Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Single in your 20s?

What's it' like being single in your 20s? It's a time when you are getting established, working your first real job, and making real money. However you are also encountering your first real expenses like paying back the student loan, rent, utilities, car insurance/car payment, setting up your own place, etc. None of these adult behaviors are cheap.

However, an important area of your life is meeting the right person. And in meeting the right person having a courtship, planning a future together, and eventually entering coupledom.

But the courtship proces is a long and difficult one. Because the average age of women and men marrying has increased it appears that people are becoming more selective and careful during the dating process. But because of this, the dating process has also become much longer and more intensive. People can spend years dating before marriage.

So what's expected in your 20s? Well the problem is that you have to be able to go out to eat dinner. At least once. Maybe not the first date but at least maybe your second or third dates. And if you are the man you should treat (so much for feminism). Then as the women you might pay for drinks. And then it follows from there. Unfortunately couples also go out to pretty nice restaurants, not just fast food. So it costs more than in college. Apparently it's to establish how well off your are.

All these extra financial expectations are hard to meet in your 20s. So what should you do? Should you try to keep up? Or give up entirely? I've heard from all my single friends and the thing is, even when you aren't dating, you're pretty lonely at home so you often go out and eat with other singles or couples just to be kept company. You also participate in more activities to keep not be alone. So singledom is expensive.

So pondering my friends comments, told them, well you're investing in your mental sanity. You can either go out and have fun and try to find "the one" or sit at home popping anti-depressants. Sure it costs money to but if you aren't happy, sitting there counting every penny saved with no one or even people to share it with is lonely.

I feel their pain. Of course marrieds in the 20s...well we have a whole other set of problems...


Anonymous said...

I think you're painting a pretty black and white picture. Yes, one wants to socialize with one's friends. But why should that mean going out to expensive restaurants. Why not have your friends come over to your place for dinner? Cooking on the grill and buying a few bottles of wine or a case of beer doesn't cost that much. Or have a potluck dinner.

And why should the man be stuck paying for dinner when a couple on a date goes to a restaurant. How about splitting the check! Don't think you must behave a certain way just because that's what "Cosmopolitan" or other women's magazines tell you to do. We baby boomers paved the way for women to make individual choices -- don't let us down by reverting to '50s behavior.


Living Almost Large said...

Trust me I'm likely to split a check, but for some reason women want to be treated. Have you read the polls? They expect it. It's reverse feminism.

And why have a potluck? Because most of them are working insanely long hours. They go straight from work to out to eat. They sometimes go back to work. Or some are working and going to school. I think they work very hard many 20-somethings trying to get ahead.

Right now it's Wednesday 10:30PM and our single roomie is still at work. Last night he came home after midnight. I know he had dinner out with friends but went back to work.

Anonymous said...

When we were in our 20s, I worked until at least 8:00 every night and also worked every Saturday and often on Sundays (not recommended as the best way to start a marriage). We couldn't afford to eat out often so we didn't, and rarely had the energy to go out on a weeknight. When we went back to school, we either were in class at night (after working all day) or doing homework. It was much more relaxing to get together with friends at home. If we did go out it was to inexpensive Mexican restaurants.

No, I haven't read the polls on women's expectations. However, I've been a feminist since 1972 and don't buy the excuse that women need to have a man pay for everything, especially not women who are now making just as much if not more than a man.

Living Almost Large said...

LOL, you are in the minority of 20-somethings not affording to eat out. Myself I can't afford to eat out, but I'm definitely in the minority and NOT the majority. I turn down so many invitations it's not funny. Everyone we know eats out. Every single graduate student.

And check out Women In Red Message board. And savingsadvice. Most women say they expect men to pay for the first date! I couldn't beleive it either, but it's true. Apparently it's considered cheap if you don't!

MEG said...

Well, I am a single 20-something, and I can tell you that I've made a conscious decision lately to not turn down any invitations out for awhile, regardless of whether or not I've met or exceeded my eating out budget that month.

What you are willing to spend totally depends on what your social situation and goals are. I have a few good friends that I will tell "I can't afford to go out anymore this month" and we'll hang out at each other's apartments and eat/drink at home together. But I also am on a break with my BF and trying to make new friends.

I cannot (will not) invite some new acquaintence over to my apartment for "potluck" when we are just getting to know one another. Sure, we don't have to go to a swanky place for $12 drinks, but there is a balance. Developing a social network and making some new friends is more important to me and my being right now than sticking to my budget. And I will NOT sit at home due to money woes right now if there is a fun new group inviting me out with them for dinner/drinks.

PS-I am female and always split the check or make sure the monetary outlays are more or less even with my BF (he gets dinner, I get the movie tickets, or whatever). I live in the South (Southwest really) and am very open to chivalry, but after the first date (whcih I generally let the guy pay for if he offers), I at least offer/insist we split the check. Only if he refuses AND he makes a lot more money than I do will I let him continue to pay more than his fair share (and this is usually because a more well-to-do male will usually prefer more expensive places than I could/would afford on my own).

Living Almost Large said...

Meg I can definitely turn down the invitations because I'm not single. But I think it's a lot harder being single.

Myself said...

Because most of them are working insanely long hours.

This caught my attention.
You see we have 4 children. And the time we get to do things that need to be done around the house is after they are in bed.

Things that need to be done before/after they go to bed include but are not limited to:
feeding the children (which sometimes is quite easy and other times it's almost painful), baths for the kids, school work for the kids, bedtime stories, finishing the basement, repairing anything that may be broken around the house, painting, large appliance upkeep (i.e. filters, salt for water conditioner), drive to Home Depot or Grocery store for necessary items, wash clothes, clean the house, bills, and of course spending time with one's spouse, reading for pleasure or to keep one's skills up to date or to make sure that retirement is on track.
My normal bedtime is 11:30pm - 1:00 am, and I usually wake up around 6:00-6:30 to get ready to be at work around 7:00-7:30 (which counts a 40 minute commute).

And my wife stays at home with the kids (well actually it's a ton of work).

The 20's are only preparation for your 40's in my opinion. Of course, if we only had our first 2 kids (twins), it might not be as time consuming. :)

And I wouldn't change it for the world!

Financially Broke said...

I am 29 and single.

If a man asks me out on a date, I expect him to pay the tab.

He ASKED me. He is PURSUING ME. Not the other way around.

Now, once in an established type relationship, such as steadily dating or having been out on a few dates, I will simply just pick up the check before he can get to it.

But in the beginning? No way. I am being pursued. They WANT to pursue me. If I do not allow them to pursue me, I am going to end up either A.)Single for the rest of my life or B.) Dealing with a man who depends on me to support him. Neither one of those options are acceptable to me.

Then again, I am not a die-hard feminist. I agree that I should have the same rights and opportunities under the law, i.e., I should not be discriminated against under law due to my gender, but I do not believe that relationships have necessarily become better with the blending or dissolving gender roles.

Financially Broke said...

One more thing I forgot to mention... when I am asked out on a date, I also refuse to tell a man where I want to go. I want to see where he takes me, what he likes. He doesnt have to spend a whole lot of money to impress me. Impression comes more from manners, conversation style, and punctuality than how much he spends on a date.

Living Almost Large said...

I honestly believe single people work a lot more to make up for the lonliness. They have nothing to go home to so they just go back to work. If you are in a relationship/parent after the kids go down do you really go back to the office? Or work all night long until 1 or 2 am? Then come home, sleep a bit and up and at them? No, usually you talk with your spouse, spend some time together, as mentioned.

Single people they have no one at home to talk to. So many I know will go out to dinner and back to work. Insane.