Category Archives: Dating and Relationships

Love while living life laid off 2 – Is looking for love worth it when you’re unemployed?

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:

poll on dating in recession

And here are the results:

poll on dating in recession answers

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.

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© 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.

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Love while living life laid off – What if I were married right now?

By Mariam Williams

I recently pondered what my life would be like now if I had married the man I had been steadily dating a few years before I began living life laid off.

This man has always been very good at making money.  He is a self-described elitist, with an affinity for life’s finer things.  He’s attracted to ambitious, goal-oriented, career women, but has always been determined to make so much money that his wife’s career is a choice.

At first I thought about how wealthy I would be right now, how lucky I would feel to not have to accept unemployment compensation from the government, to not have to jump through all the hoops that go along with keeping it, to not have to look for a job each day or to not feel discouraged by the number and quality of the job openings.  My husband would have health insurance from his job, and he would attach me to his benefits.  I would have a better quality of life.

But then I remembered: my ex-boyfriend lost more than six figures when Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008.  He laid off the entire workforce of his small company, and his cash ran short.  So had we gotten married, instead of feeling the security I had first pictured, I would quite possibly have more worries and more responsibility because I would have more to lose than I do now.  Instead of making rent on a two-bedroom apartment, I would be concerned about the bank foreclosing on a 4,000-sqare foot house, because that’s the kind of lifestyle we would have lived.  I would be taking our children out of private school, or asking my mother, mother-in-law, or grandmothers to reignite their babysitting senses to keep from having to pay for daycare.  I would be dealing with a husband who was feeling like a failure because he couldn’t keep up the lifestyle we were used to, even though all that we would still be able to do would be more than what most people even dream about.  But his stress would be causing a strain on our marriage, and we might be headed toward divorce.

Or, we might be going for broke, inebriated with the power that comes from having nothing to lose.  I might be telling him some of my wilder business ideas and hearing him say, “Let’s do this thing!” He would be saying, “Let’s,” because he would want to be a partner, advisor and investor.  He would tweak some of the less creative ideas to make them more viable, or he would be inspired to reinvent himself as I reinvented myself.  It’s possible that we both would have come up with something brilliant that would take us off of the employment hiatus and reinforce the bond of marriage.

The thoughts remind me of a line from “The Necklace,” a short story by Guy de Maupassant.  There are many translations of the story and the line, but the one I remember is this: “How fickle life is!  How little it takes to make or break you!”

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© 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.

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The end of consumerism? Part 4 – Let us cease the devaluation of humanity

by Mariam Williams

This morning, Good Morning America featured a piece about trends in teen sexuality as depicted in the documentary, Oral Sex is the New Goodnight Kiss. Pre-teen and teenage girls are engaging in everything from oral sex to prostitution.  Of the clips shown this morning, the footage of two particular girls has stayed in my mind: The girl who said she figured if she was going to have sex anyway, she “might as well get paid for it,” and the one who described offers of $20 for taking off her shirt or $100 for dancing on a table.

True, I can figure out how to make just about anything apply to this blog, the economy, and unemployment, but really, this topic fits.  At least, it goes well with my previous harps on consumerism and my over-reaching predictions about its end.  These young prostitutes apply to this blog because filmmaker Sharlene Azam said “the prettiest girls from the most successful families” are most at risk for this behavior.  Their parents aren’t those living life laid off; they’re just the people—or friends of the people—whose greed helped put our country in crisis.  (More on this after the definitions.)

After my dad read my post about the lure of an easy life through a sugar daddy relationship, he expressed interest in hearing my thoughts on what he calls “the psychologically programmed consumerist commercialism at the root of the whole phenom and the possible social consequence of its relentless, vapid, amoral, vampirish soul rape of bling-blinded youth.” (Does that sentence make so much about me make sense or what?)

About a month and a half ago, I read his comment again and focused on the word “consumerist.”  I looked up its root, “consume” (emphasis not mine):

transitive verb

1: to do away with completely : DESTROY

2 a: to spend wastefully : SQUANDER b: USE UP

3 a: to eat or drink especially in great quantity  b: to enjoy avidly : DEVOUR

4: to engage fully : ENGROSS

5: to utilize as a customer

intransitive verb

1: to waste or burn away : PERISH

2: to utilize economic goods”

I looked up “consumer”:

“: one that consumes: as

a: one that utilizes economic goods

b: an organism requiring complex organic compounds for food which it obtains by preying on other organisms or by eating particles of organic matter”

The cultural attitudes are manifesting themselves in 11-year-old prostitutes, but the bling blinded most of us.  Here’s what I think happened: a few brilliant people—owners of retail and real estate corporations for the most part—paid a few other brilliant people to convince us that we had to have it.  Our lives were incomplete without the car, house, pool, clothes, jewelry, handbags, gadgets, weave, beauty treatments, and gourmet food those few brilliant people were selling.  Things could fill voids in our lives.  Things could make us happy.  Not having enough money to get the things didn’t matter to most of us; happiness was attainable, even if it was only via loans and credit.  More brilliant people profited off our mismanagement and became people whose lives were incomplete without the money to get the things, and more money on top of that.  To those same people, the people using credit also became things.  They weren’t even customers anymore, just 9 or 16-digit numbers whose rates needed to be raised.  Ways to consume more.  Means to an end.  Prey to be devoured.  Pre-teen girls to use.  Teen boys and men to get cash from.  We might as well.

Many who opposed our President’s economic stimulus plan claimed they were horrified by the burden of debt and taxes that government spending would leave to future generations.  Seeing girls of any economic status or social class approach the removal of their clothes for $20 with nonchalance horrifies me, and not just because I hate to see women objectified.  It horrifies me because the STDs these girls may spread won’t help a healthcare system that’s already insufficient for a civilized nation.  It horrifies me because these girls won’t even notice that particular social consequence because they’ll probably marry affluent men who can afford the best healthcare.  It horrifies me because seeing people as a means to an end prevents you from seeing people’s needs.  It blinds you to the compassion needed to address the health and wealth disparities in our society and to radically change the consumerist economy that we have proven will crumble when any one element—wages, jobs, credit, responsible repayment of debt, or an insatiable craving for frivolity (consumer confidence)—is removed from the equation.

Equation.  That word indicates a call for balance.  Most viewers’ comments on the story faulted lackadaisical parenting, abstinence teaching, and generational immorality.  A few saw it as a cry for attention to parents who have been too busy working to watch their kids.  Others saw no difference between this and previous generations.  If girls whose parents already have money feel they might as well dance on tables for $100, I think it goes deeper than moral deficiency, and that it’s worse than lonely kids who just want love.  It’s a devaluation of humanity that will continue to perpetuate and is perpetuated by the idea that enough is always just a little bit more.

CONSUME

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© 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.

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Maybe I could be a freelance kink worker … (a follow-up to “How far would you go to stop living life laid off?”)

by Mariam Williams

Hey, I wouldn’t have to stay in it forever, I don’t have to be inherently kinky to make a profit from it, and I could even leave intercourse out of the equation.

“… professional women whose cubicle-bound careers have been downsized are entering Linda’s corner of the “gig economy” — a corner that involves whips, ropes, and occasionally, nipple clamps.” — from Downsized Nine-to-Fivers Turn to Kinky Sex Work, by Tracy Quan, The Daily Beast. Read the whole story.

New terms I learned today:

  1. gig economy
  2. Freelance kink work
  3. pro domme
  4. nipple clamps

The nipple clamps I just can’t do, but maybe you could. Leave a comment or take the poll and tell me how far you would go to stop living life laid off (or to supplement your income if you’re just under-employed, or if you’re not laid off but are otherwise unemployed, etc).

© 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.

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How far would you go to stop living life laid off?

by Mariam Williams

Last week, I saw a story on Good Morning America about the modern meaning of Sugar Daddies. At the end of the video, reporter Andrea Canning said, “So money can’t buy you love, but it can buy financial freedom. These websites say they’re actually seeing a spike in the number of members with the shaky economy – unemployed women looking for an easy way out.”

As I find fewer jobs each week that will hold my interest for longer than a month or that will be a step up in pay or skill level, and the expiration date for my unemployment benefits looms closer each day, I start to wonder how I’ll feel when the deadline actually arrives. I picture the humiliation of begging the state for an extension in benefits. I don’t know what the process is, but I can see a meticulous investigation into my job-seeking efforts for the past six months … A hearing of some sort to determine whether or not I looked hard enough for new employment … An official from the Office of Employment and Training telling me I will be required to lower my standards, to accept a salary below the requirements I originally stated on my unemployment benefits application and to accept work outside of my field … Sending the 30 days written notice to my landlord … Selling all the possessions that I won’t need in my mother’s house … Posting a picture of myself in full makeup and a form-fitting shirt, baby shorts, and stilettos onto a Sugar Daddy website … Surprising my landlord with six months’ worth of rent and a description of the new car now occupying my parking space … Hanging my head in shame the first time I see my Sugar Daddy out in public with his wife …

Nope. Not going there.

It’s not exactly a question of morality, and it’s not the Sugar Baby’s morals I want to debate. I willingly admit to occasionally having used feminine wiles to lure an unsuspecting (and sometimes fully knowing) man into paying for my drink, my dinner, or a movie. In the name of the semi-full, slightly narcissistic disclosure and invited voyeurism that having your own blog promotes, I’m also willing to admit that if I hadn’t found the job from which I am now laid off, my next step would have been to either join an escort service or start my own. (And I mean an overpriced date, not a prostitute.) But this time, I’m not willing to go there.

This time, I’m finally in a place where I’ve tried enough jobs that I thought would be careers to know much of what I don’t like. I haven’t zeroed in on the perfect combination of what I do like – at least, the scope isn’t precise enough for me to throw tens of thousands of dollars at tuition towards a masters degree somewhere – but I’m getting there. More importantly, I’m learning about God’s faithfulness and provision, and about my own spending habits that need[ed] to be corrected. I’m also rebuilding my confidence in my skills, gifts, intuition, and abilities. I know how to make an old apartment more energy efficient without asking the landlord to do massive, costly repairs that he wouldn’t do anyway. I’m writing consistently, for an audience of more than one, and helping other adults who haven’t written in years. I can sense, even from descriptions filled with euphemisms for boring, clerical duties, when I won’t like a job (and I don’t apply for it). And I’m able to withstand many quiet hours alone with my computer and a daily ambush of new ideas about what to do next. As much as I would like free rent and a new set of Manolos to go with it, a Sugar Daddy couldn’t buy me the perspective I’m gaining while I’m living life laid off.

However, I realize that this isn’t everyone’s point of view and that my relatively simple financial situation is probably not the standard. So if you’re registered on a Sugar Daddy website, contemplating becoming an escort, or otherwise thinking out of the box, leave a comment! How far would you go to stop living life laid off?

© 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.

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