Your Engagement Is Not An Accomplishment Worth Spending My Money On
I'm going to confess something that's going to make me sound ruthless and heartless: I'm not so impressed that you fell in love, so why do I need to spend thousands of dollars on your engagement and wedding?
I'm aware I sound cold and cruel, and I'm probably going to be blacklisted from every wedding for the rest of eternity after expressing this, but hear me out.
I LOVE, love. I'm a natural lover. I'm a passionate lover. I think love is singlehandedly the most amazing, beautiful force of nature in this dismal world. I believe in the healing powers and magic of love.
But I also recognize that falling in love has a lot to do with luck, timing, circumstances and elements beyond our control.
So, no, I don't think falling in love is the greatest accomplishment in a person's life.
Sometimes the stars align and you meet someone incredible. And girl, that's fabulous. But I also have a hunch a lot of my girlfriends are getting engaged because they're afraid their entire self-worth depends on it.
They fear their stock goes down if they're ringless by a certain age. So, rather than feel energized by their impressive career triumphs, dramatic risks they've fearlessly taken, or the incredible, heartbreaking trials and tribulations they've overcome, they feverishly freak out over getting engaged.
Do you know why? Because our culture still treats getting engaged like it's the BIGGEST deal in the world — as if we haven't really entered adulthood until there's a rock adorning our left hand.
And so, when a girl finally gets that coveted, sparkly ring, the rest of us are expected to neglect the rest of our vacation plans for a year. We're expected to spend an unbelievable amount of money and abandon our other responsibilities because you, darling, got engaged to be married.
Why should we spend thousands of dollars on an engagement party, a bachelorette party (the whole concept that it's your LAST PARTY is so incredibly archaic to me), an expensive blender from Bloomingdales, and a $150 donation to your "Honeymoon Fund" so you can travel with bae after your exorbitantly expensive wedding?
And let's not forget the money we are charging to our poor credit cards on flights, hotel rooms, and bridesmaid dresses.
We act as if you won the Nobel Peace Prize. What kind of message does that send out into the universe?
We don't celebrate our friends who become CEOs of big corporations, start their own businesses, or have the guts to move to a new city with as much fanfare, parties and gifts.
Instead, we celebrate the girl who scored a guy.
And it's not just in heteronormative communities. My lesbian friend is a mega lawyer who's won cases so big, the verdict has affected the lives of thousands of people. And yet, we've only ever celebrated her when she found a woman to marry.
My gay male friend, who's one of the most successful interior decorators in the world, has been featured in every major design publication. Yet, he got more "likes" for his engagement tweet than when he shared the link to his Architectural Digest feature.
I'm not saying I'm not happy for my friends who are in love. I'm incredibly happy for all lovers.
And I'm not cheap, either.
But I would personally much rather put the thousands of dollars I'm spending on your lucky love towards a big party for my best friend, Owen.
He arrived in New York City with nothing but a dream to make it in the hairstyling world. And in just a few short years, he has styled the hair of every celebrity, model and artist in the business (including our childhood idol, Björk). He even styled for the cover of Vogue. And he did it all with no silver spoon and no connections — just his passion, hard work and talent.
My other friend, Bailey, opened up a successful restaurant in Gramercy. She creates the menu and manages the whole staff — and despite the restaurant scene being a notoriously sexist, male-oriented industry, she runs that shit like a total boss.
For ten years, I watched her slave away in steaming hot kitchens for a meek salary. Now, she runs the show at 30 years old. And she did it all on her own.
That's way cooler than simply being married at 30 years old.
My sister, Amanda, has overcome unthinkable things. She moved to LA on her own at 20 and is now a successful actress who stars in movies and television. She works her ass off, attending every single acting workshop possible to slay it in FUCKING HOLLYWOOD.
Do you know how hard that is? Do you know how much of a backbone it takes to get rejected audition after audition and still have the drive to keep going?
My sweet friend Eduardo came into this country as an immigrant and worked his ass off. Nothing has ever, EVER been handed to him. And now, at the age of 27, he runs an innovative nail bar that's changing the standard of nail salons across the city.
He didn't even know how to speak English fluently when he came here as an adolescent, and now he's making connections with some of the biggest names in town.
These are things that impress me. These are the accomplishments I want to throw parties for and spend my money on recognizing.
If our culture celebrated these kinds of feats more — and with half the passion and budget with which we celebrate weddings — I think all of us would have a deeper, less superficial sense of self-worth.
We would have self-worth that was independent of another person.
And when your self-worth is independent of another entity, your self-esteem isn't going to be shaky like it is when you place it in another person who can change their mind and decide they don't love you anymore.
Imagine if we had photoshoots to celebrate that promotion we got last spring? We would be showing young people that the accomplishments they create on their own are what really defines them in this life, not another person's validation.
People can leave you at anytime, but no one can take away the achievements you've cultivated by yourself.
So, send me your address when you land that dream job. Register at Barney's on the day you start your own business. I'd rather buy you a gorgeous designer blender for being a fearless boss than buy one for you for simply finding someone to marry.