Author Topic: The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans  (Read 9382 times)

Just Joe

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Re: The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans
« Reply #50 on: June 25, 2020, 10:05:28 AM »
Dear God, you would have thought that this was a tragedy worth of the ancient Greeks.  He pitched a temper tantrum and decreed that if they didn't have fancy addresses then just don't send them to his side of the family.  This was about the time I realized that, just maybe, marrying this fool was a bad idea.

An adult throwing a temper tantrum is always a bad, bad sign... ;) Glad life got better for you in time.

marty998

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Re: The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans
« Reply #51 on: July 04, 2020, 05:34:12 PM »
Our original budget was $5000 but I think we ended up going over that by a bit.  We rented a lodge for the weekend, self-catered the rehearsal dinner and the bar (my parents and some of their friends hooked us up with duty-free liquor from a cruise).  I ordered wholesale flowers and made bouquets and stuff myself.  I worked for a caterer for awhile and he cut me a good deal on the food (plus I knew I could get away with lowballing the headcount and still ended up with SO many leftovers).  We got married in January, outside, in a venue that had these three huge stone fireplaces.  For months, my husband cut, split, and stacked whatever he could get his hands on as firewood.  The day of the wedding rolled around and it was 75 degrees.  We ended up selling the firewood and covering at least half of the cost of the lodge rental.  Resold the table linens within three days of posting them on FB the week after the wedding.

This is wonderful. I love this story!

kite

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Re: The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans
« Reply #52 on: July 04, 2020, 10:21:46 PM »
This was the line in the article that bugged me the most:
“You wouldn’t know any of that to look at me. I like to think I appear reasonably prosperous.“
And it’s the problem a lot of people have who’ve got a decent enough income to live and live well. But they want to ‘appear reasonably prosperous’ and in doing so, they make themselves broke.  They even kept up the facade with their daughter. 
I’d be ashamed of myself if my parents went broke giving me a wedding.   

Sugaree

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Re: The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans
« Reply #53 on: July 06, 2020, 09:28:42 AM »
This was the line in the article that bugged me the most:
“You wouldn’t know any of that to look at me. I like to think I appear reasonably prosperous.“
And it’s the problem a lot of people have who’ve got a decent enough income to live and live well. But they want to ‘appear reasonably prosperous’ and in doing so, they make themselves broke.  They even kept up the facade with their daughter. 
I’d be ashamed of myself if my parents went broke giving me a wedding.   


This brought back a memory I hadn't thought of in years.  I've never really cared about clothes or makeup or whatever.  One time in junior high, my mom dropped me off for school and one of my classmates saw me.  He made the comment later on that day to the effect that he didn't realize that I wasn't poor.  I guess mom's reasonably new vehicle (one of those ugly pointy minivans) was more acceptable than the hoopty that I was usually dropped off in (a 15 year old Buick that was bought to be my first car). 

mm1970

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Re: The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans
« Reply #54 on: July 06, 2020, 11:23:56 AM »
This was the line in the article that bugged me the most:
“You wouldn’t know any of that to look at me. I like to think I appear reasonably prosperous.“
And it’s the problem a lot of people have who’ve got a decent enough income to live and live well. But they want to ‘appear reasonably prosperous’ and in doing so, they make themselves broke.  They even kept up the facade with their daughter. 
I’d be ashamed of myself if my parents went broke giving me a wedding.   


This brought back a memory I hadn't thought of in years.  I've never really cared about clothes or makeup or whatever.  One time in junior high, my mom dropped me off for school and one of my classmates saw me.  He made the comment later on that day to the effect that he didn't realize that I wasn't poor.  I guess mom's reasonably new vehicle (one of those ugly pointy minivans) was more acceptable than the hoopty that I was usually dropped off in (a 15 year old Buick that was bought to be my first car).
I wonder if people think we're poor.  Our friends obviously don't, because they know we are engineers.

But our cars are old, our house is small, our clothes are old too.  I almost took my friend up on hand me downs (her son's in a men's medium, and she's getting rid of 12/14.  My kid is same age, but small, just getting into 12/14).  But honestly, he's still fitting in what he is wearing and only wears Tshirts and athletic shorts anyway.  He wears his shorts until they are so small they can go directly to his little brother (who is 6.5 years younger, and 4 sizes smaller, ha!)

Bloop Bloop

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Re: The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans
« Reply #55 on: July 06, 2020, 06:17:23 PM »
Only middle class people care about appearances. Poor people have bigger fish to fry and rich people know they're rich.

One of the best things about getting into a higher income bracket was that I could "act poor" and still just be seen as frugal or at worst eccentric rather than, you know, actually poor. It's one of the unspoken but powerful privileges of being a reasonably high income professional.

Imma

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Re: The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans
« Reply #56 on: July 07, 2020, 05:32:39 AM »
What I have noticed is that our lifestyle makes people think negatively about my partner. Due to my job title people assume I make a ton of money. But I don't make a ton of money because I work parttime and not for a prestigious firm. Due to his job title they assume he doesn't make much. In reality I make maybe 60% of our joint income so he makes a little bit less but not much.

The thing is, I don't really buy stuff. Because I'm not interested in stuff. Maybe a book every now and then, craft and gardening supplies. And he buys a lot of toys - but he has a side hustle buying and selling used/refurbished toys. So we always have new (to him) toys around and he doesn't work office hours. So people assume he's buying toys on a Tuesday from my money while I'm working my butt off. He is well liked but many people in my family think he's friendly but useless. I don't know what to do to fight that stereotype.

SwordGuy

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Re: The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans
« Reply #57 on: July 07, 2020, 08:23:30 AM »
What I have noticed is that our lifestyle makes people think negatively about my partner. Due to my job title people assume I make a ton of money. But I don't make a ton of money because I work parttime and not for a prestigious firm. Due to his job title they assume he doesn't make much. In reality I make maybe 60% of our joint income so he makes a little bit less but not much.

The thing is, I don't really buy stuff. Because I'm not interested in stuff. Maybe a book every now and then, craft and gardening supplies. And he buys a lot of toys - but he has a side hustle buying and selling used/refurbished toys. So we always have new (to him) toys around and he doesn't work office hours. So people assume he's buying toys on a Tuesday from my money while I'm working my butt off. He is well liked but many people in my family think he's friendly but useless. I don't know what to do to fight that stereotype.

Seems to me that the above statement, said to said problem family members, with a request to correct anyone else they become aware of, might do the trick.

Imma

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Re: The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans
« Reply #58 on: July 07, 2020, 12:29:16 PM »
What I have noticed is that our lifestyle makes people think negatively about my partner. Due to my job title people assume I make a ton of money. But I don't make a ton of money because I work parttime and not for a prestigious firm. Due to his job title they assume he doesn't make much. In reality I make maybe 60% of our joint income so he makes a little bit less but not much.

The thing is, I don't really buy stuff. Because I'm not interested in stuff. Maybe a book every now and then, craft and gardening supplies. And he buys a lot of toys - but he has a side hustle buying and selling used/refurbished toys. So we always have new (to him) toys around and he doesn't work office hours. So people assume he's buying toys on a Tuesday from my money while I'm working my butt off. He is well liked but many people in my family think he's friendly but useless. I don't know what to do to fight that stereotype.

Seems to me that the above statement, said to said problem family members, with a request to correct anyone else they become aware of, might do the trick.

If only everyone was as rational as mustachians.... I come from a long line of strong, hard-working women with fairly useless husbands. They all complain about each other's husbands but defend their own spouses. So they just assume I'm doing the same. It's not that they don't like him, they do, they just think I'm keeping him around for entertainment purposes like a Golden Retriever and that annoys me because I feel it's disrespectful.

Exactly because I've seen first hand why you need a supportive spouse rather than one who drags you down, I wasn't in a hurry to settle down. Responsability is one of the qualities I was looking for. We're both not interested in fancy spendypants stuff. Even though I'm not at all into his specific type of toys, I've always appreciated how clever his hustle is. He gets to play with all the toys he likes and it doesn't cost him anything.

talltexan

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Re: The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans
« Reply #59 on: July 07, 2020, 12:30:30 PM »
I feel like a minimum requirement of being a mustachian is that some friend or family member better be asking if you're doing okay financially.

OtherJen

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Re: The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans
« Reply #60 on: July 07, 2020, 03:06:58 PM »
I feel like a minimum requirement of being a mustachian is that some friend or family member better be asking if you're doing okay financially.

Hah! My FIL has repeatedly offered us money over the last year. We must be doing great at mustachianism.

ixtap

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Re: The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans
« Reply #61 on: July 07, 2020, 04:59:23 PM »
I feel like a minimum requirement of being a mustachian is that some friend or family member better be asking if you're doing okay financially.

Hah! My FIL has repeatedly offered us money over the last year. We must be doing great at mustachianism.

Having finally assured the ILs that we are fine, they are now concerned that we aren't living properly in the present. I flat out asked what they thought we were missing and even they couldn't come up with anything.

talltexan

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Re: The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans
« Reply #62 on: July 09, 2020, 08:00:49 AM »
My wife has really gone on the offensive, getting my parents to buy iPads for the kids for educational apps. That'll teach them to ask if we're okay.