He Doesn’t Pay Rent

A woman in my office is giving me the cold shoulder.

I didn’t like the guy she fixed me up with.

In my defense, he’s twenty-six years old and has never paid rent.

Dude. What. Are you doing.

There’s a reason we get a bad reputation, you know, for being financially irresponsible, for mooching off our parents too long, for never growing up.  And it’s because you’re twenty-six years old, and you just told me that you’ve never paid rent in your life, as if this was a good thing.  As if this was a remarkable feat of which to be proud.

That sounds harsh; it’s not necessarily the fact that he’s never paid rent.  But it’s the way he’s avoided it, by staying with your parents’ friends, by working these underpaid jobs that offer a place to pitch your tent, and it was especially the way he tried to convince me I was a sucker for paying my own rent.

I see him standing there and saying, “I mean, renting is throwing money away,” which could be seen as true, I guess, if you were saving substantially to buy a house, or if you were using that saved money for something besides going to play disc golf every weekend.

He really seemed to be saying, “I’m too cheap to pay for one of my most basic needs: shelter.”  The signs were everywhere.  We went for a coffee and he just hung back and let me pay, and then texted me “thanks for the coffee” after the date.  I’m sorry, if you don’t have to shell out $1,000 in rent every month, what am I doing drinking coffee that you didn’t buy?

I want solidarity.  I want to be with the people of my generation who give a rally cry against the those who’ve held us down and back, who’ve made an insurmountable obstacle of the Recession, who are our landlords and who raise our rent.

I certainly don’t want to go on a second date with the guy who is teaming up with the enemy so he can sleep for free on their couch for four months.

I’ve been on plenty of second dates with those guys.  In fact, the three years of my life might as well have been a second date with some dude who didn’t want to pay rent, since the last guy I dated seriously was basically just a couchsurfer, using me for my beautiful apartment, giving me a hard time for owning a vacuum cleaner—“What are you, like, forty?” (No, I am, like, a grown-up).

Yes, it’s funny to pretend that “adulting” is this difficult task we’re forced to do on occasion, but I’ll tell you the truth, as much as it pains me to pay a lot in rent each month, there’s no greater feeling than coming home to the place that I’ve paid for, with the money I’ve earned, at my real job.

At the end of the day, and when I put my feet up in my own apartment, I know that paying rent is absolutely worth it.


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