I got in a bit of a debate with a group of friends recently and, as someone who’s never been great at debating in person, I figured I’d take to my blog to really argue my case and reassure myself that I’m not the complete wanker my friends suddenly seem to think I am.
The debate all started when I admitted that when using online dating apps, I often swipe left on men who have what I imagine is a low income job/they probably earn close to minimum wage. I’ll be the first to admit this makes me sound like an absolute right wing monster snob but as regular Can’t Swing a Cat readers will know, I’m no Tory scumbag or capitalist twat. In fact, I’m a borderline socialist snowflake with extremely left-wing views. So, why do I swipe left on guys with low income jobs? Let me explain…
I know what I want and I know it requires money to get there
There are a lot of things I want from life. I want to upgrade from a flat to a house one day. I want to turn this blog into a full time business. I’d like to get to a stage where I can go on multiple holidays a year. If I have children, I want to stay at home and raise them. woah feminist contradiction alert. I want to become financially free at an early age and don’t want to be working into my 70s or 80s.
The independent woman in me says that I should strive to do all this stuff alone. Be the CEO your mum told you to date, it says. But, I’m also realistic and I know that’s easier said than done.
So, if I am going to date or marry anyone, I like the idea of him being someone who is in a position to work towards my goals with me. I’m not looking for a sugar daddy or someone to pay for me and my lifestyle. I just want someone who can pay for his own lifestyle and someone who can afford to do the same things I want to do. I would like to find someone who can afford to eat out with me. Someone who can afford to travel with me. Someone who isn’t forced to live pay-cheque to pay-cheque through absolutely no fault of his own.
Dya know what? I don’t even earn tons of money myself. I’m a copywriter living in Manchester and I earn the salary of a copywriter living in Manchester. So trust me when I say that I don’t even have very high expectations here. I’m not insisting that I only date lawyers or doctors or pilots because they’d probably find that I was financially unable to do many of the things they wanted to do. If I told you the minimum salary I’d ‘accept’ you’d probably be like “Giiirl, he doesn’t even have enough to buy a house in Harpurhey and go on holiday to Benidorm once every other year.”
I’ve accepted that hard work isn’t always enough to get to where you want to be
YOU MIGHT BE THINKING… BUT JENNI, WHY DON’T YOU JUST WORK SO HARD THAT YOU EARN ALL THE MONEY YOU NEED YOURSELF. THEN YOU CAN DATE A GUY WHO WORKS AT TESCO IF THAT’S WHO YOU WANNA DATE?
Maybe if I was a doctor and earning upwards of £60,000 a year I could marry a guy who works at Cash Generator without any worries, but I chose the writing life and unless I hit the jackpot like E.L. James, getting as rich as I’d like to be is going to be a struggle.
I’ll work my arse off in a desperate attempt to achieve these things but I’ve gotten to a stage now where I’ve accepted that hard work isn’t always enough. Fans of capitalism will act like all you need to do is work hard and you’ll eventually get rich just like they did. It’s an absolute lie and the world is set up for the rich to get richer while the poor sweat it out at the bottom for very little in return.
I worked really hard to buy my own home but there are thousands of people across the country who worked just as hard as I did and they still can’t buy a place because they don’t have the financial safety net (bank of mum and dad) like I did.
A few days ago one of my pals came to visit me and I told her how I feel like I’ve cheated my way into this flat. I feel like I don’t deserve it. There are so many people out there working themselves into the ground and yet there I was, moving in with my parents so that I didn’t have to pay proper rent to a landlord. A pal of mine recently moved into a tiny bedroom in a house he shares with five strangers including a man in his 60s who’d just been through a divorce and couldn’t afford to rent a place on his own. Imagine being in your 60s and having to rent a place with a bunch of 25-year-olds because you’re so broke you literally have no other option.
I don’t know about you but I want to do everything I can to avoid finding myself in that situation. Therefore, my action plan involves earning as much as I can and saving as much as I can. Okay yeah, my plan isn’t particularly detailed just yet. I’ll work it out later. But I’m not going to make life harder for myself and sacrifice my dreams so that I can date an overworked and underpaid care worker who, despite doing God’s work and deserving the world and fucking more, has fallen victim to the Tory government’s shambolic cuts through absolutely no fault of his own.
I don’t want to date someone on minimum wage because no one should be on minimum wage
As horrible as it sounds for me to whisper the words: ‘I don’t want to date someone on minimum wage’, it comes from a good place. I don’t want to date someone on minimum wage because I know first hand it’s a fucking awful way for a person to live. I find it absolutely insane that we have something called a Living Wage in this country and yet employers aren’t forced to pay it.
The Living Wage is defined as ‘a wage that is high enough to maintain a normal standard of living’ and yet it’s estimated that by 2020, 10% of the UK workforce will still be earning the minimum wage. Does that not seem crazy to you? Whether someone is a shelf stacker, a care worker, a bin collector or a cleaner, surely they deserve to earn enough to live a normal standard of living? Is it not a bit inhumane for us to expect people to get a degree or ‘start from the bottom and work their way up‘ before they deserve to earn enough to live their damn lives?
This country treats poor people like dirt and, while I’ll keep fighting for that inequality to end, I’m going to do what I can to avoid falling victim to it myself.
Someone’s salary or job won’t stop me falling in love with them
If we made all my ex boyfriends and crushes stand in a line, it’d be every middle class mother’s worst nightmare. Well, aside from the trainee doctor who, despite being a monumental prick, my mum would definitely have encouraged me to marry had she met him.
I’ve been out with checkout boys, struggling artists, and wannabe musicians who were postponing sensible full time work in anticipation of their big break. Their career choices and lack of money didn’t make them any less amazing to me. In my opinion, your average working class person is usually so much more interesting than your typical white business man who puts his success down to hard work and perseverance alone, while completely ignoring the fact that a little bit of luck and privilege may have played a role too.
My longest relationship was with a man who was unimpressed by wealth, status and success. He didn’t think of himself as better than anyone else and he didn’t think anyone else was better than him.
However, although I loved these things about him, in hindsight, we had too many financial differences and these financial differences made us immensely incompatible. Despite walking around like a heart eyed emoji for the entirety of our relationship, in a strange way, I was settling for him. He was settling for me too. It works both ways.
I was sacrificing so much to be with him and I never want to do that again. You know my list of dreams? I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to do all those things with a man at my side who wants the same fucking things and perfectly complements them. Surely that’s the minimum I should be looking for? Dating a man who prevents me from getting what I want out of life, whether it’s intentional or unintentional, is settling, surely? Just as it would be settling if a man was to date a woman who was constantly pestering him to want more than what he actually wanted.
You can’t enter a relationship wishing for them to change
When I say that I swipe left on guys with minimum wage jobs, one of the most common replies I get from my friends who, coincidentally are fortunate enough to be dating, engaged or married to men in well paid careers, is “but that might change in the future. They might not be on minimum wage forever.”
That’s definitely true. But personally, I think it’s unfair on both parties for someone to enter a relationship hoping for the other person’s financial circumstances to change. What if the guy I go on a date with happens to like being a barista? It would be ridiculous for me to start a relationship with him in the hope that his grandma suddenly kicks the bucket and leaves him a wad of cash that he can use to buy a coffee shop of his own.
When you’re swiping away on Tinder, you need to be choosy
I find it interesting how, when given control of my phone, my friends won’t hesitate to swipe left on guys who look like Jonah Hill’s character in the 40-year-old-virgin but as soon as I swipe away from someone who works part time in a supermarket, I’m a massive arsehole.
When it comes to swiping away on Tinder, you need to find shallow ways to rule people out because if you didn’t rule people out, you’d end up having to go on a date with every single Tom, Dick and Harry on there. And who has the money for that?!
This is the time to be choosy as fuck because you have no emotional attachment to these people whatsoever. If I spent a year with a guy who was earning a decent wage and he suddenly lost his job, I’m not exactly going dump him because presumably, I’d be in love with the fucker at that stage. But on Tinder, when all I can see is a guy’s picture, his age, his job title, and his Uber rating, it’s the perfect time to be ruthless.
Men won’t hesitate to pie me off for ridiculous reasons
From my goofy laugh to my feminist rants, there are a lot of things about me that could potentially get under a guy’s skin. And dya know what? The majority of guys wouldn’t hesitate to bin me off at the first sign of something that didn’t meet their standards. So hell yeah I’ll reject guys who don’t meet my own. We owe one another nothing!
Struggling financially is exhausting
When I lived in a rented flat, saving money was hard and exhausting. I spent so much time outside of my 9-5 working on other money making projects that I wasn’t really living my life.
When I moved back in with my parents again, things kind of became easier. I could breathe again and I no longer felt this immense pressure to work all the time.
The medicine that made me feel better was privilege. The privilege that came with living with mum and dad, along with the fact I no longer needed to pay essential living costs, save for the future, and bail my boyfriend out every time he ran out of money helped to lift a weight off my shoulders. It gave me breathing space. It gave me the opportunity to sleep. It allowed me to binge watch Chicago Fire until I had the tiniest crumb of faith in humanity again.
Telling someone to settle for less than they want is insulting
I find it insulting when people suggest I should settle for less than I want in a man. Like do they think I’m some kind of loser who is so desperate to find someone that I’ll sacrifice everything I want in life just so I’m not alone? No thank you. I also wonder whether I’m told to settle because people think that if I don’t settle, I’ll end up alone forever. It’s like I couldn’t possibly attract the type of man I want to be with. It’s like I’m asking for too much.
Over the last few years I’ve learned to really love being alone and I’ve learned that getting myself a boyfriend for the sake of it will not solve all my problems. I’ve also learned that being in a relationship with someone who you’re not suited to can leave you both more unhappy than you’d be if you were alone. And so I’ll be single until I find someone who slots into my life perfectly.
I’m not for a second suggesting that you too should swipe left on guys who work at Subway. The heart wants what the heart wants and if you’re really not arsed about your partner’s income, great. The important thing is that we all take time to identify what we’re looking for in a partner and we refuse to settle for less than we want and need. My pet hate is when one person tells another person that they should lower or change their standards, when that person’s standards is absolutely none of their concern. So I won’t tell you to change yours.
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