I got a message on Match the other day from a guy who is about four years younger than me. Now – I didn’t reply so everything I’m about to say is based on what I was able to surmise from his profile. To be fair, though, the profile was extensive, detailed, and basically gave the story of his life in one really long, run-on paragraph (that belied his claim of being a writer… but I digress) that left me knowing exactly what he was hoping to get off of a site like Match but with little else about the guy other than he nearly died once, about thirteen years ago, that he considers himself to be a “writer” and that he’s not “normal.”
At no point did he mention what he “does” for a living (other than being a writer) and I couldn’t help but assume, based on what I know about men (or at least men I’m attracted to) that he either doesn’t work at all or he is “in the market” which, these days, I’m realizing means that he’s not really interested in working.
He’s not the first guy I’ve come across who seems to sincerely be satisfied to live this kind of mindset – they either never got a job to begin with, or lost it (in many cases due to the pandemic, but not always), or feel that being “underemployed” is a slight on who they are as a person and therefore spend most of their adult lives pursuing the “perfect” job – content to live off of their parents, or their significant others, or someone else who is perfectly satisfied to foot the bill while they pursue a dream (or think about pursuing a dream… because the actual “launch” of that dream doesn’t happen).
These are the same guys who fail to keep jobs after a few months – like the men I talked about in a prior post, who become disenchanted with a relationship after the “new car smell’ wears off, these guys either job hop a lot (but never in an “upward” trajectory) or, more often, they’re let go from a position because of something that’s absolutely never, ever their fault (except that it happens a lot… and they’re the only common denominator).
Let me stop for a second and add a disclaimer: I understand that sometimes people lose their jobs. I’ve known several people who have. There’s no shame in that. And I’m not, in any way, shape, or form, pointing the finger at the people who do lose their jobs and then get RIGHT back out there and start looking for something else. I’m talking about the ones who DON’T start looking. Or who simply never start at all. The ones who constantly make excuses about why they “can’t” when, really, it’s not about why they “can’t” and more about why they “won’t.” The ones who refuse to try and then who seem to think I’m going to be okay with “learning to love” them and supporting them for the rest of our lives.
I don’t get it. Just… simply put… I don’t get it.
Like, I know that I PERSONALLY am not attracted to men who don’t work. And while I may have tolerated it for the better part of six years, I was never happy about it and if POS were here (and thank god he’s not), he’d tell you right the fuck now that I was absolutely not happy when he was unemployed (or not working… even when he “ran a business” he wasn’t working most of the time). I was stressed to the max, supporting two people. My “overachiever” tendencies were being thrown into a wall over and over because I would never get ahead and it’s because of his chronic unemployment that I’m in so much debt right now.
But… I mean… this seems to be a TREND. Or at least I’m seeing WAY more of it now than I ever saw growing up, or than I ever saw when I was in college or in my twenties.
When did it become acceptable to be unemployed? When did it become acceptable to choose “unemployment” over “underemployment” where, with underemployment, you are, at least, bringing home some kind of a paycheck? And when did it become okay for people who are basically living off of unemployment, or living off their significant other, or living off their parents, or living off some source of income that they’re absolutely not entitled to, to live high on the hog and go on vacations frequently while the rest of us slave away at our jobs?
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not jealous. I have a job that allows me unlimited PTO and I can literally work from anywhere. Meaning that I could go to Maui right now and still earn a paycheck. If I wanted to. And I do want to. Maybe someday I’ll make that a reality.
I’m just curious about when unemployment became a “marketable” quality. When did unemployment become something that was, if not acceptable to openly flaunt, at least acceptable to allude to on a dating site where (whether you admit it or not) you are really, basically, marketing yourself to potential partners?
And when did it become so normal that women aren’t turned off enough by it that they motivate the men who openly flaunt it to do better? Have we just normalized the fact that we’re going back to a single income household in an economy that is infinitely more expensive than it was seventy years ago? Have women become okay with being the breadwinners, but also the household keepers? Because in my experience, that didn’t change either.
I realize that this blog is more of a rant than something inspiring with solutions, but I’m genuinely perplexed by this. And if this is what is “normal” I guess, then, that what I’m looking like is absolutely NOT normal. Or maybe this is just who is left out there on dating sites. Or maybe this is something the pandemic unearthed.
I don’t know.
But what I do know is that, I guess, as part of the recalibration – and likely moreso because Geoff and The Professor showed me that there are “better” options out there – I’m convinced that I shouldn’t have to settle. Not that I would, at this point.
I just wonder how long it’s going to take me to find him. Or if I’m just simply looking in the wrong places.