Everyone knows that weddings—the most elaborate and costly form of old school pageantry still acceptable in modern society—are stupid expensive. But it turns out Americans are now blowing even more money than ever before on what’s supposed to be the most magical day of any couple’s life together. Money that, to be honest, could be spent on much, much cooler stuff.
The Knot released its annual wedding survey this week, with findings showing that couples are spending a mind-numbing average of $32,641 on matrimonial celebrations. The study includes data from nearly 18,000 pairs across the country. While the cost of a wedding varied greatly from city to city—reaching a nauseating high of $82,300 in Manhattan—the price was steep no matter where couples chose to get hitched. All this despite the fact that weddings (and marriages in general, honestly) can be a fairly impractical thing to invest in. Seriously, even 50 Cent doesn’t spend as much in a day as you’re spending on a reception band alone. Think about that.
So rather than buying into the Marriage Industrial Complex on a union that may or may not work out, wouldn’t it make more sense to save your hard-earned money by forgoing the big ceremony for the major expenses you’re likely to face in married life? You know, like a mortgage. Or braces for your wallet-draining children-to-be. And if your fianceé is dead set on a fairytale wedding? You could always just blow your financial load on a plenty fulfilling single life.
With nearly $33,000 to spend in the life of a singledom, you could get pretty far when it comes to amenities and entertainment. Perhaps the best part of being free from the shackles of wedding planning is the opportunity to treat yourself. Like, why drop $1,400 on a frilly dress you’ll wear once before it turns to moth food when you can rock the most expensive shoes of the season and look great doing it?
And while weddings are supposed to be all about the happy couple, everyone knows that’s bull, because you have to feed your guests and provide them entertainment and put a roof over their heads for a couple of hours and likely go into debt doing it.
In addition to simply having fun, there are some more practical ways to spend your wedding purse as well. For instance, purchasing and providing for a nice house cat rather than dropping major dough on finger bling intended for fending off hotties for the rest of your life. Fluffy won’t care if you bring home someone new every weekend—he’ll just hate everyone indiscriminately.
My teenage son recently informed me that there is an Internet quiz to test oneself for narcissism. His friend had just taken it. “How did it turn out?” I asked. “He says he did great!” my son responded. “He got the maximum score!”
When I was a child, no one outside the mental health profession talked about narcissism. People were more concerned by inadequate self-esteem, which at the time was thought to lurk behind nearly every issue. Like so many excesses of the 1970s, the self-love cult spun out of control and is now rampaging through our culture like Godzilla through Tokyo.
A 2010 study in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science found that the proportion of college students exhibiting narcissistic personality traits – based on their scores on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, a widely used diagnostic test – has increased by more than half since the early 1980s, to 30 per cent.
In their book, The Narcissism Epidemic, psychology professors show that narcissism has increased as quickly as obesity has since the 1980s. Even our egos are getting fat. This is a costly problem. While full-blown narcissists often report high levels of personal satisfaction, they create havoc and misery around them. There is overwhelming evidence linking narcissism with reduced honesty and increased aggression. It’s notable for occasions like Valentine’s Day that narcissists struggle to stay committed to romantic partners, in no small part because they find themselves superior.
The full-blown narcissist might reply, “So what?” But narcissism isn’t an either-or characteristic. It’s more of a set of progressive symptoms (like alcoholism) than an identifiable state (like diabetes). Millions of Americans exhibit symptoms, but still have a conscience and a hunger for moral improvement. At the very least, they really do not want to be terrible people.
A healthy self-love that leads to true happiness builds up one’s intrinsic well-being, as opposed to feeding shallow cravings to be admired. Cultivating amour de soi requires being fully alive at this moment, as opposed to being virtually alive while wondering what others think. The soulful connection with another person, the enjoyment of a beautiful hike alone, or a prayer of thanks over your sleeping child could be considered expressions of self-love.
The city of Hangzhou in China’s Zhejiang province is known both for its beautiful scenery and for being a dynamic city with an innovative spirit. The logo of the G20 Hangzhou Summit features the image of a bridge, drawn in 20 lines. On top of it are the English for “G20 2016 China”, supplemented with the imprint of a traditional Chinese seal bearing the two Chinese characters for “China”.
Bridge bears a special meaning for the G20. The G20 is in fact the first global mechanism that allows developed and developing countries alike to take equal part in global economic governance, something that used to be the monopoly of developed countries. This represents a progress in the evolution of global governance and renders the G20 a bridge that connects history with the future, and developed countries with developing countries.
Given the current world economic situation, the bridge bears some new implication for the Hangzhou Summit. It implies a keen hope for the G20 to become a bridge in the global economy, a bridge that brings parties together in win-win global cooperation oriented toward the future. The symmetrically curved lines in the bridge are meant to be reminiscent of fiber-optic cables, referring to an interconnected world in an information age. It is our hope that the Hangzhou Summit will serve as a bridge through which countries will build stronger links with each other and together open up broader prospects for the world economy.
Looking at the history of world civilizations, humanity has progressed along with agricultural, industrial and information revolutions. Each of these industrial and technological revolutions has had great and profound impact on our way of production and life. Today, information technologies represented by the Internet are experiencing rapid changes with each passing day.
They have brought about new ways of social production, created new space for people’s life, opened new horizons of state governance, and enhanced our ability to understand and shape the world. The Internet has turned the world into a global village where distance no longer prevents people from interacting with each other. Communication is made easier than ever before. Indeed, thanks to the Internet, our world has become more colorful and people now live a fuller life.
China is going through a historic process of rapid application of information technologies. China attaches great importance to Internet development. Since China was connected to World Wide Web 21 years ago, we have, in keeping with the principles of proactive utilization, rational development, law-based regulation and assurance of security, strengthened IT infrastructure, developed cyber economy and made life better for our people through IT application.
During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, China will vigorously implement the national cyber development strategy, the national big data strategy and the “Internet Plus” action plan. We will develop an uplifting cyber culture, open up more space for cyber economy, and promote the integration of Internet development with economic and social progress. Our goal is to ensure that the more than 1.3 billion Chinese people and people across the world can all enjoy the benefits of Internet development.