June 20, 2017

Are you a DINK?

When I grew up in the Adirondacks, a “dink” was a pejorative term for a dullard or a goof ball. “Don’t be such a dink!”

But the acronym, DINK, is something else altogether. It stands for double income, no kids. In other words, a DINK is a two-career childless family. Whether or not the couple is married is beside the point. It’s the absence of children that sets DINKs apart from most “normal” families.

Today a two-career family is common. In fact, it may even represent the norm in the United States. But the decision not to have children? Not the norm. It’s this idea of normalcy that seems to transcend the two dink definitions, the slang from my childhood and the acronym from my adulthood.

“Don’t be such a dink!”

As an educated, hard-working, married adult in my late 30’s I hear it all the time. Maybe not those words, maybe less hostile, maybe couched in patronizing tones, but the underlying idea is still there. If you and your spouse opt not to have children, you’re not normal. Not necessarily a dullard. But perhaps a goof ball. Or maybe my wife and I haven’t quite discovered where babies come from yet? Late bloomers? Fertility woes? Misanthropes? Hedonists?

Actually, I love children. As an uncle to two magnificent nieces who spent the Christmas holiday with us; as an uncle to two dynamo nephews with whom I enjoyed dinner last night and nine energetic days in Costa Rica a week ago; and as a teacher, coach and adviser to middle and high school students at Santa Fe Preparatory School (1996-9) and the American School of Paris (1999-2002) children occupy a central, essential and rewarding place in my life. So why have my wife and I chosen not to have children? The answers are multiple (lifestyle, environmental, financial, etc.) and evolving. I’ll endeavor to answer this question in my future blog posts, and in the process, I hope to better understand and verbalize my choice.

What’s your choice? Are you a DINK? (Share your thoughts in the Facebook DINK discussion.)

About virtualDavis

G.G. Davis, Jr. (aka virtualDavis) is a writer, storyteller, unabashed flâneur and eager-beaver uncle. Despite two whiz-bang nieces, two superstar nephews, and rewarding teaching/coaching stints at the American School of Paris and Santa Fe Preparatory School, he remains willingly, enthusiastically and happily childfree. His WNK posts are part of an ongoing attempt to understand why. Rosslyn Redux, a transmedia chronicle about rehabilitating an historic property in the Adirondacks, offers a more ironic twist on his childfree adventure. He also blogs at virtualDavis.com and EssexonLakeChamplain.com. Connect with G.G. Davis, Jr. via Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

Comments

  1. I love this! I had no idea what a ‘dink’ was! Know what’s so funny about this? There are plenty of DINKs where we live in the SF Bay Area. In fact, it’s almost considered a sin if you have “too many” children. I’ve been so politically correct, nodding my head in compassionate agreement and empathy when people tell me all the reasons they don’t want to have children,and have been given so much crap by thier parents about it. But I was completely gobsmacked when one ‘childfree’ couple made this comment to my husband and me, “So, why do you have so many kids?” Aren’t you ashamed of your carbon footprint?”

    Funnily enough, George, that prompted me to write my own blog post on this subject:
    http://patriciasopinion.com/2008/09/15/why-do-you-have-so-many-kids/

  2. PVD, great comment! And glad to hit home. Thanks for taking the time to read, to comment, to share your own post. I’m headed off to read your response to the “Why so many kids?” question. I expect nothing less than smart, amusing and zany from you! 😉

  3. Linda Dolly says:

    Ahhh yes, everyone wants to know what goes on in the minds and bodies of the couples without children.

    As well as an acronym for (Double Income No Kids) your article is correct that there are other tones to the word DINK.

    You described “DINK” as a dullard or goofball. In my childhood, there could be an added subtext to the word. At times being called a ‘dink’ meant that the person was one of envy, therfore a goofball etc.

    For example ( Alice just landed a sweet apartment in the middle of Paris, what a dink!)

    With this use of the word in mind, I always assumed the person who came up with the acronym had some envy about what is would mean to have two incomes and no children.

    As a side note, before I was married my brother called me SINK, (Single Income No Kids).

    I look forward to your next article as you delve into what DINK means as it pertains to you and your wife.

  4. Linda, I’ve never heard “dink” used to express envy, but I LOVE it. That’s perfect! It makes perfect sense to me that the original acronym dubber might have built this catchy epithet on the back of longing and jealousy. Am I showing my colors? 😉 I wonder if SINK has a broader circulation than just the Dolly clan. It’s catchy. As is STINK (single tawdry income, no kids) and NINK (no income, no kids)… Who knew acronyms could make such good T-shirt designs?!?! Thanks for your interest in Susan and my DINK story, it’ll unravel in the days and weeks ahead, starting out with Susan’s first blog post. She read me a draft this afternoon and I nearly choked on my spinach salad. That funny! Stay tuned.

  5. Julianne Schloat says:

    George,

    I never post on websites, but my impassioned defense for why I said yes to kids just poured out of me. This is certainly not an argument for why you or anyone else should have a child, but simply why I felt so compelled. And, heck, I may even have another one, environment be damned!

    Why I have a child…

    After making the informed and deliberate decision to have a child, nine months of taking the best care of myself that I ever have in my life, 20 hours of labor, and three hours of pushing my son from my body, I feel more powerful and independent and serene than I ever have in my life. The confidence I have in myself as a woman is completely unshakable. I know that I can survive any physical challenge put in front of me and conquer it with grace and bravery. I have more patience, compassion and joy than I ever thought possible. I also have a greater understanding of gut-wrenching fear. The thought of losing my son is unbearable.

    I believe that the child my husband and I created was made from love, and that he is the greatest achievement of our relationship. When he smiles or snuggles in for a bedtime song, the look my husband and I share of simple understanding and shared joy reminds us that our bond is unbreakable. The times when I peek in on my husband wrestling on the floor with our son or I hear him singing Dudley hymns on the monitor, I fall more in love with the man I married.

    I have had the great privilege of peeking behind the curtain of life, and I have zero regrets. I thought I loved my friends, my family, and even my husband, with my whole heart, but now I know that the feelings I have for the creature I carried in my body for almost a year and made the greatest sacrifices for from the moment he was conceived are more than love. They are the kind of feelings that can make me cry just saying his name.

    There are mornings when he wakes at 6:30am that I wish I could sleep just a little bit later. There was the time he threw up all over himself in the car that made me cringe. (By the way, my husband sacrificed his favorite shirt to pick him up covered in puke, because he could see the fear in his eyes). Those are the sometimes-messy facts of life, and they never, I mean never, make me regret the best decision I have ever made.

  6. Wow! Great comment, Julianne. Thanks for articulating so clearly, so powerfully what it feels like to be a mother. My own mother would agree with you. Her thoughts on having children and being a parent are the single most persuasive reasons I’ve ever heard for having kids. Your look under the proverbial hood (motherhood, that is) resonates deeply and beautifully with the experience my mom describes. And I know you and your husband well enough to be confident that your son is lucky indeed. An infant already committing Camp Dudley songs to heart and memory is guaranteed a GREAT life. Kudos to both of you, and thanks for letting your passionate perspective pour out! :~)

  7. I’m part of a SINK couple. He works, and I stay home. I’m sure people think I need to get a job, but we’re both happy this way.

Trackbacks

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