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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Benefits In Kind

There are some situations that are just unwise. Getting into a car with a stranger just because they wave a Sherbet Dib Dab in your face would be an unwise choice. Similarly, mixing stripes and polka dots would be an unwise sartorial decision. Wearing slippery shoes walking down an icy Barrack Street, falling asleep in nightclub toilets, cutting your own hair; avoiding all of these situations have been drummed into us from an early age and yet we do them anyway.

Some women go for men who break their hearts, with some notable exceptions. My best friend has somehow ended with a man who may well break her bank balance.

My friend is not a rich woman. Like many females of our age, she is unemployed and subsisting on Social Welfare payments coupled with a few shifts in a corner shop. However, this man is a different species altogether. He exists in the misty ether between applying for government assistance and applying for a job. This man is in full time third-level education. She buys his breakfast rolls, she pays for the cinema, she finances his new sock fund and of course, I've been reliably informed in toe-curlingly inappropriate detail of the benefits-in-kind that she receives. It's a recessionary relationship.

Normally money or mismanagement of said money is a major problem for many couples. Men and women alike get inferiority complexes about the wages they do or don't pull in. Therefore, it's logical to conclude that, without money, couples would have less problems. It's an encouraging thought. She shares what she has, and so does he. It seems like an astonishingly egalitarian relationship, even if my brain does get frazzled at the thought of women actually having to pay for things in a relationship (my hand-to-mouth existence dictates that I pop on the recessionista hat and use money saving measures even with men).

I do find it a bit unnerving that she's always paying his way, even if he genuinely is broke. Sometimes I feel like I should stick my nose in and give her a motivational speech involving feminism or girl power or something, anything to assuage my own uneasiness. Then I look at the two of them together. It's blindingly evident that he makes her happy. Maybe I'll give the speech another day. It is only money, after all.