By Angie Peckham
Everyone wants love. It’s a simple fact of life. We like the idea of someone finding us so amazing that they’d rather be spending time with us than doing almost anything else (not that I can actually think of anything anyone would rather do than spend time with us, but you know the opposite sex – they’re slippery).
The point is, we are addicted to our mating ritual. We crave the butterflies we feel at the beginning of a relationship. We anticipate that first kiss and making sure the pheromones are all working the way they should be. We dream about settling into a gentle game of playing house once the initial excitement has abated. We love being in love.
Finding that special person to happily fall asleep with and slowly wake up with is complicated enough without the economy throwing us a curveball. So what are we, the poor, the struggling, the unemployed to do? Are we to sit at home in the dark, getting more and more depressed, isolated from workday human interaction and denied the experience of feeling those butterflies and playing house?
Some might think that if you are unemployed, you should not be out having fun at all. They believe that you must spend all of your waking hours on your job search. These people are normally amongst the employed. We don’t like them. What those naysayers fail to realize is that you need the human interaction. You need the emotional and intellectual stimulation, dangit, and you need to get out and see the world once in awhile.
What you may not recognize, while you’re sitting around moping and eating everything in your fridge out of boredom, is that a struggling economy can actually be a blessing in disguise. Just think – now you can date people with irregular schedules.
You know that fireman you’ve noticed when you’re out doing your grocery shopping? The one with the shiny red truck and the large hose? He has an irregular schedule, and now, you have a schedule perfectly suited to dating him. The hot blonde behind the bar with the tight top and the great assets? Guess what time she gets off work? You don’t have to get up in the morning. Therefore, you can handle her schedule, and then, if you’re lucky, her assets. Think police, wait staff, DJ’s, musicians. Your being unemployed has suddenly opened up an entirely new dating pool for you.
Now that you’re aware of the unemployment bright side, you need to figure out how to date on a limited budget. This is the really sucky reality of unemployed dating, but it can be done. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Be Honest – Be up front about your situation with potential dates. If you have an online dating profile, make it clear that you are currently a victim of the economy, but that you are excited about your prospects for the future. You will inevitably be asked what you do for a living if you meet someone in a social situation. Have an answer ready. Lucky for you, the economy is bad all the way around. A lot of people have lost their jobs, and everyone knows someone who has been affected, so there are a lot of understanding and sympathetic people out there.
Don’t Spend – It’s very hard to be a social butterfly if you don’t have the cash to do so. Do you have friends who play in a band or work in a bar or nightclub? Have them put you “on the list.” This allows you to get in for free and possibly meet someone new. If you’re a guy, the pressure to buy someone you’ve met a drink can feel overwhelming, so decide ahead of time if this is the kind of outing you’re going to have. If you’re a girl, you’re a little luckier, as someone will likely buy you a drink at some point. Only attend free events. Concerts in the park, exploration of the city, throwing some darts, going on a hike – all of these are fun, interactive and free or virtually free.
Even buying the gas to get to an event can be a struggle, so factor that into your costs when planning outings, and if you’re the one dating a financially struggling person, keep in mind the cost of having them come to you.
Get Active – We are no good to anyone else if we aren’t being good to ourselves. The worst thing you can do for yourself when you lose your job is hide out in your house. If you were on an exercise regimen before your situation changed, keep it up. In fact, now’s the time to step it up. You get to enjoy the gym when nobody else is there. You get the bike paths to yourself. You can go running at 11:00pm if you like. It doesn’t matter what you choose. Just choose something. If you feel good about yourself, that vibe will carry and you will attract others.
Have Fun – When you’re out on a date, keep the conversation light and have fun. Try to forget your troubles for a little while and enjoy the company you’re with. Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up seeing a lot more of them.