Entitled. Narcissistic. Selfish.
If you’re a millennial, there’s no doubt you’ve heard these words to describe your generation so freely. We really do have a bad rap among older folks. In a 2014 survey [pdf] of American adults, 71% described millennials as selfish, while 65% said they’re an entitled group of people.
I’ve always disagreed with these labels – for myriad reasons. 1. How can the media, our relatives, our older colleagues be so chill about labeling a group of 75M+ VERY DIVERSE people? 2. As far as I’ve seen, millennials are an incredibly hard working, side-hustling, education-getting bunch. The Gen Yers I know put in their time – working 10-12 hours per day on the reg. They don’t arrive on the job only to sit down, do nothing and expect everything to be handed to them. Yeah, there are exceptions. Some people are hot mess trolls and whatnot, but for the most part, I’m impressed with how hard my peers work to make their communities and the world at large a better place. That doesn’t sound selfish or entitled to me.
Whew! That said—I kinda, sorta think I finally found out where the whole entitlement argument comes from.
I was having dinner with a couple girlfriends the other night when friend “A” mentioned she was bummed she couldn’t afford a trip with her boyfriend because she’s in a couple weddings this year. I was all like, “What? What does a wedding have to do with you taking a trip with your man?” In just one sentence, she schooled me on today’s wedding culture: “Well, the wedding I was in last month ran me about $3,000 – with the dresses, bachelorette party, having to chip in for the bride’s plane ticket and hotel room to Vegas, actually attending the wedding, etc.” I was floored. She continued: “And that’s not to mention the wedding I’m in next month. I’m currently down $2,000 for that one.”
I thought my friend’s story was an anomaly, so I checked the data. It’s legit. Here are the numbers, according to GOBankingRates.
I’m so confused. Why are we asking our friends who very likely do NOT have Bey + Jay money, and who are in the process of starting their lives to go broke for us? Since when is this OK?
I thought about it some more, and at this point, I had to sit down and chug a glass rosé because I was in distress. This was circling around in my brain: Engagement party → Bridal Shower → Bachelorette Party → Wedding → [you kinda get a break for 1-2 years] → Gender Reveal Party → Baby Shower → Baby Viewing/Sip & See. And don’t even get me started on the elaborate birthday parties in between. If I’m still sitting here making payments to Sallie Mae, there’s no way I’m splitting the cost for your trip to Fiji + paying for myself, homegirl.
That shit adds up, guys.
Now, if you and your friends, do in fact, throw hunnits all day, everyday – by all means, proceed. But, if you know that your friends are struggling to pay down student debt or trying to make ends meet, don’t put them in the awkward position of having to say “no” to your special day or making them charge all this stuff to their credit cards.
There are some alternatives, which can be done super tastefully:
- You don’t actually have to go to Santorini, Greece to have an amazing bachelorette party. My tip? Go somewhere a bit more obscure. Skip Vegas. Look for flight deals on Skyscanner. Rent an Airbnb somewhere awesome. I promise, your Instagram photos will get just as many likes doing weird stuff in Austin, TX or laying in a hammock on Captiva Island, FL.
- Think outside the box with bridal party attire. The moment you search “Bridesmaid Dress,” retailers jack the prices up. And honestly? Asking your friends to pay $300 for some crap they’ll never get to wear again is pretty lame. Go to LOFT and pick out something cute and simple. Another cool alternative I’ve seen recently is to pick a specific color, and then ask the bridesmaids to go out and find their own flattering dress in that color within their budget.
- Cut back. I’ve never planned a wedding before, and I’ve only attended like four in my life. So I’m not an expert or anything, but if you really want an elaborate party, and you just don’t have the money for all the incidentals, don’t be a troll about it. There’s a simple solution: Invite less people. If having the party of your dreams is that important to you, do it … with the 10-20 most important people in your life.
I get it, guys, I do. Even though I’m a single 20-something gal who spends her evenings cutting out pictures of puppies and pasting them on her wall, I, too, aspire to find a partner in life. I, too, would like to celebrate my love for that human in the most perfect way possible. But when it boils down to it – if I’m not on Kimye’s level, there’s no way I can insist on replicating their wedding and asking my friends and family to cater to me. That’s entitlement, and itz not cool.