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Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Guilt.

Posted by Lissa on May 13, 2010

No, I don’t mean a guilty conscience, or white guilt.  I mean fiscal guilt.

I have a lovely white raincoat that I bought recently and wore to a college graduation.  I received many compliments on it.  My standard response?  “Thanks!  It was on sale!”  Or “Thanks! It was only $___!”

I’ve bought some new shoes recently; both on the Kitty Den budget (my other black heels wore out) and on my allowance funds (didn’t need them, just WANTED them, and they were WICKED on sale).  I’ve received compliments on them.  My standard response?  “Thanks!  They were wicked cheap at Macy’s!”

Why can’t I calmly accept compliments on my apparel or belongings?  Why do I feel the need to reflexively defend myself against a nonexistent charge that I spent too much money?

Mike and I are pretty lucky right now; we both have good jobs, and we don’t yet have kids.  (Except Rajah, and while he’s a little piggy we regulate his diet pretty well so he doesn’t eat us out of house and home.  Also, he’s healthy, so we don’t have ridiculous vet bills with which to contend.)  Still, we eat dinner at home at least five days a week, usually more.  I shop and cook every week according to what’s on sale at the grocery store.  We both make lunches to bring to work.  We have designated allowance funds that let us indulge our whims to a certain extent, and no more.

We’re fiscally prudent because it’s silly not to be.

Why, then, do I feel guilty?

Why do I reflexively feel the need to defend myself about new purchases?

P.S. Turns out I”m very used to 3.5″ heels.  4″ takes a bit of getting used to.

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7 Responses to “Guilt.”

  1. ZerCool said

    Because we all have a desire to “fit in”… you wear trendy clothes, so you must think you’re better and wealthier than the rest of us plebes. No need to rub our noses in it, we know it already… but you can claim “on sale” all you want!

    But seriously … A lot of people do the same thing; I agree it’s a bit of a guilt reaction. Someone is complimenting us, and (A) we’re not used to it, or (B) we’re sort of self-conscious about our purchase of “luxury” items… and yes, shoes/more guns/nicer cars are luxury items. So we feel a need to say, “No no, I don’t actually make that much, I’m really just like you guys, honest!”

    (Me, I’m just going to admire that picture for a bit…)

  2. so long as you’re keeping your well-attired ass off the public dole, I don’t care if you drive up to the shooting range in a Bugatti Veryon wearing a Gucci dress and some “sensible” Prada pumps, to shoot an overpriced H&K that you have converted to .357 Sig because the prices on .40 S&W were too reasonable!

    If you work hard and do well for yourself, do what you want with the proceeds and have no guilt!

    Now if you show up at the ghetto Foodmaster in your Deval Patric Free Car
    http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/2009_05_07_Free_cars_for_poor_fuel_road_rage/srvc=home&position=also

    And you buy a $3 bottle Evian water (which might as well have come out of the Lissaville tap) with your food stamp card, then you’ll have some ‘splainin to do!

  3. Jennifer said

    Gorgeous shoes!
    I do the same thing. It was really bad when I got a smoking deal on a used BMW. I would reflexively tell people that I wasn’t really a Bimmer person, I just got a really fantastic deal on one. (Seriously, it was a repo that wasn’t running quite right. Hubby was a mechanic at the time. We only paid $4000 for a 1993 318i convertible.) Part of it was some strange idea of guilt or desire not to be seen as elitist. But I really don’t know why I even cared what people thought. The people that really know me, know who I am. I don’t need to make excuses. And the rest, why do I even care?

  4. Brad K. said

    This sounds like a matter of self image, and what your idea is of your identity.

    On the one hand, you have built your life about a certain degree of affluence, one that you and your friends and family are familiar with, and comfortable with. Picking up items that are more expensive, or less expensive, start edging you toward a lifestyle with a different degree of affluence. Right now you are denying that shift in your life – thus, the hiding and guilty feelings. You are changing your life with the various acquisitions of items from a more affluent way of life, but haven’t embraced that change altogether.

    Even when the value is equivalent, as the new items are better quality at the same time they are higher priced, they are accents to a lifestyle “above” your usual. You are deceiving your friends, denying your choices, because you are reluctant to assume a more affluent, more influential, more responsible role in your community.

    I might be wrong. I had thought the four inch heels had about the same social message as see through lingerie, the kind that go with the Pyrex sex toys. So the use for the shoes would not be the same as “shoes” shoes, something to keep you comfortable and pain-free as you pursue your life.

    BTW – how do the new shoes affect your grip and accuracy on the firing line? It would be best to practice, an attacker won’t necessarily give you a “time out” to kick out of the heels!

  5. Borepatch said

    Sigh. I’d go to the Poor House to keep Mrs. Borepatch in 3.5″ heels.

  6. Mopar said

    We’re pretty much the same way, generally VERY fiscally responsible. I find myself defending my “luxuries” the same way. I have a $40,000 truck, BUT……. got it for employee price (wife’s company at the time made the interior) and another $5k cash back so it actually cost well under $30k. For some reason I need to tell people that. Or people at our shooting club that comment we must be rich because we actually SHOOT when we’re there (1-2 times a week) instead of just sitting at the bar BSing. I have to point out that most of what we’re usually shooting is bulk .22lr.
    Or people comment that we go out once every week for “date night”, but we bag lunch and coffee to work every day, and eat cooked from scratch meals at home most every other night.
    Or: I’m building a National Match AR, but I’m only using overtime money to do it.

    I think it’s because we’re generally so fiscally conservative we are really trying to convince ourselves that what we did is ok.

  7. libertyman said

    If they are true friends, they will enjoy your enjoyment of your purchase. If they don’t, they aren’t very good friends. I am delighted when my friends get themselves something nice – how else am I going to ride on a nice sailboat? I know you appreciate what you have, and that is the secret. I never apologize for what I have worked for, but I am not working simply to get the nice things, if that makes sense.

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