The Couples Embracing the DINK Label - Kanebridge News
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The Couples Embracing the DINK Label

The ‘dual-income, no kids’ moniker is suddenly everywhere, and the lexicon has ballooned to include DINKWADs, SINKs and DINOs

By JULIA MUNSLOW
Wed, Mar 13, 2024 8:49amGrey Clock 4 min

Natalie and Keldon Fischer have no debt other than the mortgage from their Seattle condo, where they live with their Pomeranian, Noble. They each have six-figure salaries and hefty savings accounts. Last year, they traveled nearly every other month, including to Italy, Mexico, Thailand and Finland.

“I really enjoy being a DINK,” says Keldon, a 30-year-old software engineer.

DINK, of course, stands for “dual income, no kids.” It isn’t new slang, but suddenly, vocal DINKs are everywhere as more couples like the Fischers not only embrace the label but boldly let their DINK flags fly.

“Being DINKs means we just have a lot of freedom, time and money,” says Natalie Fischer, 25, a full-time content creator. She’s open to having children, but is first focused on building a net worth of $1 million by age 30. “I know that once I have a kid I will have to assume a lot of the caregiving responsibility and work less.”

Videos touting the DINK lifestyle now rack up millions of views on TikTok and Instagram. Most feature married couples sending the message that they don’t have kids yet (so stop asking), possibly never will, and life is fantastic, thank you very much.

Life as ‘DINKWADs’

The lexicon has ballooned to include DINKWADs (DINKs with a dog), SINKs (single-income, no kids). Some DINKs prefer “DINO,” for dual-income, no offspring.

There is even DINKY—for dual income, no kids, yet.

The public pronouncements represent a shift, says Zachary P. Neal, a psychology professor at Michigan State University who studies child-free adults. Though not all DINKs are strictly child-free, as some may have kids later, he says there is overlap in the groups.

“It has been for a very long time a sort of stigmatised category,” says Neal. “There are all sorts of stereotypes—things like…they’re self-absorbed, they have no stake in the future, they’re too focused on their career.”

But these days, DINKs are leaning into the label, thanks in part to the snowball effect of social media, Neal says, where DINKs are finding safety in numbers. “As some people start to openly identify as child-free, it creates an environment more open and welcoming.”

In a 2021 Pew Research Center survey, 44% of non-parents ages 18 to 49 said they were not likely to have kids ever, up 7% since 2018. Reasons included economic obstacles, concerns about the state of the world and simply not wanting to. And many young adults who do want children are having them later in life than previous generations.

The recent vocal DINK-dom is also generating backlash.

On social media, parents argue they do much of what DINKs do, just with kids in tow. Internet commentators and comedians are using DINKs as material.

“Childless couples are even more annoying than the imaginary children they complain about not even having,” said Lewis Spears, an Australian comedian. “They don’t seem to do anything with their free time except make videos about how much free time they have.”

‘We go where the wind blows’

Brenton and Mirlanda Beaufils, both in their 30s, have been together for over a decade, and say that they’re often questioned about whether they plan to have children.

But they are not ready to give up the flexibility of the DINK lifestyle.

On a trip to Las Vegas, for instance, they partied poolside, dined at the renowned Nobu restaurant, visited casinos and totally lost track of time and went to bed after 5 a.m.

And when Brenton, who is 32 and works in property management, was offered a new job that started in two weeks in another city, the couple made the move—from Boston to Dallas—happen in one week.

“We go where the wind blows,” says Mirlanda, a 30-year-old real-estate agent. “We love that about our relationship.”

In Dallas, they’re closer to Mirlanda’s sisters, including Preciana Prinstil, 29, who often jokingly wonders when Mirlanda will give her children some cousins.

“I want her to feel the love of kids and how they bring joy,” says Prinstil. “Even though they can be a headache.”

Others in the couples’ orbit are also curious. Mirlanda, who wants to be a mom one day, but isn’t in a rush, has a stock retort. “I’m like, ‘Oh, you guys ready to babysit for us? If you can’t answer that question, then stop.’ ”

Free to give mom a car

When Norelle Marquez was younger, she imagined having children at around age 24 or 25. But lately, the 26-year-old hasn’t seen them in her future.

Norelle, a professional photographer, and her husband Robert Marquez, a 28-year-old Marine Corps service member, have no debt, and stick to a firm budget for their Dallas household. “It’s fairly easy being DINKs,” says Robert.

Norelle appreciates that DINK life allows her to provide for family, including her mother, who raised her and her brother as a single parent. She has given her mother a new washer and dryer, house floors, an almost new Toyota RAV4 and more.

The couple posted a video on TikTok about the benefits and quirks of being DINKs, such as, “When we tell people we’re going to Disneyland on vacation, they think we’re weirdos.” It drew nearly 4,000 commenters, including some critics, but many declaring themselves DINKs.

“That TikTok has solidified my feelings about being a DINK and knowing that it’s OK,” says Norelle. “Family doesn’t have to be bloodline,” Robert adds.

Ultimately, whether to have children is a decision that can evolve, says Holly Hummer, a Harvard University Ph.D. candidate who studies women without children.

“We’re all sort of a SINK or a DINK for a portion of our lives,” she says.



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Savvy travellers who plan their trips around dining at their destination’s most in-demand restaurants know that securing a reservation at a top Paris eatery isn’t an easy proposition on any given day.

Come the Olympics in July, when the city is flooded with tourists, one would expect the jockey sport to snag a table to be that much more intense. But that’s not necessarily shaping up to be the case. As of mid-May, Parisian insiders such as hotel managers, restaurant owners, and local luxury concierges reported that inquiries at sought-after spots were no higher than usual, foretelling a potential opportunity for visitors looking for a fine-dining experience during the games.

The time to book falls over the next few weeks given that many top spots don’t take reservations until one month before the dining date.

The Michelin-starred Jean Imbert Au Plaza Athenee and Le Relais Plaza, both at Hotel Plaza Athenee and helmed by the renowned French chef Jean Imbert, are two examples.

Francois Delahaye, the COO of the Dorchester Collection, a hospitality company that includes the Plaza Athenee and a second Paris property, Le Meurice, says that his regular guests who are visiting for the games and Parisians who frequent the restaurants know not to call too far in advance of when they want to dine.

Further, he doesn’t foresee reservations being a challenge at either venue or at Le Meurice’s two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Le Meurice Alain Ducasse.

“Booking for the restaurants won’t be an issue because people are planning meals at the last minute,” Delahaye says. “Also, the people who are in Paris specifically for the Olympics are here for the games, not to eat at restaurants. They’re not the big-spending clientele that we usually get.”

Delahaye doesn’t expect the kinds of peak crowds that descend on fine dining during Fashion Week each spring and autumn, for example, when trying to land a seat at the three eateries is nearly impossible. “People are fighting to get in,” he says. “You need to book through your hotel’s concierge, have an inside source, or be a hotel or restaurant regular.”

Several Paris luxury concierge companies echoed Delahaye’s perspective

Manuel de Croutte, the founder of Exclusive & Private, says that Paris regulars probably aren’t planning a trip when the Olympics transpire—from July 26 to Aug. 11—because they want to avoid the tourist rush. “We’ve gotten some reservation requests from people who’ve heard about us but not nearly as many as we usually get when the very wealthy travellers are here,” he says.

During peak periods like the French Open or Fashion Week, de Croutte says that his job entails making bookings for travellers who don’t have any other way to get into buzzy or Michelin-starred establishments.

“You’re unlikely to get a table at a see-and-be-seen place without knowing someone,” de Croutte says. “No one picks up the phone or answers email.” He says his team has established relationships with managers and owners of many of the hot spots in Paris and often visits them in person to land tables.

Exclusive & Private’s Black Book of Paris restaurant recommendations for Olympic visitors span a broad range, from casual bistros to fine-dining.

Michelin eateries include the three-star Le Gabriel at La Reserve, the two-star Le Clarence near the Champs-Elysee, and the two-star Le Taillevent.

Spots without a Michelin star but equally notable are also on de Croutte’s list: L’ Ami Jean offers traditional and flavourful southwestern French cuisine, Allard is a brasserie from Alain Ducasse, and Laurent serves French food to a fashionable set.

“My favourite neighbourhood for restaurants is Saint Germain de Pres,” de Croutte says. “You’ll find unassuming but chic names with excellent food and a great vibe. You can book with these places directly if you’re here for the Olympics, but don’t wait until the last minute because they will get filled.”

He also cautions that some Paris eateries are asking for nonrefundable prepayments for reservations during the Olympics.

“Be sure you want to go before committing and ask about the refund policy if you are charged,” he says.

Stephanie Boutet-Fajol, the founder of Sacrebleu Paris, says her bespoke travel company charges a lump sum of about US$750 to make all the restaurant bookings for the Olympic period, though the price varies depending on the dates and the number of restaurants that a client requests. “Reservations around the closing ceremony are harder to come by because that’s when more elite travelers are coming to Paris and want the chic restaurants that are always difficult to get a table at,” she says.

Meanwhile, chefs at some Michelin-starred restaurants share that they have tables available during the Olympics and welcome travellers to their establishments.

Thibaut Spiwack, for one, behind the Michelin-starred Anona, serving modern French cuisine, and the culinary consultant for the popular Netflix series Emily in Paris , says that he is open for reservations.

“My team and I look forward to sharing a culinary experience with new clientele that I hope will remain in their memory,” he says.

Spiwack suggests that travellers check out other worthwhile restaurants where he himself dines. For terrific wine, there’s Lava, and for Italian, he likes Epoca where the pastas are “divine.” Janine is the best bistro in town, and Prima wins for a pizza fix, he says.

“You have a lot of restaurants in Paris to pick from,” Spiwack says. “You just need to determine where you want to go, and book as soon as you can.”