Before I write an article about money and dating, let me propose a couple of given truths to work with:
1. Blogging-already a self-satisfied activity-is made ever more smug when-like I often do-individuals write about things using words like “life experiment,” “eco,” “cappuccinos” and “eco-ccinos” (wherein instead of frothing the milk, one takes it from a human teat and then let’s it curdle “au naturelle” in the window of one’s Brooklyn loft).
2. People who talk about “freedom from money” most often speak from positions of economic comfort, with their income providing for basics like food, health insurance, comfortable living. What they are really talking about is being relaxed about their disposable income.
3. Blogging about how money is unimportant is even more self-satisfied than blogging about how local your underwear is (I make mine from the wool of my pet rats).
3. I am really bad at dating. Really, really bad at dating.
You see, where I went to college, dating consisted of going up to your lover, and asking him or her or-in the case of Cameron Crow-lover, it-whether you wanted to watch a movie at your place or your date’s place. The town kingpins would sometimes take dates to Wendy’s-but only after they had both gotten sufficiently liquored up and begged a sober and annoyed friend to chauffeur them there.
This anemic dating scene should have proven a competitive advantage for folks like me, in that there was just less to screw up. You needn’t worry about taking your date to a place with too spicy food, or a bit of eco-formance art, wherein the audience gets sprayed by human milk.
That being said-I managed to convince one date to watch “Beneath the Planet of the Apes”, wherein Charleton Heston escapes into the abandoned New York subway system and discovers a telepathic race who worship a doomsday nuclear bomb known as “Alpha Omega”. That was on New Year’s Eve. Another date I invited over for a sexy evening that included “The Road Warrior”, the second film in the series by reformed-awesome star born-again anti-semite, Mel “Brooks” Gibson. The film did not answer “What made Max mad?” but it did, in hindsight, answer “what made Adam not get a second date?”
Flash forward several months and four attempts at a beard, and I find myself living a relatively meager existence in Brooklyn. I have been dabbling in minimalism-the hipster version of the little black dress-since May. Unfortunately, my asceticism, coupled with my two-year-old commitment to not buy anything new (including two year olds) failed to free me from a focus on money.
Allow me to break it down: At my best as a door man, I was making $15 an hour, which was more than enough to cover rent, food, and the odd drink at a bar. However, that job has been inconsistent since September, and I’ve been working for roughly half that, making $1200 a month. Factor in $475 for rent (since I now live with two other people) and about $240 a month for basic groceries, and I’m left with $485 a month. Thanks to the dreaded “Obamacare”, I am covered by my parent’s insurance plan until I’m 26.
Aside from obvious considerations of Brooklyn style, the reason I chose an ascetic-y lifestyle was in order to lower my overhead, and put other factors of my lifestyle first-ones that did not include making money for the sake of being able to purchase things. In a sense, I’m the world’s most selfish socialist-I make just about what I require to live comfortably and in security. However, I was still probably overly cautious with money-from May to December, I’d probably eaten out at a restaurant all of five times, and was obsessively cheap when it came to my diet-a lot of beans and rice, preferably in bulk.
I’ve been on a couple dates here and there, but having been raised by serious feminists thought it unnecessary and perhaps patronizing to pay for a date. At some point, I decided to try it, and decided to stop avoiding dates by suggesting science fiction movies, if only because I occasionally do want to give a shot a second date (and have seen most of the science fiction I want to see you).
Anyway, at the risk of pontificating too much-I’ve lowered my general costs, have mostly checked my consumerist impulses (probably more an effect of my upbringing than any conscious, principled effort I’ve made), and through dating have learned to be more relaxed about money and about spending it. Frankly, its nice to relax about it, have a nice and interesting meal, and enjoy a cappuccino not made with fermented breast milk.
I don’t have much to spend, but throughout this living deliberately experiment, one of my main goals was to choose a general lifestyle that forced me to go out and socialize, try new things, and spend less time holed up in my apartment watching pretentious indie movies on my laptop. Consciously working to relax about spending money in relation to going out and eating, or going to a museum, or an eco-formance art show, is something that I really not have been good at.
And the odd date here and there has helped work though that mentality-something I very much appreciate. Why live in New York City if you’re not going to engage in the collective cultural experimentation?
If you read this, and did not find this smug and boastful, please omit the sentences that sounded humble. As we all know, the sexiest man is one who doesn’t own a bed and thinks and boasts about his budget too much. That and a really extensive knowledge of science fiction films.