Why Aren't There Gifts for Being Single?

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

A reader, Brandon, takes the bait from this one, who said that “single people are basically freeloaders”:

Your reader’s comment and your call for responses made me actually laugh out loud, so nice work there. As to his point: I’m 32 and have never been married. I’ve been engaged, but I walked away after realizing marriage and children with my partner at the time would have been a terrible decision for both of us.

In my experience, two groups of people generally get married young or at all (this is more than a binary comparison, but for the sake of this email, two choices makes the point): 1. People who have met the right partner and should get married, and 2. People who need to get married because other people are doing it. Those in group 1 don’t have the insecurities of those in group 2, and rarely if ever make such freeloader comments.

To this reader, on behalf of the single people who financed his wedding, baby shower, housewarming, and—pick an event for married people that has no single people equivalent—you’re welcome. (And yes, this idea came from Sex & the City.)

That linked video is unembeddable, but here’s the money quote:

I did a little mental addition, and over the years I have bought Kiera an engagement gift, a wedding gift, the trip to Maine for the wedding, three baby gifts—in toto, I have spent over $2300 celebrating her choices. […] And if I don’t ever get married, or have a baby, what—I get bupkis?