Gays and Financial Planning

So, this past weekend my mom bought a new iMac for the family computer… GO HER!

But, she’s not telling my dad about it till the credit card bill comes. This was brought up between Constantine and I while we were driving somewhere this weekend. I mean, does that really seem like the right way to do it? If you are spending the family money, you should really discuss it with the other family people before you go out and buy it, right? This happens all the time in my family and it’s really quite frustrating.

So Constantine and I were talking about it and it’s been on my mind since… How would you handle the financials in a gay relationship? When you are straight and married, there’s precedence for how these things would work out in the legal battles of divorce, especially if there are children.

I have a few ideas on the whole matter. First, if you are just living together, a newly formed household, after only dating for a year or whatever. Money matters should probably be kept separate. This would be a time of testing still to be sure you are compatible. Once you move in there’s tons of things that can change or you might realize while you are just dating. Did you know that he or she gets a $5 cup of coffee every morning? Did you know that even though they say they are making and saving a ton of money that they actually just spend it all?

I don’t really feel like it’s my place to ask to see my partners financials until we are very serious. IE although I have an idea of how much Constantine makes and what he spends, I wouldn’t flat out ask him to see. These are pretty personal things, and although I feel you should ask BEFORE you move in together, sometimes that just doesn’t happen.

During this first year or so of living together, the household expenses should really be split based on how much money the person brings in. Lets say that person A brings in $100,000/yr and person B brings in just $50,000/yr. Your rent is $1,000/mn. In this situation, person A would pay 66% of the rent, or $666. While person B pays $333. This will tend to keep things fairly equal to how they were before the move in and they should both still have a fair percent of income to live on. It would be unfair to make person B pay an equal share in the rent in this case because it would take a larger portion of their income.

Also during this time, you should really try and discuss any major purchases with each other before they happen. Even though the money is still technically, “MY” money and not “OUR” money, this will help you to work out the kinks in money spending. In this case, person A may be used to buying Gucci clothes and eating $40 lunches where as person B may be used to buying Old Navy clothes and taking lunch to work. During this time you can work out how the family money should be spent. Should person A still be getting $40 lunches and person B be taking lunches to work after the merger of money? Probably not as this would build up anger over the years between the two.

After a sufficient amount of time, the money should be merged. By now you should both be pretty close to being on the same page. Do we still spend all that money on Gucci clothes, or do compromise and both get cheaper but still nice clothes at the Banana Republic?

How do you handle big purchases like cars? Do you both get new ones at the same time, do you stagger them? It’s all so confusing!

All this stuff is really pretty standard between gay and straight….

But all this brings up the idea of, what if we split up? How do you un-merge a gay relationships money? Should both of them be allowed to get half of everything as if this were straight? What if it’s 20 years later and now person B is making $200,000/yr while person A is still only making $100,000/yr? And what if this huge increase in person B’s income is only because person A supported them while they got a masters or other education? On the other hand, what if the increase in income was all because of smart choices before the two got together?

This is all very twisted, in most cases people would say, “well what about a pre-nup”, etc.

But are those even really fair? Do they hold out? For me, personally, they are just asking for failure with those. It’s as if you are admitting straight out the door that you are expecting failure.

These are all just the millions of other thoughts that have been flying around my head the last couple days. I wish there were easy answers!

Loneliness and Technology

Forty year old Joyce Vincent had been lying dead in her London apartment for two straight years before the badly decomposed body was discovered by her landlord in April 2006. The story, quietly tucked away in British newspapers, profoundly upset readers around the world who saw her isolation as a failing of modern communities. As one outraged blogger put it, Two years. She lay there. Alone, dead, unnoticed, and unmissed. How is it possible that in a city of about seven million, not one person noticed that a neighbor, sister, cousin or friend was missing?

How, indeed: in an era of advanced communication technologies in which loved ones can be reached with a few clicks of a mouse or dial of a phone, it seems implausible that the number of solitary deaths have been on the rise in countries like the UK and Japan in recent years. Alienation, dubbed the great emotional sickness of our era by Italian filmmaker Michaelangelo Antonioni, remains a disease that even email, cell phones and online networking has been powerless to remedy. These days, some experts are even suggesting that our social bonds may be breaking down not in spite of these new technologies, but because of it.

A decade ago, when many North Americans were still just starting to go online, Apple, AT&T, Hewlett Packard and Intel funded a research project by Washington University to study the psychological and social effects of using the Internet. While most first-time users went online for social purposes, the studies showed a rapid decline in participation for social activities beyond the net and increases in depression and loneliness. While magazines like Fortune and BusinessWeek boasted the virtues of interactive sites such as MySpace and YouTube, most internet users were found to be joining fewer clubs, talking less in-person and hanging out with friends less often. While new tools were allowing people to network faster than ever, studies around the world have pointed to the shrinking social circles of tech-savvy consumers. A June 2006 study by Duke University concluded that the average American today only has two close confidants, while SwissCom Inc. found that 80 percent of all cell phone conversations took place with only four people.

Some critics have rebuffed the suggestion that technology has eroded traditional human bonds, noting that the interaction is simply taking place in different forms. What it’s really doing is shifting the means of socializing, says Barry Wellman, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto. In other words, the seemingly quiet and withdrawn teenager at family dinners could in fact be a witty conversationalist in online forums. This didn’t necessarily make her anti-social; it was simply a different mode of communication. While heavy internet users were spending less time with family and friends offline, they were keeping more regular contact through cell phone calls and email. The Internet has moreover been a godsend for some people who lacked opportunities for human contact, such as the elderly and disabled. Vilify it though we may, technology has so far played an invaluable role in keeping people integrated.

In themselves, email and cell phones are only a small part of the broader causes of loneliness in modern society. What these tools have done, however, is fundamentally change the nature of our communication with other people. While our new tools grant us the convenience of talking from a distance over a screen, they also exempt us from the intimacy that comes with face-to-face communication. The subtle nuances of facial expressions and body language are lost, and in return, we are spared the awkwardness and inconveniences of in-person meetings.

There is something trying, even exhausting, about human interactions, writes Laura Pappano in her book, The Connection Gap. Why meet when you can e-mail? And digital video makes it seem like you’re there. Right? While interviewing a terminally ill woman who chatted online to escape loneliness, however, Pappano discovered that the woman gradually grew cynical of the superficial interactions with her friends’ to them, she was merely a name on a screen, disembodied from her cancer and the world around her. They didn’t perceive the pain in her eyes or voice as she communicated with them. Her life and death had no impact on their conscience.

I don’t want useless sounds. I want to select them, complains Monica Vitti’s character in Antonioni’s 1964 film, La Notte. In today’s age of virtual communication, it has become all too easy for people to select and filter out the voices they don’t want to hear. It’s a world in which voices of isolated, impoverished individuals like Joyce Vincent all too easily lose their place. In the last hour before her death, Vincent surrounded herself with unopened Christmas presents and drowned out the silence with sounds from her TV set a parting reminder to herself, perhaps, that she was still connected to a society that had long forgotten about her.

Jenny Uechi

Screw you Cancer!

You might be on edge in your closest relationships as the love planet moves through sensitive Cancer. Normally you like a bit of emotional detachment — just enough to give you some breathing room. Now, however, the object of your love may be too clingy and this can make you irritable. This phase only lasts for a few weeks, so stretch into it and try not to avoid the intimacy. It could even bring you joy.

I got home from the beach yesterday at 4.. I laid down on the couch for just a few minutes and woke up again at 8:30… Then of course I couldn’t sleep, hence the upate last night… Now I’m dead tired at work, and it’s only 4:47!

Private: Confusion of life

Ok this is going to be a tell all entry that may have lots of things in it that people don’t want to hear, so that is the fair warning to everyone.

So the other night we went out to the Boom. I ended up in the underwear contest again and that was ok, I only got third place this time. Ok so then I was dancing with Joel and he left me, and green shirt boy (Jake) was there and dancing with me and pushing me against the wall and at some point we made out (#1), and after that every time we passed each other, we would grab each other and make out real quick.

Anyways, fast forward the night and we met these guys David and Buck. Well actually I think we had met them earlier that night, but regardless. I start talking to David and well before you know it, we start making out (#2). After a few minutes of that, I literally turned around, and started making out with Buck (#3).

So yeah somehow we end up at Buck and David’s hotel room. I throw up, which totally sucks. Though afterwards I felt perfect so that was super good. Anyways, after that I was in my undies in the hot tub/jacuzzi thing they had and Buck got naked (Buck naked! hehe, ok no jokes) and we made out for awhile and yeah, nothing much else happened at the hotel room.

So Chris and I get back to his place, we fall asleep yada yada. This was after I put on a super cute pair of undies that he had. Anyways, next thing I know, I woke up and I was cuddling him and telling him how much I wanted to fuck him. Well he agrees, and to make a long story short, we have sex. Now we haven’t had any physical contact besides a hug for over a year I think (or just about a year). So it was strange. And there was no real intimacy, we kissed for like 2.5 seconds and I got the impression that he wasn’t wanting to kiss. So yeah, he finished, I finished, and then we basically rolled over and went to sleep. Strange, huh? I thought so too.

Now I’m all conflicted with ideas. I kinda talked to him about it, but not really, I think we are going to talk more later. But I don’t know. It’s annoying to me b/c we are both looking for a relationship right now, and we are both (for the most part) looking for the type of person that we used to be for each other, if that makes sense. For example, the next morning, we woke up and we were just sitting in bed together watching TV and just kinda chatting. And I was thinking “geez this is EXACTLY what I want.” And it really is. And I was thinking how nice it would be to have that again, and then I don’t know, right when I was leaving he was a tad bit flirty for like 2 seconds (and I probably just made that up in my head) but for some reason it made me smile when I left, and confused me. So that’s that. I guess I’ll talk to him later and talk it over. Earlier, he said that it felt nice afterwards b/c it was me, so I don’t know what that means. That’s one issue.

Another issue is that I felt completely trashy and slutty after that night. I mean FOUR people in one night, that’s just horrible. And I decided I really need to curtail my alcohol intake and stop making out with random people. I really just want a decent boyfriend that I can depend on. So all these thoughts are going through my head Saturday and I had a horrible headache (my own fault, of course).

Anyways, point is, I don’t wanna feel trashy anymore and I just want a boyfriend to care about me and that I can care about and it’s annoying and frustrating and throw the whole Chris thing in and it’s like WHAT’S GOING ON!!!!

Well that’s my big drama. In other news, I’m working 8:30-5, which totally sucks. It’s boring, but at least I have things to do the whole time. It’s long and yeah.

Last night I dreamt I murdered someone and I really thought it was true and it was one of those dreams in which you realize it’s a dream but at the same time think it’s true, and I was trying to wake myself up and it took me awhile, but I finally did and then realized I had somehow turned off my alarm in my sleep and barely had enough time to get to work. Though my boss has been late every day so far, so he didn’t know I was late.

Ok I think that’s it. I’ll update more in depth later if anything happens. If anything thrilling happens at Res Life, or if I get super bored, I’ll update more! Anyways, nobody judge me on my activities, I’m trying to change!!!