about it, don’t you feel better knowing that you can still buy impractical accessories or plan impromptu road trips with your friends because you are young, free and don’t need a sitter? It’s really awesome.

I don’t always begrudge those making the early or timely transition into settling down. I’ll even give the smug marrieds the benefit of the doubt and assume they have the best of intentions at heart. But it’s nice to keep these small victories in mind for those vulnerable moments that make you evaluate your choices. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a new bikini over a diaper genie any day.

Image by Shutterstock

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  1. My best friend got married earlier this year and is now expecting a baby. While I’m psyched for her (and I love babies and children), the “we” instead of “I” is killer. And it hurts when she no longer has any time for me. I GET why, but it still hurts. And I’m one of those singles who longs to be married with children. Unfortunately, I just found out that I’m infertile, but I’ll adopt. I wish I could be happy with my single status.

  2. Being single can be awesome. Being married can be awesome. There will always be people who want you to “join” them in their club (or misery, depending on your level of cynicism), but being happy and content where you are is a skill. I’m impressed.

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  4. Love the Jones reference. I watch that movie at least once a month, usually multiple times a week during the holiday seasons (maybe its the whole weight gain thing, I don’t know, but I feel that much more compelled.) I am young and married and I feel victim to smug marrieds! Everyone wants us to have babies and do this and save for that…… WHY?! I feel like everyone is trying to tell me “Congrats, you’re responsible and got married before having a baby. Now hurry up, have a baby, and grow up.” Eh. Didn’t I just do all the right steps to avoid that? I’m only 21. I want to drink and party, go to the new movies releases every friday, travel, go to conventions, get tattoos…. I got married and have avoided getting pregnant because of that, not inspite of. My husband is my best friend and I want to enjoy our friendship, just like I did with my girlfriends in high school. But because we want to have fun other married couples pretty much keep telling us “you’re doing it wrong.”

  5. I am a married mom and I buy presents for other people’s kids because it just seems nice to do so, I don’t shop at Costco, my filing system is a plastic expandable folder from Walmart ($3), and I drive a fuel efficient cheap ’02 Accord. So these pesky expenses are really only necessary to people who don’t mind the expense in the first place. Just the truth about me, not trying to be ‘smug’ or whatever. It’s kinda hard to talk about other people’s smugness without coming off as equally smug yourself.

  6. As a singleton in her early thirties, I am in awe of the smug marrieds that have the nads to offer me unsolicited advise on my reproductive organs.
    Smug: “why dont you have kids”
    Me: “because I have never been married?”
    Smug: “but, you are in your thirties! Why is it you have not had a child yet?”
    Me: “i guess i am pretty awesome with birth control??”
    Smug: “well, you better hurry up!! You dont have much longer!”

    Are you seriously kidding me? I am 32 years old! Last time I went to the gyno my uterus was perfectly fine and has yet to shriveled up to the size of a raisin. Just because I am not married and not ready to settle down apparently makes me a whacko-loser. I am enjoying my singletoness and the extra money that comes along with it. AND I bet most of the smugness comes from a jealous place deep down within them. Some (not all) get married to be married – then they are stuck in a love-less marriage having “dancing with the stars” and a night without sweat pants to look forward to. If you ask me…I think I have a pretty sweet life. I would like to one day have kids and do the married thing, but I am going to do it my own way and in my own time. :)

  7. As usual, your post was witty, fun and oh so true. I feel bad about some of the comments posted, i.e. the ones from smug marrieds. If anything, they just prove your point :) Thanks for your writing!

  8. I am also married with a great husband and we are trying to have kids, but that hasn’t stopped us from going on great vacations, concerts, dinner, etc and having a baby won’t change that other than we will be 3 instead of 2. I think it is great you embrace your single life, but sounds to me your need to blog about how smug us happily married people are, is an excuse to bitch about it, which in turn leads me to believe you’re somewhat jealous. If you are not and truly happy with your with your singleness, good for you, I truly applaud that, people should do what makes THEM happy. Maybe you should consider us smug and happily married people with or without kids, are happy too though before you judge and start throwing out divorce rate statistics that apply to lazy human beings who get married without getting to know each other and take the easy way out when it gets hard. There are 2 sides to every story and statistic.

    • @Sarah Melton Lewis: “divorce rate statistics that apply to lazy human beings who get married without getting to know each other and take the easy way out when it gets hard.”

      What was that about not being judgy? My marriage only lasted two years, but don’t call me lazy! I feel like a superhero version of myself since getting out of that relationship, so I know I did the right thing. Everyone hopes for the best when they get married. Let’s all not judge.

  9. I’m married and ‘settled down’ but don’t have kids yet. So I still wear bikinis, go on spontaneous road trips and spend money on fun dresses, partying and travel. And I get to do all of it with my husband, who is awesome and my best friend! I do need the filing cabinet for my job though, and I like making my friends happy when I get something nice for their little ones. :)

  10. LOL I find this way more amusing than I should I think, but then again I’m a smug single. :)