List 10: Aspects of Modern Life I Want No Part Of

A million years ago, I wrote for a now-defunct blog called The Secret Society of List Addicts.Β  This is a post I wrote for them.

I’m not a total scrooge. Or a complete party-pooper or nay-sayer. I
promise! But there are many aspects of modern life that illicit
eye-rolls, dramatic sighs and lots of “I’m sorry, I have a previous
commitment.” A few?

Wedding Parties
Now, I don’t mean to say I won’t be your
bridesmaid. What I mean is that, should I ever walk down the aisle, I
have little-to-no interest in forcing my best girlfriends into
peach-colored dresses and those dyed-to-match shoes. I’m also nigh-on
positive they have little interest in peach-colored dresses.

Baby/Bridal showers
don’t want to open boxes of lingerie in front of my aunts and act
scandalized. I don’t want to play games involving diapers and baby
bottles. I have no interest in eating cookies baked into the shape of a
tiny booty. Again, I will happily attend your shower, but if you attempt to throw me one? You will quickly be de-friended.

grew up in a house surrounded by an acre of uninterrupted grass, edged
by pine trees that required bi-weekly edging. At the tender age of 14, I
remember calculating the amount of time my parents spent maintaining
this yard (something like 63 hours per week) and deciding that lawn
care? Not for me.

Baking 15 different types of Christmas cookies
a cheese girl. A salty and savory type. So I don’t go in for excessive cookie baking. One batch of rolled
sugar cookies? Yes. A million different types of cookies? So I can get
fat and spend all my free time mixing batter? No.

Secret Santa Gift Exchanges
love my colleagues – or at least I did when I worked in an office. Really! But I don’t particularly want to spend $5 a
day, giving them crappy, tiny trinkets that they probably don’t want and
will re-gift next year. How’s about we just close the office early one day and all go out to eat somewhere nice?

Enrolling my (imaginary) children in a million different types of lessons
I have kiddos and they are particularly bent on dance/French/table
tennis lessons, then by all means! Yes! Let’s do it! But I don’t think I
could ever be that mom who spends her afternoons shuttling her children
from one practice to the next while the kids quietly hate me for
keeping them from their tree fort.

What parts of modern life receive a hearty “No Thanks!” from you?

photo by fragrance oil, for sale here



I guess I technically had a bridal party, but I just had two ladies. I let them pick their own dress (something grey and knee lengthish was my request).

I did throw a baby shower, and we tried to play games that weren't the typical games. I'm a biologist, so baby animal names was good for me.

Modern things I don't partake in . . . at one point in my life, watching TV was on the list. Right now, going to movies in a theater is on there, but it's more because of my current distance from a move theater (thanks, rural MN). Oooh, I have one: I don't keep up with the Joneses. Yes, your car is nice. Your home is lovely. Your wardrobe is impeccable. But my bank account? It is superb.

Nicola Purkins

Brilliant!! I agree most with the last one – a few of my friends had moms like that and I was SO GRATEFUL that my lovely mom didn't make me do a million and one activities I hated….!!!
Nicola x

Hannah J

I had three bridesmaids, in lilac dresses they were about floor length – my eldest and youngest bridesmaids would have both worn that style of dress anyway. My middle bridesmaid isn't really a girlie girl so got all in a knot about wearing the dress. My friend Jen had the most awesome bridesmaids dresses (50s style in a green gingham pattern with a petticoat they were seriously cool)

I think kids should be involved in at least one or two clubs so that they socialise with kids from school outside of school time. I was a music geek and so was in a bunch of clubs at school but didn't do proper dance classes or martial arts.


Oh man, you speak my language. People I know are starting to buy homes, or making references to "saving up for a house" (along with the seemingly endless number of engagement announcements), and all I can think is "whyyyyy?" I have less than zero desire to maintain a lawn or garden, nor do I care to decorate (and CLEAN!) an entire house worth of stuff. GIve me my tiny apartment any day, thanks. I'm also 100% with you on bridal showers and bachelorettes. Ugh.

However, my parents put me in piano lessons when I was young and like so many other kids, I didn't like it and wouldn't practice at first. And then after about a year or two? I loved it, and I ended up studying classical piano all the way to the end of high school and moving to uni. I'm so grateful that my parents *made* me stick with it when they did!


Oh, I definitely understand the wedding party thing. If it makes other people happy then yes, please; but my own wedding, should it ever happen in this life, will be quiet.
And short.
I have this fantasy of where I get married early in the morning and then I dump everyone at a party I organised for them and let them go drink and be merry while I do something else with my day.

Another aspect of modern life I'm not into: "going out". Especially in the evening.
There's this idea that anyone who doesn't enjoy going to a club or bar for most of the night must be a bore, but I can't help that I find it exhausting. I'd rather get up early, go on a day trip and send everyone else home at 7pm.

London + Grey

I'm with you on the bridal showers. Baby showers I can understand (even though I'm not a "baby person"), but bridal showers? Oh, PLEASE can I buy you a gift before I buy you another gift for the wedding? Also, engagement parties? I just don't understand…

Something else on my list is TV. Sure, I'll watch a show or two a week. But I know people who sit in offices all day and then go home and sit on their couch all evening. And THEN they proceed to have conversations with me about it, acting as though they're talking about their friends or the show had a huge impact on them. Sorry, but what does this have to do with my life?

Hannah J

Is a Bridal Shower like a Hen Party? If it is a I didn't have presents at mine we went out for a meal at a local Italian restaurant and then went for a drink at the local pub.

I watch lots of TV but I tend to keep it to myself as I watch random stuff in comparison to my colleagues but we do discuss Strictly Come Dancing (UK Version of Dancing with the Stars) but that's only on Mondays

laura fox gill

With you on everything except the last point, maybe: on the one hand, my parents often made me go to ski school which I absolutely hated, but I can see why they didn't want to teach me themselves, as they would never have got any real skiing done. Either way, I don't think I got anything out of it, and I still hate skiing. On the OTHER hand, they never made me do things with my time at home, which just means I don't know how to play any instruments, and that makes me kinda sad. I think the best thing to do is have lots of skills (piano playing, knitting, cooking, speaking a language) you can teach your kid yourself from an early age; then they might be confident enough to take it up as a social thing x

Maddison Snook

I LOVED Secret Society of List Addicts!! Miss it dearly!

I guess I have a bridal party at my wedding in January, but my bridesmaids are picking their own dresses =)


OH!! WEDDING PARTIES!!! I dont want one and, friends please dont be offended, I dont want to be part of another one! I love you dearly and will work my butt off for you to make the big day amazing – please call me if you need to package hundreds of favours or want to DIY your invites or need help scouting the best hotel packages for your great aunt – all I ask in return is that you not change me into a human doll to create perfect pictures, if you really love me enough to want me there to support you PLEASE let me be there as ME!!! This has had me called selfish on more than one occasion, it crushes me because I really dont want to cause anyone hassle with their wedding but I really do feel it would be better for you to be surrounded by people who are genuinely joyous to be with you in a capacity that works for them than by fake smiles and hidden resentments!


i'm SO with you! but i also find that when you're not in the bridal party, your offers of invite-folding/hall-decorating/placecard-placing get ignored (or maybe not taken seriously? or maybe just forgotten?) i don't know, i've had more than one occasion where i'm like "PLEASE, let me handle the decorations on the day, so your family can be free to do other important things" and the offer is never accepted…

Chrissy (The New Me)

Aw, the Secret Society of List Addicts! Good times. πŸ™‚

Things I did not/do not want include: an engagement ring, a baby, or high heels. Things I do want include: built in bookcases, a chicken coop, and nice pots and pans.


An engagement ring!!! I forgot that but its on my list too – and definitely not a big blingy wedding ring either, not my style!

Ashley Wilhite

Yes! I've always wondered why people continue to have bridal parties when you know nobody really wants to buy the dress/spend the money. It all seems a little ridiculous to me. It's like, let's just get together and dance and eat cake!

My "No Thanks" list includes wearing high heels, talking about work during get-togethers with friends, and spending hundreds of dollars on wedding invitations (or thousands on the entire wedding).


Oh, I agree with a lot of these (and the comments, too).

Let's see, I don't want…
-elaborate holiday rituals, decorations, and meals (simple things = more holiday enjoyment!)
-the newest technology (unless it's a personal flying vehicle, then I'm in)
-a big house and crap to fill it with
-your suburban pity because, "You don't have a car and you WALKED here?!?"

I also wish I weren't so judgmental of people who have the giant Christmas extravaganza, iPhone 5, McMansion, or car they bought on credit plus a gym membership. πŸ™


I guess I'm not really keen on having solid family traditions. I love being with my family every year during the holidays, but nobody should get bent out of shape if we don't sit together and watch how the grinch stole christmas this year.

I completely agree with the bridal party thing! So expensive, stressful, and not at all worth it. Baby showers are nice because it helps a new mom get everything she needs, but no games, please! just presents for me!


No thanks to apple products (like iphones. I like real apples!), having cable, and replacing my beat up truck! I'll also agree with lawn maintenance and becoming a child shuttle service. Bleh.


Hmm, I had a bridal party (of two) and I loved having my sister and oldest bestest friend around to support me all day. They did my hair and we drank champagne and it was awesome. I didn't do showers. Yuck. Also, bachelor/bachelorette parties? Ugh. And any type of "forced" gifting sucks. (I'm looking at you Christmas.)

I just bought a house with a huge yard, but I'm really excited to fill it up with flowers and vegetables and paths. I don't really care for lawn.

Reality TV gets a big "no thanks" from me.


I'm a bit new to your blog but I had to comment on this post. Why you ask? Well because I totally LOVE your list! It sounds like a list I would come up (minus the lawn mowing). This post made me giggle!


Things I do not want:
conversations about reality TV, women speaking in little-girl voices, $5 generic hipster coffees, auto-correct, five bazillion passwords, marathon team-building sessions, words like "signage", "monetize" and "touchpoint".

Secret Squirrel

Also women that introduce themselves with just their first name at business meetings. It grates on me.


Ack! Marathon team-building sessions….spreadsheets that no one will ever read…ANYTHING to do with corporate existence is forever banned from my life. I get hives just thinking of those years. Forget convos about reality TV, what about people who can't come out on Tuesday for dinner because "their show" is on Not my friends….friend.

Sara Rose

Ahem. We both wrote for that blog! LOL!!! Ok. My wedding gals and I? They wore black dresses they liked. We got manicures for a 'bachelorette party' the day of my wedding. NO BABY SHOWERS OCCURRED FOR ME EITHER BECA– USE I HATE THEM. I truly despise when my friends want to do the weirdo recipe or sexy underwear exchange thing because its baffling and time consuming. I always write "Gifts not required' on birthday party invites for my kiddos. While I don't mind getting gifts, I feel it's rude to throw a party and assume that part of it is that you should get walloped with presents. It always makes me feel awkward when we have to sit and open presents. WEIRDNESS. Also, I'm strange and won't subject people to the music in my car. IF we happen to be in the same car, I probably don't see you much and we should chat it up!


TOTALLY AGREE about your first and last picks! I don't plan on having a bridal party at all, because, as someone who was MoH in a particularly stressful wedding, I know how bad it is…even if you get to wear a dress you love! It's so much work.

And the oversubscribed kids? Don't even get me started. I've already decided to raise my kids free range. Just let them go and see what happens. πŸ˜‰


Oh man, I (like others it seems) can't stand forced gift giving! I just don't have the money to buy everyone stuff at one specific time. If I like them I'll get them something whenever I see it!

Also – Totally hate when other moms (Yep, I have a toddler!) look at me odd when I don't dress up to go to the park/library/grocery shopping. What's that about? I'm going to be comfortable when chasing after my kid, not looking like a model!!


YES. yes. and yes.. not only am I super happy to read this list (Which I've sent to my mom, because it sounds like something I would have written…) but I'm even more happy to see how many ladies agree! Hey new friends! Where are you all hiding? haha


Driving. My learner's permit expires today and I'm not the least bit sad about it. Driving stresses me out, and leaves me a nervous wreck by the time I reach my destination. I'm perfectly happy walking- it's great exercise and I get to enjoy the scenery on my way to work/the shops/other awesome destination. If I need to go somewhere that's not walking distance, public transport is fine with me. It gives me time to read my book or journal, and I get to where I'm going with less hassle or stress. Also- I never have to pay for petrol or car registration, so that's a bonus!


I wish I didn't have to dress up for work. I don't deal with the public, so isn't it sort of pointless? I would also like to opt out of giving & receiving Christmas presents. Let's just have a nice dinner and play games in front of a fire instead.

Laura Rezko

I don't hate the Christmas holidays and there are several cherished traditions that I love participating in. But Christmas Day? I don't want to go anywhere(unless it's just for a walk). I just want to stay at home with the family in my pajamas all day and eat the leftovers from our Christmas Eve feast.

Young Werther

A question for your ladies… why would anyone in their right mind want to spend thousands (if not tens of thousands) on a wedding reception and all you've got to show are five toasters and 3 cutlery sets?

As a guy, I'd rather put the money on a home deposit, buy a car or spend it on a glorious vacation with ones partner. It makes a lot more sense!


A big yes on Secret Santas. No matter how much I love my job and my co-workers, they're not who I want to spend my holidays with. I'd much rather the gift of keeping my money than having to spend it on crap no one wants, and skip the office holiday party to go home to be with friends and family.

Anh @ Fab 'n Fun

I have the same feeling with wedding parties. I think it requires too much work for me, seriously :S Baby/bridal showers are something I'm not used to in my culture. So skip them then! But I think it wouldn't be less stressful than a wedding party. Anyway for other things, it could be a yes or no for me, quite depending on how and with whom.

But at some point in the modern life, there are things out of which people make too much importance. Keep life easy and simple, shouldn't we? πŸ™‚

melina bee

I love this list Sarah!! so so funny, except I do love xmas cookies despite… well, getting pudgy around the holidays.

I have never wanted my own wedding, although I really love attending them. Can't explain it really, I just don't want that much focused attention on one event where I get super stressed and then am the center of attention. Would seriously rather go to the courthouse then watch tv.


– Oh yes, agree on the wedding thing. I don't think I even want a real "wedding", I think i'd rather just sign up at the courthouse then have a sweet little garden party later. And only invite people I actually talk to.

– Going downtown at night. Not into the social scene, especially since public transportation is crap. I work until 1am some nights and, not kidding, a coworker asked "What are you doing tonight?" I answered "WAT. 'Tonight' was five hours ago!"

– Christmas. I hate having to play the guessing game "who am I going to see and who do I need to buy a gift for?" I get it wrong every year. It's all so insincere, too.

– I also don't like halloween anymore πŸ™ it was great when trick or treating was involved, but now it's just some kind of contest for whoever can wear the shortest skirt! Now I can't even eat a bite-sized candy without feeling insanely guilty about it…


haha nice list!

but one thing. My mother put me through every possible lesson as a child. May be I didn't particularly enjoy it then but now when I look back, I'm pleased to know that I was able to try and can still say that I can do many things. It was really great of her to spend her time and money on providing opportunities for me to grow as a person and to experience different things.


Cool list!

So many things I don't do…too many sometimes.

But big yes to the oversubscribed kids. Mine will just get a new wooden stick every Xmas, and will have to use their imagination the rest of the year;-)


Oh man. I have so many wedding "opt-outs": No engagement ring, thanks – let's put that money towards something useful, instead. No expensive wedding invitations – I'll either make them myself, or do e-vites, or a combination of both. No big, fancy catered reception at a hall – instead, a potluck would be fabulous, and in exchange for all the delicious homemade cooking, gifts are completely optional. I have most of what I need by this point, anyway.

Also, being the last of my friends to get hitched, I'm sort of watching from the sidelines at social gatherings as they talk about their mortgages, their home repairs, and in some cases, baby-related-TMI stuff. I've made a silent promise to myself never to become this, if I can help it.

What else? Um, reading books on anything but paper. Shaving through the winter months unless it's necessary. Twittering.


Yes on most of these!

I've already offended several people I know with my anti-lawn rant. They're such a waste of space, time, money, and resources that could go to much better uses! We didn't ask our landlords before tearing out the front lawn of our rental house to plant a vegetable garden this year. It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission, and I'd rather eat fresh tomatoes than mow grass.

I got married last year and had no bridesmaids or wedding party of any sort. It was great, and it really simplified everything. My mother-in-law kept asking me what I wanted her to wear (my answer of "a nice dress" wasn't adequate), and it made me SO GLAD I didn't have to decide on the dress of anyone but myself. And I had a little say into what my groom wore. πŸ™‚
The only reason I had a wedding shower was to placate my mom about all of the things I wasn't letting her do/people I wasn't inviting who she wanted me to invite. I would much rather have skipped it, but it made her happy (and helped shut her up about everything else).

Oh, and this has very little relation, but I need to tell this story anyway because this reminded me. I was in a shop recently and someone working there was talking about how her friend was a bridesmaid and wasn't "allowed" to talk to the bride about her dress, because the bride was too stressed out. She could only consult with the wedding planner, haha. But then the other girl working in the shop topped her by saying she was a bridesmaid in a wedding with super hideous lavender dresses, and when she showed up Portia de Rossi(!!) was one of the other bridesmaids, except she was wearing a different, much better, designer dress. Clearly she had decided she was too famous to be seen in an ugly bridesmaid dress.

Heather Thorkelson

Erm, how about dinner parties with other couples? Unless it's ONE other couple where we like both of them, forget it. There's nothing like suffering through a social gathering of pairs where a significant % of people in the room are people you wouldn't hang out with 1×1. It doesn't help that I'm an entrepreneur who specializes in freedom and usually dinner talk at events like that are about (office) work, next trip to a resort in Cancun, upcoming weddings, and other bleagh stuff that just doesn't exist in my weirdo I-live-in-Peru-and-do-what-I-want universe. LOVE this post. (and the great comments)

Sarah @ Marvelous-Darling

I love it!

I don't want a big wedding. Recently, my boyfriend and I talked about IF we ever get married, we want a small courthouse ceremony. I want two bridesmaids – my best friend and his sister – but they can wear whatever they want. I'll be wearing a cocktail-length dress and flats. And I want a photographer because I'm a photo snob. I would rather spend money on the reception (open bar what up!) than the ceremony itself, and he agrees.

I have no desire at all to go to my college graduation. I hate the robes, I'm graduating in December so I'm not even technically a part of my "real" graduating class, and I would rather spend the time out with my family celebrating.

Stacy Spensley

Spot on with this, Sarah. I suffered through the bridal shower my mom's BFF threw for me, but when my friend wanted to throw me a baby shower, I agreed on the condition that it was more of an open house-style pre-baby fiesta with drinks for everyone else!


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