Writer and actress Mary McCarthy's Instagram account @notengaged, in which she documents her single life and ringless finger, first went viral in 2017. The 31-year-old New Yorker has accrued 163,000 followers with her tongue-in-cheek posts about the joys of being #NotEngaged. While the account began as an inside joke, McCarthy said, it's grown to be a platform for women to celebrate the different stages in their lives. McCarthy hopes to continue posting to the account throughout her own life stages — and to eat sushi on her couch to celebrate Valentine's Day.
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Mary McCarthy is constantly taking photos of her left hand — while voting, at hockey games, in front of charcuterie boards, on vacation in Greece. The 31-year-old New Yorker is not engaged, and famously so; her Instagram account @notengaged went viral in 2017 for its parody photoshoots of a bare ring finger in the wild. Photos of the traveling hand are accompanied by tongue-in-cheek captions about single life: "When ur #notengaged curled up on couch hangin' with plant and eatin' chocolate bars for dinner and ur so glad plant is a plant and not a 'joe' who 'can't find his socks' like, they're on ur feet joe lemme eat my chips," for example. The idea for the Instagram account was born in 2016 when McCarthy stopped for tacos on the way home from another engagement party. "I just texted my friend 'Not engaged, but at least I have tacos,'" she told Insider. "Two weeks later, I created an Instagram account as an inside joke between my friends and I. And then it just snowballed from there."
when ur #notengaged u devour some big ole tacos cuz ur a lady on the move and there’s no ring to hold u down mostly because u make this 👹face when u eat like im sorry but i got business jeff i don’t have time to properly eat with a fork and hear about ur basketball game 😓 #blessed also someone rsvp’d to my knot site as “tacos” and their plus one as “guacamole” and honestly 👏🏻👏🏻 ur invited to my real wedding which is never so sorry but also great joke xo A post shared by Not Engaged (@notengaged) on Apr 10, 2019 at 3:47pm PDT on Apr 10, 2019 at 3:47pm PDT
To date, the account boasts nearly 165,000 followers and extensive press. McCarthy appeared on Good Morning America, Sunrise Australia, and the Rachael Ray Show, among others. Ray even gifted the "very single" writer and actress a "not honeymoon" in the Dominican Republic. The account also inspired McCarthy to create a "not wedding" website with The Knot — an event that has received dozens of RSVPs and kind messages of good wishes. The greatest opportunity to arise from the viral fame, she says, is the chance to connect with other single women about fully embracing their current stages in life. "I've gotten to talk to so many incredible women across the world, really," she told Insider. "[They] send me their stories or just connect with me about what they're doing celebrating their singlehood or learning how to be single for the first time in a while."
when ur #notengaged and everybody is out with their baes fighting about holiday travel prices over soup and ur like “man it’s so tough to be alone going into the holidays im spending my night wandering book stores buying cookbooks and eating candy from my purse 👀” false it is not tough u make extra stuffing that’s so delicious aunt clara won’t have time to ask u who ur dating she’ll be shoveling it down u’ll be like “omg lol aunt clara slow down u crazy broad” aw she’s sleeping. u make great stuffing don’t u forget it xo #blessed A post shared by Not Engaged (@notengaged) on Nov 9, 2019 at 4:37pm PST on Nov 9, 2019 at 4:37pm PST
Those connections, she says, expanded the intentions of the joke account. "It definitely moved the needle about making it something of a celebration — being grateful for whatever stage of life you're in," McCarthy explained, "because there are gonna be highs and lows no matter what. And I think so often there's this sense of 'ugh I'm single and I'm lacking in this certain area,' but the truth is, there are so many things you can be doing when you're single." She particularly enjoys using her platform to encourage other women to pursue solo travel.
when ur #notengaged and u were able to get up early and do a three hour strenuous hike without anybody being like “but babe watch me swim” boy take a hike. with me. or don’t i don’t care im going anyway. attention plz if u do not get a photo of the blue domes ur flight will be cancelled xo #blessed ps saw several lady hikers out there doin it on their own yasssss YASSSSSS 💪🏻💪🏼💪🏽💪🏾💪🏿❤️💜💙💚💛🧡 A post shared by Not Engaged (@notengaged) on Jun 13, 2019 at 7:14am PDT on Jun 13, 2019 at 7:14am PDT
"I think those are the most exciting messages I get, where someone messages me saying 'I never thought of traveling alone, but I just booked a trip, and I'm excited to do this,'" she said. "I think that is such an empowering thing to do. It can feel very scary at first, but it's such an incredible journey, and I've done it a few times and highly recommend it." Ultimately, though, @notengaged serves as a fun writing exercise. "In some ways, I view it as a character because it's such a specific voice and it's partly me, partly this absurd person traipsing around New York City," McCarthy said. As for the future, the Instagram personality has some thoughts on how her famously single account could evolve with her relationship status. "I would definitely keep that @notengaged account if I were dating someone, and maybe there'd be some tongue-in-cheek stuff about my 'bae,' as they call them," she said. "If and when I ever do get engaged, I'm not sure what I would do [with the account]. I would definitely keep it at least in the realm of empowerment and owning where you are and the gratitude that comes along with that." McCarthy will have to get creative when generating future content; she claims she's photographed every corner of her apartment.
when ur #notengaged loungin on a cute lil cozy evening and u can put ur slippies on any chair u want cuz tyler isn’t here to “bebe i made a video montage” tyler i don’t want ur youtube channel i want passion and financial security stop dropping salsa on my velvet chairs #blessed A post shared by Not Engaged (@notengaged) on Nov 10, 2019 at 3:55pm PST on Nov 10, 2019 at 3:55pm PST
A relatively new addition to the account is a series of Instagram stories offering single life advice. Her Valentine's Day suggestion for a single person? "Eat a mountain of chocolate, watch every Bechdel [test]-passing movie," or "do absolutely whatever you want." McCarthy, herself, threw a February 13 Galentine's Day party for her closest friends — many of whom are married. The evening, she says, was just about "celebrating each other." February 14, however, will be a day true to the heart of @notengaged. "I'm gonna hang out on my couch with some sushi, and it'll be like any other Friday night." Read more: A single woman's Instagram account making fun of engagement photos is the most relatable thing you'll see today 7 science-backed reasons why you're better off being single The engagement ring styles everyone will be wearing in 2020, according to jewelry expertsJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: People are still debating the pink or grey sneaker, 2 years after it went viral. Here's the real color explained.
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