I am currently on a plane flying home to Virginia Beach, VA, to attend a cousin’s wedding in South Carolina. My parents asked me back in January if I wanted to attend. I initially said no, because I didn’t want to take the time off work and not earn the money I knew I would need to pay my rent. But, I figured since life is short and every experience teaches you something new, I would go ahead and attend. My parent generously booked me a ticket and I requested the week off of work. About a month later, I started dating my current boyfriend.

Having a boyfriend is expensive. One might think it saves you money, because you have someone who can buy you dinner and helps out with groceries and cooks for you and has a car so you don’t have to Uber everywhere when you get tired of biking and miss the days when you had a car yourself.

But in reality, it is more expensive. This is because, when you are in a relationship, you do a lot more. There is less alone time, less nights spent doing nothing, sleeping all the time, and wondering why you never write and instead sleep 12 hours a day when you’re not at work.

You go out to eat. 

You take day trips to Santa Monica to break the monotony of West Hollywood.

You go to 24 cafes at 1 am because you really really want some espresso with ice cream and if you don’t get it at right that moment then you just might murder your boyfriend.

You get hungry all the time, because you are always awake.

Gone are the days of going to bed at 11. You guys have to make dinner and watch House of Cards until 2 am.

Gone are the mornings of sleeping in till noon. He wakes up at 7 am and doesn’t know how to make coffee by himself.

Eating was so much simpler when you were single, because you could force feed yourself unseasoned tilapia for dinner with frozen vegetables and there’s no one to judge you. But hey, at least you’re looking skinny. Now that you have a boyfriend, you’re buying fresh vegetables, and cooking lavish meals, and eating bread. And even though he tells you you look amazing, you know you’ve gained 5 pounds and are noticeably bigger. But hey, at least he’s the only one who sees you naked.

To make a long story short (too late), it is expensive to date someone. But it is a hell of a lot more fulfilling than what you were doing before.

You’re living life, making memories. You’ve also picked up a new addiction to stealing the furniture people leave out on the street and bringing it inside your home, hoping there are no raccoons in it. At least this addiction you might be able to sell on Craigslist to fund your newfound ice cream addiction. Your boyfriend also shows you how to be frugal, how to save money whenever you can so you can splurge on those memories. Even though you’re still asking yourself why you’re not writing. But you’re living your life! So it all evens out in the end.

By the time this wedding has come, however, I am very much poor. I have blown through my savings, and am about to take a week off of work, which means my next paycheck will be cut in half. It also doesn’t help that I only worked 3 days last week, since I left early one day because I was feeling anxious and needed to call my mom and talk to her about organ donation. To make up for that, I volunteered to cover 2 shifts at work this week on my two days off, meaning I have worked the last 9 days straight. By day 7, I had had enough. I began to wonder if I was going insane. Could I take any more? How long could I go before my body began to physically deteriorate? Before my mind finally left me, and I was rendered a mindless lobotomized shell that could only steam cappuccinos?

Luckily, by the grace of God, I made it through. And, thanks to my discarded furniture collecting habit, I now have a new dining room table, 4 dining chairs, a sofa chair, a lamp, a rug, another sofa, a desk, a desk chair, a dresser, and the stand to a table that only needs glass for the surface. Then, last night, I had another brilliant idea- why not list my place on Airbnb while I was gone? I live alone in a one bedroom apartment, and it would be a great way to make cash. My boyfriend could let the guest in while I was gone, and after all, what are boyfriends good for if not to let strangers into your home?

I took some nice pictures of my apartment and made the listing last night, then went to sleep. This morning, I woke up to a text from Airbnb telling me someone had booked my place for two nights! Huzzah! Unfortunately, I also woke up to a missed call from my coworker. I called him back to find out that the shift lead that day hadn’t showed up and they were struggling opening the store. So, for the 10th day in a row, I got on my bike and headed to work. But who am I kidding- this was the perfect fuel for my savior complex.

After helping save the day at work, finishing the last bit of packing before my flight, and heading to the airport, I shared a passionate kiss goodbye with my boyfriend while he groped me in front of strangers. Every girl’s dream.

I don’t know if I’ll end this month having enough money to get by. I may have to make sacrifices. I may have to cut out some serious expenses, train myself to be painstakingly frugal when I want to splurge. But for this moment, I don’t have to worry about money. Because in this moment, I am living my life.

-Theodore Dandy

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