There's a lot to love about being single. You save money on Valentine's Day gifts, you get to meet new and interesting people and sometimes you even get to have sex with them.
But it's not all knocking boots and freedom. There are some aspects of single life that might, in fact, be seen as less than desirable. And then there are these five facts that will make you wish you got married in high school ...
Single People Tell Themselves:
Of course my married co-workers take home a little more scratch than me! They tend to be older and lamer, and most corporate pay-scales are directly tied to how old and lame you are.
"We deserve more money, because we're so close to death."
You've got one part right: Your married co-workers take home more money. Just how much you're getting cornholed depends on who you ask, but a recent study pegged it at about 27 percent.
But it's not just age. The above study was based on identical twins where the bachelor was just as educated as his married dopelganger. In fact, even if you and a married man do the same job at the same level of competence for the same number of years, the guy with the ring takes home more than you.
"And I don't even like my wife, you chump!"
There are a couple of possible explanations for this and, contrary to what you might want to believe, none of them involve your boss being jealous of your electrifying sex life. The explanation married guys are most likely to cite is a little old fashioned elbow grease. It's hard not to hustle when the option behind door number two is "let your wife and kids starve to death." Meanwhile, single guys are more likely to take a sick day to sleep off an especially bad hangover, or quit a great job because the nachos in the cafeteria suck.
And even if your married co-worker is the slap dick and you're the responsible one, the perception still may not change. From your boss's perspective, that guy's money is going toward feeding his kids. Yours could be going toward any number of elicit activities he's vaguely aware of. One of those sex parties he's seen on those HBO documentaries, perhaps.
Single People Tell Themselves:
In an unprecedented act of kindness, American corporations decided their employees were working too hard and began enforcing something called "work/life balance." Of course they had their selfish reasons. A happier employee will do better work, and get sick less. But who cares? Less work means more time for us single folk to go out and have indiscriminate sex with one another, right?
If you're single, work/life balance is yet another way for the world to punish you for being unloved. One way the "balance" is enforced is the Family and Medical Leave Act, which gives any employee the right to take time off if a spouse, child or parent gets sick.
But what if you're struggling to save up enough money for a ring for your girlfriend of seven years when she gets hit by a bus? According to work/life balance, you'd better have some vacation time saved up. Otherwise, you're just going to have to learn to weep a little quieter, because you're sort of bumming out the rest of the folks in Accounts Receivable.
Take it outside.
There's also the unofficial considerations. Married employees simply have more legitimate excuses to ask for time off: a kid's birthday party, an anniversary dinner, Christmas. Yes, single people are more likely to be asked to work on holidays. The logic goes: You're single, you don't have a wife or kids, what could you possibly have to do? It doesn't matter if you were planning to spend the day delivering presents to sick children. Someone's got to pick up the slack for the married guy who keeps taking time off to attend his daughter's dance recital.
But don't worry too much about vacation time. Thanks to something called per person double occupancy (PPDO), you wouldn't be able to go on good vacations anyways. Essentially, hotels, cruise lines, pretty much anything that isn't a plane or a train, is designed and priced for couples. The travel industry wants as many people as possible roaming the streets in a capitalist frenzy. The more people they can pack into a hotel or a cruise ship, the happier they are. If that means punishing you for being unloved, so be it. Maybe you'll learn not to be so lonely next time.
Single People Tell Themselves:
The tax code has something called the "marriage penalty," which is supposed to make married couples pay more. See? Uncle Sam remembers what it was like to be a squirrel trying to get a nut.
Actually, 51 percent of married couples get a tax bonus, and it can be up to $1300 a freaking year. Just enough for your co-worker to take his wife on that Hawaiian vacation while you do all his work.
The benefit comes if there's an income disparity; i.e. one partner is making more than the other. If they're pulling in the mad bucks and their spouse is working a part time job, or just a full-time job that sucks, they wind up paying less. You're stuck with the full tab.
To add a little salt to the hemorrhaging wound in your bank account, married couples can choose to file jointly or separately. So they have plenty of wiggle room to get the lowest taxes possible. So basically, instead of getting a tax break, you're doing the equivalent of buying another wedding gift for all the happily married couples you know every April 14th.
You paid for that wine. And that mustache.
And if you think the government's a dick to private citizens around tax time, you should try fighting wars for them. You might expect the military to pay people who get shot at pretty well, regardless of whether or not they're married. But in fact, a soldier with a ring on their finger is entitled to an extra $250 a month based on a piece of legislation left over from WWI called Family Separation Allowance. They also get an increased housing allowance, which is untaxed money. So basically, married soldiers get bigger houses and enough money to install a jacuzzi in the backyard. But hey, at least you single folks get to play the field in Iraq.
Above: The field in Iraq.