An imaginary conversation about letters of reference

Remember how I told you that I thought people should have to provide references in first dates?

No.

You never listen.

Yes I do, but I can’t be expected to keep up with every one of your insane ideas.

Some people like my ideas.

No they don’t.

Are you sure?

The men, anyway. They just pretend to like your ideas because they want to fuck you.

All of them? I don’t think so.

Some of them. The ones pretending to like your insane ideas.

You don’t have a very high opinion of how men think. Also, I don’t like that you are dissing my creative ideas.

Insane.

Quirky.

You know how a lot of men think.

Yes. And that is why I had this new idea!

I can’t wait to hear it.

I’ll pretend that was sincere and tell you: I think we should get sexual letters of reference from past lovers upon separation so new lovers know what to expect.

Dear gods.

What? Don’t you think it would be helpful?

No.

Star rankings like high school athletes?

You’ve lost your mind entirely.

You don’t think I should bring this up on dates?

Are you kidding me?

Yes.

Good.

Mostly.

It’s a terrible idea.

Well, it does have some challenges.

Some?

Sure. Like how would someone know the references were real and sincere?

Among other things.

Or, a past lover could torpedo your sexual future by giving a bad reference.

The logistics alone make this impossible.

Well, I think it has a lot of possibilities.

I doesn’t. No possibilities at all.

The reviews could be posted online.

No. Who would pay for hosting?

People who want to have sex.

So you’d have some sort of legal mandate on that?

Good point. That could be tricky.

There is no scenario in which this is anything but crazy.

You’re so unwhimsical.

Your idea isn’t whimsical, it’s batshit-ical.

Aren’t you ever curious though?

Of course. That’s part of the fun. Waiting to find out.

I suppose you’re right. If you knew ahead of time, all of that fun teasing and delayed gratification would be pointless.

Is it ever pointless?

Not if it’s done well.

An imaginary conversation about premature excitement

So I met someone I really had fun talking to the other day.

Where did you meet?

The usual top secret online location.

Oh.

Try not to sound so openly disgusted.

I thought you meant you’d really met someone.

Yeah, I should figure out a way to be more clear about that. How ’bout “I online met someone fun the other day?”

Better, but the whole online dating thing still baffles me.

You aren’t the only one. It baffles some of the people doing it, too.

You keep saying that.

This guy didn’t seem baffled. He was funny, could use actual words and threw a cold reference to “Get Happy” at me.

Elvis Costello?

Yep.

Uh-oh.

Right?

You realize that a mutual love of a certain performer is not an indicator of compatibility.

No?

No.

Huh. Well it doesn’t matter because I told him about my blog so it’s over.

What do you mean?

It’s sort of a jinx.

In what way?

Remember the guy who read the whole thing end to end? And the other guy who got so freaked out that he texted me in the middle of the night to tell me he didn’t want to see me again because I was too much?

Yeah, but you weren’t into either of them.

True, but wouldn’t reading my blog mean that he’ll have all of my secrets ahead of time?

So?

So it’s like giving someone an emotional gun pointed right at my head.

You don’t think that’s overstating things?

Don’t I always?

Not infrequently.

Well, anyway my thinking at the time was that if he read it and hated me in it then I’d rather know now.

Like what the hell?

Yeah. I am reinforcing my belief that trust should be my default position.

But some people suck.

So I’ve noticed. But some people don’t. Most people are at least decent human beings. A few are human beings who don’t think I’m some kind of weirdo.

But you *are* some kind of weirdo.

OK, then. A few are human beings who like me because I’m the kind of weirdo they like.

Or love.

Right. Ultimately, someone should love me because I’m their kind of weirdo.

You make it sound…

Weird?

I was trying not to say it.

It’s OK. I know I’m weird.

But why do you think it’s bad if someone meets you via your writing before they meet you in person?

I’m not quite sure I do think it’s bad. It could lead to being prejudged though.

Doesn’t everything?

I guess.

I’d be more worried about getting too excited before you meet in person.

I thought about that. I decided to be as excited as I am. No more and no less.

You don’t think you’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t work out?

Yes.

So why not rein it in?

Because I can’t selectively rein in my feelings. I either let them all happen or keep them all from happening.

What about balance?

Shut up.

Don’t hate me because I pointed out the importance of balance.

I don’t hate you. It’s just that I have a history with emotions.

Doesn’t everyone?

Yeah, but I turned mine off for a few decades. I don’t want that to happen again. It was hard switching them on again.

No, but I don’t want you to get all excited and then be hurt if it doesn’t work out.

Me either. But I’d rather be excited and get hurt than not be excited about anything ever just so I don’t ever get hurt.

That makes sense.

It does for me. Other people may have better luck trying that balance shit you mentioned.

You do you.

It’s all I can do!

Luck and privilege

Since I may be unemployed soon, or making a good deal less money than I do now, I’ve been thinking a lot about money and lifestyle. It’s been stressful being in limbo about my professional and financial fate.  Three months of not knowing if I will have a job, or if I do how much of a drop in pay there will be…and there’s still no end in sight. See previous post about seeing a counselor.

The other day something occurred to me: I have never been unemployed as an adult. Not since my twenties, which doesn’t quite count.

That lead to yet another reinforcement of what I know on many levels. I have had a very lucky, very privileged life. I know it on an intellectual level, but hadn’t really stopped to appreciate it on a purely practical one as it applies to work and money. That is mostly because I have been in the very rare position of not having had serious problems related to money in my life.

The last time I was unemployed was decades ago. I was briefly unemployed at 21 when I moved from Poitiers to Paris. Ask me about being an illegal sometime. Does that count? I was still technically in college. Then again briefly when we moved from Paris to Oklahoma City in 1987.  The last time I was ever unemployed was in 1990 when I started working at Legacy.  I was 26 years old. During that time I wasn’t single, which makes a big difference in the perception of how urgent it is to find work. If there are two of you, it’s easier.

This is the first time I contemplated  the possibility of unemployment as a single woman, and I think that is a big part of why I am so stressed out about it.

Like most of us  I was underemployed during my twenties and early thirties, but once I went into IT that changed. I’ve had health insurance for decades without interruption. I own my own home. I have a pension, retirement savings, life insurance and a fairly impressive net worth. I have parents who have also done well in life, so I may even inherit some money.

Although I sometimes worry about how I will get things paid for, I’ve never really had to be concerned about making ends meet. Not really. It was stressful during my last divorce when I wasn’t sure I’d be able to afford the house, but it worked out. I have always been able to have a roof over my head, food, and utilities. Sometimes I’ve gone without extras like cable, but generally speaking I have done very well professionally and I’ve always tried to put money away in case of an emergency.

If I do become unemployed, I guess that would be an emergency.

Even then, I have more of a cushion than the vast majority of  people. I have savings.  I’ll get a severance package, and take away hundreds of hours of unused vacation time pay. If ever a person was ready to be unemployed, I am that person. It doesn’t make it easy, but I could probably survive for a year or two just on the severance, vacation time and savings and that’s not even taking unemployment into consideration.

If I get a roommate or two? My mortgage wouldn’t be as much of a financial concern. Or I could rent out my house for more than my mortgage, move in with my folks and live on my severance package and savings until I retire and my pension and 401K kick in. Or sell my house,  move to Nebraska, buy a house for cash with the equity and do whatever the fuck I want to do for a living.

Options abound, because I have been prudent, lucky and privileged.  What’s my point? That I’m a spoiled bougie bitch who should quit complaining about stress? Well, yeah. Kind of.

If I had not benefitted from a family who made sure I got an education, if I had been born in a different place, if I had been born with a mental disability, if any leg of the foundation of my life had been yanked out I could be in a different place right now. My supportive family, my education, my ability to learn pretty much anything. My inquisitive mind. My race. Good luck. Living in a relatively prosperous state. All of those things are crucial.

I might be concerned, but am I panicked? No, because I’m prepared and because even if the very worst of every possible thing happens my family wouldn’t let me be homeless.

I have the ultimate privilege in that I have people who love me who will always catch me if I manage to fall in spite of everything I have done to prevent it. It is the biggest blessing I could have, and a lot of people have none of the things I try not to take for granted.

My loved ones will catch me, I know, but I still get exhausted just trying not to fall.