Monday, June 18, 2012

the love or money BLOW OFF

The year was 2001.  July.  Pre-9/11.  I was twenty years old and going to summer school in New York City.  I was walking home from the NYU gym one day when I met this guy walking his dog.  He was obviously older (28) and he struck up a conversation with me that ended in him asking me if I wanted to get a bite to eat-- right then and there.  It was all part of the luster of living in Manhattan...the guys were so forward and confident and it was SO different than living in Berkeley.  Even though I knew there was a possibility that he could be a serial killer and that he might kill me and feed me to his dog, I decided to take him up on his offer.  Ten minutes into our date, I realized this guy was extremely rich.

First of all, he lived in Tribeca which was not a cheap neighborhood.  Second, he was a hedge fund manager, pre-economic collapse.  He also happened to mention that David Bowie and Iman lived in his building and he drove a super fancy SUV in Manhattan.  Some girls would have fantasized about him being their husband right then and there, but I couldn't deal with it.  I just felt like we were in two very different life phases and I was also extremely turned off when he told me his favorite band was 3-11.  We had one more date after that and I never called him back.   

At the time, what a guy did for a living totally did not factor in to whether or not I wanted to date them. I was twenty and a student.  I was used to people with no money.  Also, I met the guy that would become my forever person when I was 25, so even in my post college years a guy's bank account was the last thing on my mind.  My longest relationship was with a cater-waiter.  I was way more likely to date a hot poor guy than a gross rich guy.

But, as I've gotten older-- and I might get a lot of shit for this-- I do think what a person does for a living is important.  Obviously, it's not at the top of the list of what matters, but it does have an impact on a relationship.  And full disclosure: this is coming from the girl who's had to rely on her man's salary for the last few months, during a writing dry spell.  (In my defense, the dry spell is now over and I will be making my own money again.  Phew).  Don't get me wrong: it's not necessarily the job that matters-- expenses go up, stock markets crash, people get laid off, homes get foreclosed on.  You can marry rich, but end up poor.  What matters more is being with a person who's ambitious and passionate and hard-working.  

I knew a girl who was in a relationship with a guy for several years who had almost everything she wanted.  He was kind, romantic, and totally devoted to her.  But, he was also in his 40s and hadn't had a real job in almost ten years.  She was a doctor.   She figured he would eventually get it together in terms of his career and that what he did for a living shouldn't matter to her.  But then they moved in together.  She was the one getting up every morning going to work and paying the rent, while he just sat around all day and made excuses for why he wasn't applying to jobs.  Eventually, his lack of drive permeated into other aspects of their relationship and she broke up with him.  On the flip side, I've also known guys who've avoided getting involved with women who don't know what they want to do with their lives and aren't working.   But I'm not sure all those guys would want their wives or girlfriends to make more money than them.

And on a totally different side of the spectrum, my neighbor told me a story about this couple he used to know.  The wife was extremely successful and made something like $3M/year.  Apparently, she made the husband feel like a total loser, because he made, get this-- only $1M/year.  They've since gotten divorced and his ego never recovered.  

Anyway, what do you guys think?  Does the whole money/career/job thing make it into your top five things that matter when it comes to relationships or is it the last thing on your mind?  Comment below.


  1. Look, it matters on some level. Not necessarily what their occupation is, but how you view money and how it differs.

    I have a beautiful friend who is the farthest thing from shallow. She had one simple request, "I just want the first call my boyfriend gets on Saturday morning not to be from the credit card agency." And as you get older and more sure of what you want in life, it's up to you how you divide expenses, but you need to make sure that your combined incomes can cover your lifestyle- whatever it maybe be: an annual trip to Burning Man or 5 kids in Ivy League schools. And if you aren't the primary contributor financially in a couple, you contribute in other ways.

  2. I find myself flirting with waiters, etc all the time and then I have to say "You are not dating the guy behind the Which Wich counter." And then I feel bad.

    I DO think it's important to be in a similar life situation. I think about dating younger and it's not an age thing - it's that I'm not dating a guy who is still in college. We're just living completely different lifestyles!

    I really just want to date a guy who doesn't sit on the couch on a weekday playing video games. And can at least split dinner when we go out.

    And send me flowers because I never get flowers (ok, I'll save it for another post).

  3. 311 was the deal breaker! Love it, you've always hated them! ha