All The Single Ladies Will Love The #NotEngaged Life Instagram

"Despite how far we've come, there is always a focus on getting married and having kids. You just can't escape it."

Most Instagram users are accustomed to seeing engagement photos on an almost daily basis. From images of various happy couples embracing, to pictures of left hands adorned with diamonds, these posts are practically staples on the social network. Mary McCarthy's account, however, defies gender norms by celebrating the single life in an unexpectedly humorous fashion.

"I started taking pictures of my hand after an engagement party," McCarthy told A Plus. "It was a long trek home and I picked up some tacos and texted my friends: 'When you're not engaged, but you have tacos.' And a few weeks later, that text message thread led to me creating an Instagram account."

Since 2016, the 30-year-old New Yorker has posted pictures of her bare left hand to the @notengaged account, adding sarcastic captions that hyperbolize the "agony" of being single. McCarthy notes that, as the creator of the YouTube series The Goodpie Girl, her background as an actress and writer has greatly influenced her comedic approach.

"The work never comes to you, you have to get out there and create it yourself, so it definitely impacted the way I approach the captions," McCarthy said. "The voice came quickly, and I approached it like a character, figuring out who this person was and what she loved – tacos, her 401k, wine – and what she hated – the patriarchy and outdated gender norms. I definitely view the account as a character."

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Beyond this humor, however, McCarthy infuses her Instagram posts with an element of empowerment, as she recognizes much of the comedic content out there fixates on women being broke, lonely, or jealous.

"While they might provide a quick laugh, when you add all those up juxtaposed with the 'perfect' photos you see, I'm not a huge fan of the message it sends," she explained. "The women I know in real life work hard at their jobs, make smart money decisions, and empower each other. Sure, have we all spent a little too much on some gorgeous shoes? Yes, but they were waterproof! I would hope it sends a message that you can be single, and travel, and invest, and really do whatever you want that makes you feel happy and whole and empowered."

McCarthy also keeps things real by refusing to sugarcoat her posts. Because many people use their social media accounts to create the illusion of perfection, said accounts rarely convey an accurate reality. McCarthy, on the contrary, embraces any and all flaws, further humanizing her already relatable account.

"I see a lot of weddings, and engagement photos, and the like – which is amazing! Yay, love! – but that can make single ladies feel isolated when it's every other photo and we are all consumed in the social machine. I also see a lot of pictures that look too good or have the right filter picked out. I will post pictures whether my nails are chipped or bare, because I'd rather just keep putting the content out there rather than say "oh my nails don't look right today." You've all chipped a nail before. Let's be real with each other and have a glass of wine," she said.

Yet, while some naysayers have claimed McCarthy's heart must be cold – "I love love!" – she boasts that she's the type who would watch romantic comedies all day, every day if she could. She believes love is beautiful, but it's simply not the end game. Instead, she simply wants to present followers of all walks of life with an outlet that offers them truth and honesty in a sea of beautifully filtered falsehoods.

"Despite how far we've come, there is always a focus on getting married and having kids. You just can't escape it. What I think has been an eye opener for me, is that single, engaged, or married women have followed and are fully behind the content. Everyone's just out there living their lives. And sometimes it's amazing and we're out traveling the world, taking it by storm, and sometimes we're stuck at home on Friday night cleaning our tub," McCarthy added. "What I know for sure is that it will be true whether you are in a relationship or not, so just enjoy it and do your best not to compare yourself to anyone else. Social media is always lying to you! Believe it or not I'm not always crying alone eating sushi. Sometimes the waiter cries with me."

Cover image via notengaged / Shutterstock

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