I Just Want To Be "Boyfriend Rich": The Unfair Economic Reality Of Being Single
A new series that explores what it's really like to be single in your 30s and NGAF.
“I am guided by a force much greater than luck.” - Lucas, Empire Records, 1995
I’d like to be in a relationship for a lot of reasons. I’d love companionship, I’d enjoy laughing more often, and I’m very interested in someone else disposing of the occasional insect. As much as possible, I prefer to focus on the positive parts of being single, but I’m human, and every now and then I think about the things I don’t have because I don’t have a partner. Most of these things make me sad, but right now I’d like to talk about the only one that makes me angry: Money.
You know how the rent is too damn high? Well it wouldn’t be, if you cut the damn rent in half. At least five times a day, usually when I snag my yoga pants on the raised floorboard nail or cook on the one functioning burner or race down four flights of stairs at every buzzer so the neighbourhood thief doesn’t get to my Amazon package before I can, I’m reminded of just how much bullshit I wouldn’t have to put up with if my rent was $3,930 instead of $1,965. Who am I kidding, Josh and I (let’s call him Josh) would never have to pay that much rent and we’d still have closets like Mariah Carey’s. But I digress.
I live in a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, New York. It’s at the top of four flights of stairs, and there is no elevator. There is also no garbage disposal, ceiling fan, counter top, or more than one electrical outlet per room. What passes for linoleum in the kitchen is cracked open enough to feel a draft from below, and the shower cannot be used if anyone else in the building also fancies getting clean at that moment. The toilet flushes properly, on occasion. There is no semblance of security, and my refrigerator was made when Clinton was in office. I pay almost $2,000 per month for this space, and to be quite honest, I got a good deal. If I was splitting the rent with someone, I’d be paying what it’s worth. I’d also be having sex.
Before you form an epic opinion touting the benefits of living somewhere else and leaving the city I’ve chosen to build my life and connections in, know that my response is simply this: No.
Before you form an epic opinion touting the benefits of living somewhere else and leaving the city I’ve chosen to build my life and connections in, know that my response is simply this: No. I don’t want to leave my home, and I will not have a roommate at the age of 36. I’m not asking to live in a luxury penthouse with a live-in manicurist here, I just want an average, functioning place, and I don’t think I’m asking too much. Say what you want about my city, but when a woman with a six-figure salary cannot afford an apartment with uncracked walls, floors, windows, and respectable plumbing, but she could if she was in a relationship, shit’s fucked up. Yes, I have outsized law school loans, but that shouldn’t mean that my shoes have to live in the kitchen and my chest of drawers in the living room.
My partnered and married friends didn’t have to move to find happiness or real estate, so why should I? Why should a single woman have to uproot herself and leave her friends and professional connections in order to live in a dwelling that wouldn’t be made better with a stick of dynamite? If it sounds childish to call this situation unfair, pass me the crayons and a juice box because this is me all day.
I just want to be boyfriend rich. I want someone around to split stuff with who I also happen to love.
Honestly, how much do we need to gild the single gal lily? Sorry sweetheart, you don’t get to be like where you live or find love — no matter how hard you try by the way — this shit is rigged. Could being single be more of an arcade claw machine at this point? I need fate to bump its ass into the side of the game at just the right moment so that I can grab good water pressure and a date on New Year’s Eve.
The struggles of being single are legion, we know this. Partnered women aren’t fielding online dating messages soliciting everything from sexts to outright blowjobs at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning. They aren’t going on literally countless first dates that lead to absolutely nothing (except a bar tab, of course). And they certainly aren’t living a life where the first thing everyone short of their podiatrist wants to know is, “so, are you seeing anybodyyyyyy?” (My podiatrist actually asked me this.)
Partnered women aren’t dealing with any of that, but it’s the financial benefit of living with someone you also share a bedroom with that, to me at least, feels the most genuinely infuriating. Partnered women get company, physical affection, the occasional cup of coffee made for them, and on top of all that they get to split bills?! Bitch.
I just want to be boyfriend rich. I want someone around to split stuff with who I also happen to love. I want the extra $982 a month I’d have if I shared this apartment. And that’s before splitting electricity, gas, internet, Netflix, Spotify, pet insurance, and Amazon Prime. And that’s before we even get into travelling and vacations, both of which I’d have more money to afford and they’d be cheaper if I had a partner. Boyfriend rich.
Let me be 100% clear: I don’t want a man to take care of me. I do not crave a life of leisure.
I want a partner to split material things with me that we both need and use. I want to continue to work hard, and continue to live my usual, non-extravagant lifestyle, I just want to be invited to life’s little 50% off sale, do you mind? For years, I’ve watched friends and acquaintances partner up and live better than I do, simply because they’re now in a relationship. I’m never going to have what they have, unless I double what I’ve got.
There are a thousand reasons I love being single. I love traveling alone and making 100% of the decisions and not being quiet at 6 a.m. because someone is sleeping. I love listening to Cat Power on repeat as much as I damn well please. I love how free I feel. But every now and then I think it’s okay to acknowledge that the money thing sucks. I think it’s okay to be angry that I don’t split rent, I don’t split bills, and there’s no second income to back me up in really tough times. This truth adds insult to injury, in the financial form, and is just one more way the world shows me what I can’t have because I’m single.
The perks to being partnered are countless, and while there are things of real value, such as company, affection, and friendship among them, it’s the monetary one in particular that will never make cents to me.