Unemployment & Masculinity (Rough Draft)

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Unemployment and Masculinity

Many times, I’ve heard the question on the radio or TV: “Does it bother you that your wife makes more money than you?” and wondered how someone could ask such a stupid question? Though an unbelievable, more than one time the interrogated uttered an even stupider sentence: “Yes.”

The fact that this is a question that our society even finds askable, shows how stupid and sexist we are. I would love to have a lover that could take me on trips to Europe and show me things I cannot afford myself. I’ll even stay home and play with the kids all day—sounds way better than drudging to a job I hate, in a cubicle without sunlight, staring at a computer all day. I’ve had sugar mamas before and it, is, AWESOME!

But seriously, I would never date someone because of their money. I’m too easily annoyed to be capable of spending time with someone I don’t like, but if I enjoy being with you and you want to go somewhere I can’t afford, so much that you want to pick up the check to make it happen—That doesn’t make me feel emasculated. If anything I feel sexy that you want to be with me that badly.

On the other hand, as an adult, I like to contribute my fair share to anything, whether financial, or dishwashing responsibilities, driving on a road trip, etc. And not just within romantic relationships, but among friends, family, or even strangers; If there is an elderly person on a packed bus, of course I’m going to give them my seat.

Being unemployed, I have often had to limit my decisions based on whether someone is going to pay for my ticket, meal, lap-dance (JK). and it makes me feel like a child. My dad has lately been paying for my meals whenever we eat out. To some people, this is very normal, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. I moved out after high school and for the past decade, I have always paid for my tickets, meals, etc. So for me, it is a status I’m not used to.

And I’m not talking about the occasional birthday, or special circumstance; right now, nearly %100 of my everything is being paid for by my family or friends. That is a bit emasculating to me. Especially in our highly capitalistic, highly materialistic culture. Not spending money, even if it’s on the internet when no one’s watching, can make you feel a little less human.

Of course, I’ve been privileged enough to have had spending money for most of my adult life, which created such juxtoposition with my current insolvency.

And what about dating? How am I gonna keep the conversation going on the first date when the icebreaker comes my way: “So what do you do?” and I halt the train with, “Nothing.” Surely many women are comfortable and generous enough to be with lovers who have no money, but to START dating someone? I’ve had to take every date to the Lincoln Park Zoo, cause it’s free. I know most of the large mammals by their names!

All jokes aside, it can be hard to ask for help, instead of “pull ourselves up by the bootstraps”. But sometimes, it is necessary, and sometimes it is even beautiful. I wish we could all take care of each other more often (when did this turn into a Disney movie?). Money is our god in this country—they say never lend a friend money, if you want to keep the friend—so it can be hard to feel valuable, worthwhile, beautiful, sexy, smart, or dignified when you have to ask, “Hey, can you spot me?” But it is humbling, an that’s always something all of us can use more of–I  know I can.

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