I Am Not Your Good Cause

I am poor. I have been poor for quite some time. This is because I am hopeless with money when I have it and so very rapidly I don’t have it, although I am getting better at holding back.

For some reason, more recently, all my friends have started offering me money – offers of going halves on train tickets so I can go and see them, offering me meals out and nights out on them, even offering bald cash with dubious justifications as to why they may or may not owe it to me.

I am not that poor. I can stick up for myself. And I’m quite happy to accept that there are times when I may have to miss out on things because I can’t pay for them, or times when I’ll have to drink tap water all night so that I can pay for my bus fare or entry fee or whatever. It’s just the way it is. If I had enough money that I could sub other people then yes, I’d be happier about having things bought for me because there would be some kind of equality there, the idea of reciprocality at least in the vague future, but no – I have little enough that your cash handouts and free meals are not likely to be paid back, or paid forward, for a long while yet, and so the idea of you basically giving me money is, actually, a little insulting, because it suggests (and I know none of you mean to suggest this) that actually I’m so poor that I can’t even provide for myself – and I’m not. Yes, I do some fairly inventive things with lentils and oats and I’m not averse to filling up at church on free tea, coffee and biscuits, but, well, this is my life, and don’t you dare pity me.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “I Am Not Your Good Cause

  1. Flix

    What annoys me a marginal amount is when people who do have enough money complain about not being able to afford stuff that they might be able to have afforded if they hadn’t just spent Β£40 on shoes that they needed not. And okay, the dress may have been a bargin in the sale, but if it means you can’t afford a ride back at ridiculous o’clock and instead walk, a single girl alone in somewhere that is well known for not being the safest place, well, maybe you should have forgone the new outfit and spent the fiver on your safety instead?

  2. Flix

    That was partly related to the entry at some point, kind of went off on a rant…

  3. Jenny

    hehe that’s OK. Sadly I am the kind of girl who tends to march home alone in the dark – but that’s out of some perverse I’m Not Scared Come And Get Me macho feminist thing. Although not so much any more because usually I’m with other people and so we all choose to walk home together. And I don’t go out unless I can afford everything it might entail at a stretch – I always make sure that I go out when I can afford transport back, entry, and possibly drinks, rather than trusting to fate like a lot of people seem to.

    And yeah, I complain about not being able to afford things when I know I’ve just spent too much on shoes or whatever (although those days are long gone) but with a definite ‘I am such a silly girl’ slant. And I never, ever go out with the expectation that some lovely friend or man is going to bail me out. I can’t stand that.

    Basically, money is a horrible topic of conversation really. It’s always a bone of contention and a massive source of tension and I get the feeling it doesn’t get any better – going out with my cousin’s thirty-something friends for dinner the other day they were talking about one of their group who hadn’t come out because she couldn’t afford to get dinner, and the friend who had called her up was feeling rather bitter because he’d rather felt like she was trying to get him to sub her for the night – and these are all people with real jobs and things, so it’s not like it gets easier once you’re not a student :(. Ah well.

  4. clare

    when did you go out for dinner with cousins? 😐 was that in B’ham?

  5. Jenny

    No that was in Uni Town when C and R came up to see various of their friends and met up with me while they were there πŸ™‚

  6. Claire

    Maybe it’s just because they would like to have you at things, and are willing to pay for the pleasure of your company, and because they would like you to be happy and not have to go short? I hate it when generosity is scorned!

  7. Jenny

    I understand why they’re doing it, but I hate to feel beholden to people. Maybe I’m horrendously proud, but I’m usually just about able to find enough money to see the people I want to see somehow, even if it involves mammoth journeys by megabus and eating meals consisting purely of starters or something. And sadly it’s very very rare that people give you things – money, tickets, food or whatever, and don’t expect a return at some point in the back of their heads, however unselfish and wonderful they think they’re being at the time. They’ll get slightly frustrated with me and then feel like i owe them something at some point in the future, trust me. And it would be OK if it was just a one-off that I was this poor, but no, I have less to live on than most students and it’s mainly my fault and now I have to live within my means and there’s no way I want to look to my friends to bail me out…!!

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