Let me start by clearing some things up. There is nothing wrong with being unemployed these days. Things happen. Companies downsize and you get laid off, a work mistake leaves you at the unemployment office filing a claim–I get it. But it is another thing to be unemployed and broke, content with your situation, and pursuing a woman. This is where we have a problem.
Let me start from the beginning. I met this guy who I like to call Grown And Sexy. He was well-groomed, had a nice beard, was tall, and built immaculately. We would have some interesting conversations about everything under the sun, from culture to food and even religion. And he talked a lot about settling down and starting a family. We met through a mutual friend, so for a while our only interactions were at social gatherings. My friend would host things at his house, or invite a group of us out to eat, and I would see Mr. Grown And Sexy there. One night we took it a step further and exchanged numbers. We ended up swapping texts often. It was the first time in a while that I had received “Good morning” texts from someone nice.
He would ask me about my day, and I would ask him about his. His response would always be “Chilling.” I didn’t think anything of it. I too “chill” at work, at home or wherever I am. No big deal. But looking back, the fact that chilling was always what he was up to during standard work hours should have raised a red flag or some signal for me. When I asked what he did for a living, he said he was into real estate. Once again, didn’t mean he worked in real estate. Maybe he just liked looking at postings online or in the paper.
When it came time to plan dates, I had high expectations. We had such cultured conversations I believed that he would have creative date ideas too. He didn’t. I would suggest different restaurants, and he wouldn’t give me an answer. He would always suggest going to the liquor store, grabbing a bottle and going back to my place to talk and chill. There goes that word again.
I had to speak up and tell him I didn’t want to drink any hard liquor in my house and just “talk.” I suggested a restaurant, and we went. On the way, I asked him again what his job was, and he finally told me the truth. He was unemployed. All I could say was “Oh.” Then he went on a rant about how he hates sitting in the house all day because he also doesn’t have a vehicle. The car we were in for date night turned out to be a relative’s.
I tried to find ways to be okay with this. He was a great conversationalist. He was into adventure and outdoor activities. He was always down to do fun things, but how if he was unemployed? I decided that maybe he had savings or was collecting unemployment. But that was until we got to the restaurant, ate, ordered drinks, talked for hours, and I ended up paying the entire bill.
I do believe that having little money does force you to make dating ideas a bit more creative, but it can also be extremely limiting. And for a man in his 30s living in what resembled a trap house, conversations about settling down soon and starting a family should have been the least of his concerns. You need financial stability before you seek out anything else. It got me thinking about a lot of men I know, and I wonder, what were they doing in their 20s? I believe that your 20s are a time to find, build and establish a foundation for yourself. Of course, you don’t have to have life all figured out, but at least having a solid understanding makes for a promising 30s.
For me, I knew he wasn’t going to cut it. I caught glimpses into his lifestyle, and there was a reason Grown And Sexy was so different. He wasn’t a preference. Sure, he was nice to look at and talk to, but he lacked direction in his life, and I’m talking about more than money.
If a lack of employment and financial stability doesn’t bother you, there are ways to date on a budget that won’t break either of your pockets. There are free museums, free festivals in your city, as well as outdoor movie nights. But before you can do any of those things, he needs to be upfront about his financial situation. And in all honesty, if it’s a really tough situation, he probably doesn’t need to worry about dating in the first place.
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