Today has been a hard day, mainly because I nearly got arrested for attempted burglary (I can assure you, readers, that I was not guilty!). I was planning on blogging about my brush with the law tonight, but, alas, I have just had a fight with Midwestern Man and so I feel the need to blog about this instead to make myself feel better.
My dear husband was in one of his annoying, passive-aggressive little moods tonight. When he’s in such a mood, he doesn’t say anything, so I always need to probe to get him to admit to what’s bothering him. I hate this! Just say what’s on your fucking mind, for fuck’s sake! The result of my probing is that we always end up having a huge argument about a major problem in our relationship at an inconvenient time. I’ve told him repeatedly that if there’s an issue we need to address, we should set aside a specific time to talk about it when we’re both mentally, emotionally and physically ready and willing to do so. But, no…Midwestern Man will always start the discussion late at night when I’m already tired and irritable. Midwestern Man keeps all his resentment and anger pent up until he unleashes it…and then there’s no stopping him. It doesn’t matter how tired, emotionally worn-out or drunk I may be, or how late the hour; if he’s started an argument, he wants to resolve it there and then.
Tonight’s discussion centred around the very topic which causes the demise of many marriages – money! Or, more exactly, my precarious financial situation. There’s no denying it. I’m in a financial mess. I’m tired of working as an erotic masseuse and, even if I weren’t, handjobs aren’t exactly a priority for men in this economy. This week I’ve made only $360 and, well, OK, the week’s not over yet, but I’m not exactly raking the money in. Most of what I make goes towards rent, bills and my credit card debt, and the rest is for food and my animals.
I used to be a very fiscally responsible person but sex work has been my undoing. When I had a proper job, I was extremely anal about budgeting, and I was never in debt, but in this line of work you never really know how much you’ll earn per month, so it’s extremely hard to budget. From what I can gather, the women who are the most successful in the sex industry are those who merely moonlight as sex workers and keep their full-time or part-time jobs. I think it’s very hard to earn your living purely from the sex industry because of the high rate of burn-out. I’m not tired of the job exactly but I am tired of spending so much time at home on my own online, trying to hustle up some business. I’m also tired of living in “the shadows” and not really being a “proper” member of society.
To cut a long story short, there are just not all that many clients anymore, and I’m too burnt out to attempt to see any more than I do (two a day, if I’m lucky).
I don’t mind Midwestern Man pointing out my dire financial state, and expressing concern about my (probably quite impractical) plans to apply to go to grad school to get certified as a teacher. However, what really, really, really pisses me off is that he expects me to listen to him complain about how financially irresponsible I am without my being able to mention my own concerns.
I take responsibility for my money problems, but I also feel that there have been many mitigating factors: (1) I moved to a different continent to begin grad school…not cheap! (2) with an F1 student visa, I was for many years not allowed to work anywhere but on campus, thus severely limiting my employment option (3) I don’t talk to my parents anymore, so I can’t expect any help from them (4) US Immigration bureaucracy is so incompetent that I spent many months last year without a work visa while they got their shit together. I now have an invalid work permit, and I’m still waiting to save up the money to send off my “change of status” application. In other words, I couldn’t find a teaching job because I didn’t have a work permit.
I’ve been trying to leave sex work behind, and find a normal job, and a regular salary, but this is easier said than done.
What’s Midwestern Man’s excuse for being broke, though?! I’d love to fucking know. I mean, he’s never left the fucking country (a huge sore point for me actually…He’s thirty-two, and he’s never once been tempted to leave the US?! Jesus…), so he’s never had to deal with the expense of uprooting yourself. He did move to LA for several years after college, and then he moved here, but I don’t think that moving across the US has anywhere near the financial and emotional cost that moving to different countries does.
Midwestern Man’s plan is to be a graphic novelist/professional illustrator. I find it hard to be 100% enthusiastic about his career goals, mainly because he has had this dream for a while, and yet never finishes anything. I wouldn’t mind at all about his being broke if he was working diligently every day on his novel, but he’s always so distracted and unfocused. Instead of working on his book, he’ll take an art class because that will apparently give him “better skills” but it’s obvious he’s just taking the class to avoid doing any real work.
I don’t think it’s spoiled to want to be an artist, but I do find Midwestern Man’s lifestyle incredibly spoiled. He has a nice, easy job in a café (the kind of job you have when you’re twenty) because he doesn’t want to be burdened with any responsibility or stress. That would “take him away from his art”. As much as I do genuinely want to be a teacher, what makes him think that I want to do that five days a week?! Hell, I’d kill to work only three days a week, and then spend the rest of the time writing, but, guess what, that’s something that I can perhaps achieve later down the line when I’ve actually been successful in the teaching and/or writing field. The idea of having a job with responsiblity terrifies me, too, but I’m a thirty-one-year-old woman, so it’s time for me to be an adult, I think!
Midwestern Man also passes judgement on my supposedly “extravagant lifestyle”. My only extravagances are my iPhone, my two bedroom house (it’s kind of justified, though, as I need a spare bedroom for the massage room) and my terrible inability to avoid rescuing yet another stray cat. Besides that, I barely ever go out to bars or spend money on “entertainment”; I don’t own a car; I don’t really drink very much or take drugs; I don’t really buy new clothes (God, how I wish I could!) or go on vacation.
He thinks it’s spoiled that I want to have nice things in the future, and be able to travel as much as possible, but I’m a big girl now, and I’m tired of living like a student. He apparently is not.
A couple of years ago, a doctor acquaintance of mine scoffed when I said that I only dated artistic types. He said I’d rapidly re-think that when I had kids and found myself living on the breadline. I thought his comment was incredibly mercenary and cynical, but sometimes I do catch myself wishing I’d married a successful, wealthy man. I wouldn’t be happy being a kept woman, but if Midwestern Man doesn’t shape up, I can’t help but see my life with him being one of crushing poverty.