By Mariam Williams
Last week, as I was deleting my inactive profile from an online dating website I hadn’t visited in almost a year, I noticed this poll in the top right-hand corner of the page:
And here are the results:
It should be no surprise that 46% of respondents said, “It has no impact on my attitude about dating,” given that the poll was posted on a dating website. It was, however, something of a relief to me. Sort of.
As you could probably tell from the first screenshot, I checked, “I would be less motivated to date.” My situation could be an example of karma in action. For as long as I can remember, even several years before I actually started dating, I had a deal-breaker in my selection criteria: whatever he brings to the table must be equal to or greater than what I bring to the table. As a teenager, that meant that at the very least, he was goal-oriented, had a 3.9 GPA and had college aspirations. In college, the criteria was similar, but I learned that terms like “growing Christian” and “godly leader” had to be at the top of the list. That decreased the prospects somewhat, but still, I was surrounded by potential mates. And yet, the only man on campus (and maybe even in the whole city) who ever asked me out was one serving food in the buffet line of the residence halls’ food court. I didn’t bother to ask about his faith. Top-tier-private-school-educated woman that I was becoming at the time, I wouldn’t date him.
If you’ve kept up with this blog for a while, you know I haven’t had much full-time work or made very much money since I graduated from college. And by living in a state where only about one-third of the population has a college degree, demanding equal to or greater than is unrealistic. But I still want it. So much so that even this recession hasn’t affected my belief that giving my number to someone who is unemployed is a waste of breath. So much so that within the past year I have said, “I wouldn’t date me right now.”
I’ve been incredibly industrious in the past year and by no means idle. I’m a woman of noble character, a loyal friend, a multi-talented artist, and a fine example of God’s interest in beauty, and none of that has changed due to my employment status. But despite that last sentence, my confidence has waned a little. I’ve had to ask myself, “What can I really bring to the table?” And I’ve had to reevaluate what I require of someone else.
Unemployment has struck people in all occupations, at all levels of education and at all pay levels. The maximum benefit in Kentucky is $415 per week, so everyone’s income is closer to equal than it was when we were full-time employees, but does that mean I should accept the advances of the high school drop-out who was laid off from the city government’s street-sweeping staff? And if I meet an attorney who’s still making six figures, is that now too much greater than? I’ll be his intellectual peer, but what happens when we go to a party and his friends ask, “What does your girlfriend do for a living?”
I’ve been told that men don’t care about such things. When I began my subscription to the dating website, I lived in my mother’s house, and I dreaded having to disclose that information. I was told not to worry about it, since that scenario is always tolerable for a woman but never for a man once he graduates from college.
But it bothered me, probably a little bit more than my employment status does now. See, I at least want to look like I can take care of myself. The Proverbs 31 woman is, after all, an investor and merchant who has her stuff together. I want to be able to be the 21st Century woman who offers to pay, but what if he’s okay with that? For one of my aunts, that means he’s not getting a second date. For me, it means I’m short 30 bucks that I need, and I mean need, for something else. And if he’s also unemployed, where do we go for a date anyway?
It’s not just the money. It’s the uncertainty that comes with unemployment that makes it difficult. That feeling of not knowing when things will get better. That thought that maybe you’re not doing all that you can to help your own situation. The frustration with the pile of rejection letters. The burden of worry, the daily grind of job-hunting, the need to concentrate on your own needs, right now, that makes you self-centered. The self-centeredness that makes you a bad mate.
If I meet that attorney, will I start to feel worse about my own situation because he’s so successful? Will my resentment come out as mistreatment and ruin the relationship? Is a relationship worth getting into when you’re living life laid off? Take the polls and leave your comments below.
© Mariam Williams, aka The Pink-Slipped Girl, and The Pink Slip Blog – Living Life Laid Off, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mariam Williams and The Pink Slip Blog – Living Life Laid Off or http://livinglifelaidoff.com, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any use and/or duplication of any photo contained within this blog without express and written permission from Mariam Williams is strictly prohibited.