Over the years, my husband and I have remarked that it was a good thing that we got along, because we couldn’t afford a divorce. I recently heard the same sentiment expressed on the sitcom, “The Middle.”
It’s no surprise to hear that the state of your finances determines your lifestyle. If you have no discretionary income, then you probably shouldn’t buy a Porsche, even if you can find a bank that will let you. For many people, discretionary income has become increasingly rare. But that might be changing. Just as a robin’s appearance heralds spring, there are indicators of an improving economy, and those signs are slowly emerging (like that fraudulent groundhog emerged a few weeks ago, but these signs are more believable than Phil’s prediction of an early spring).
According to an article on Yahoo! (http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-budgeting/article/112150/signs-economy-is-on-the-upswing), people are beginning to spend money on nonessentials, which means that more people have jobs, or at least have higher hopes of getting a job than they did in the recent past. So, what are they spending their money on? Top items include men’s underwear, dessert, designer coffee, taxis, golf, gambling, cosmetic surgery, and divorces.
The good news here is that men are buying underwear again. I shudder to think of what they were wearing, or not wearing, during the really tough times. I remember Jerry Seinfeld once said that men wear their underwear until it disintegrates. So, if men are suddenly realizing that it’s time to stock up on underwear, it’s safe to say that the bad economy dissolved their briefs. And we were worried about the effects of global warming.
The other things that money is being spent on are self-indulgences, some more indulgent than others. I’m not exempt here. I will occasionally treat myself to an expensive coffee to perk up my spirits or take a cab while in Manhattan. But I will now definitely think twice before laying out the money. After all, during cash-strapped days, I managed quite well with Folger’s homemade coffee in a travel mug, and the subway got me to where I needed to go. But treating yourself is a huge spirit booster, and if you can now afford to go to a restaurant and have dessert, or play a few rounds of golf, then why not? You’ll feel happier, and if you walk from hole to hole on the course, you’ll even get some healthful exercise.
You have to wonder, though, if anyone who had to delay his or her trip to the casino or plastic surgeon realized that the trip could be delayed indefinitely. And perhaps a marriage or two will survive because spouses had to learn how to coexist peacefully whether they wanted to or not.
There are lessons to be learned from hard times, like the difference between what we truly need and what we merely want. And what we truly need and want is for men to buy and wear underwear … during the good times and the bad.