Mary McCarthy’s left hand has thousands of followers on Instagram and has now landed her a spot on the "Rachael Ray Show.”
McCarthy, who was raised in Massapequa, created the parody Instagram account @notengaged in 2016, when all her friends and peers seemed to be getting married, she said. She had been a bridesmaid “for about the millionth time” when she snapped a photo of her ring-less left hand in front of her lunch, a plate of tacos. She texted it to her friends with the caption: “When you’re not engaged but you have tacos.”
It’s a riff on an Instagram mainstay, the engagement post. The newly engaged will often share a series of photos on the platform to announce their plans to marry: a fiance on one knee, the couple locking lips and the bride-to-be’s left hand — her fingers manicured, wearing a shiny, new engagement ring.
McCarthy, 30, wanted to make light of the trope with her account, which has more than 50,000 followers. She appeared on the “Rachael Ray Show" on Wednesday and on "Good Morning America" last month to talk about the project.
She has posted hundreds of photos of her left hand with her ring finger bare and a tongue-in-cheek caption. The posts often take aim at sexist stereotypes, McCarthy said.
One caption for a photo of her hand in front of a skillet reads: “when ur #notengaged and u don’t have a husband to chase with a frying pan so u can put ur cookware to practical use like make a five course meal for four that u will eat alone on ur couch binging @queereye chipped nails and all.”
The photos are meant to amuse, but McCarthy said she also hopes they help other women celebrate being single. McCarthy, an actor who lives in New York City , said she’s received dozens of appreciative messages from young women who feel pressured to settle down or find a partner.
“I try to make it a little like more empowering, where it’s kind of a joke about how much content is out there about marriage,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy’s father, Kevin McCarthy, said he first learned of the project this summer when he noticed her taking photos of her hand while they were on a boat. When she showed him the account, he thought it was hilarious.
“I think it’s very funny,” said Kevin McCarthy, a retired NYPD detective. “I’m very proud of her to see this explode the way it has been.”