Monday, September 01, 2008

Marxist-capitalist flowers for believers

The screamer gets the worm. I had given up men for dating; I had redoubled attention saved for women, who, it turned out, were all big drinkers or members of AA. I could put myself in with both strategies. I could admit that I had begged for money, but not over steak. I had pleaded to be paid to work – that was true. In the old days, it was understood that one got paid for paid work; in the new era, it wasn’t true. Work had come to mean something we as women did for cheap or free, something men did without breaking even; men were struggling to live, their bills in danger of not being paid, other expenses. Divorce was lining women’s pockets with men’s higher wages and turning liberals into misogynists: the name calling, alone, was an indictment of heterosexuality; the women, too, blamed women for giving up on or giving in to sex. Since I am not rich (though my boyfriend now is), I had decided to give my time freely, amply, to indulge in volunteerism, to lend whatever expertise I had to the gift economy. I had not thought that the women (except two of us) – acting no better than scratchy cats and whiny terriers – would interrupt my healthy strategy and demand etwas Geld from me. It was not hard to forget times we didn’t even meet due to my relative poverty, years of it, times I had worked but not been paid, times I had asked for “gas money” and jolted administrators younger than I to change not-for-profit policy for the next group. I had not asked outside my immediate family for assistance. That meant being a caregiver without resources in a down economy with a fallowed training for a “fiancé’s” family of young and old people, for a house I didn’t own, for an ideal still at work in this downslide: love – while my women friends courted and lived engaged with the sons of rich men. That b'cy alone took 10 years ...

It is the fourth time in a week a "friend" has asked to be paid for it. I had wanted to give a special gift -- a scarf in a favorite color, gold-toned earrings -- to friends who wanted cash, and not because she didn't own her own house or two, and not because she wouldn't soon or one day inherit, but because she had "cared" during a cancer scare or mopped up after a broken plan, while I, who own no house and running for free, had dared a union. Tuna rare, then.

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