Thursday, July 8, 2010

Credit Check

There are a lot of things to consider when entering a new relationship. Each other's past relationships, family matters, friends, various activities, work schedules, trust issues, kissing styles and favorite movie genres. There is a lot to be said for getting to know one another over many, many cups of coffee during which time funny stories about vacations, college days and childhood blunders emerge throughout the conversation. You may take into consideration when pondering a potential mate what their plans and goals are for the future, where they'd like to travel to in the world, and how neat / messy they keep their home. Down the line. Way down the line. But how soon would you talk about money?

I'm not talking about the friendly banter of who's going to pay for the drinks / I'll get the next round bull shit. Honestly, if he can't afford to buy you a glass of wine, honey, you're wasting your time. If you do go out to dinner and want to split the bill, or you pay the check and I'll leave the tip, I'm all for that. I do have old-fashioned values and enjoy being taken care of as much as the next girl. By the same token, I'm a modern, independent, strong, stubborn woman who would rather stand on my own two feet than depend on some man to provide for me, which he will, more likely than not, fail at doing anyway. (Us divorced gals think like that.) I'm just saying that money isn't a topic of conversation that I normally approach in the first date. I mean, we've got about 30 minutes to get acquainted before one or both of us wants out of this uncomfortable situation, so let's chat about stuff that makes us who we are. The little things at the core of ourselves. The scar on my knee from summer camp circa 1997 (rogue nail sticking out of a bathroom door). The fact that I don't eat blue M&M's (just on principle). How proud I am of the garden I'm growing this summer (pictures to follow). But dollars and cents? Really?

So here's how it went down. We were talking about me how he has been living in his apartment with a guy for a few months now, but it's only temporary. The other guy needed a roommate and my date offered to help him out for the time being. But he's looking to buy a house in the future, once he has someone to settle in with. He can afford the down payment and has great credit to grab a mortgage at a low rate. How do I know this? He busted out his financial records to prove it to me.

Yes, you read that right. I'll give you a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor.

There it all was in black and white (nothing in red, I might add.) He showed me his bank accounts (all 6 of them), his stock portfolio (very diverse and profitable), his student loans (all paid off), and all 3 major credit reporting agencies full score evaluations. He even had the breakdown of his inheritance from all grandparents and when / where the money had been / will be spent, along with his own life insurance policy information. He was ready, willing and able to make the transition from renter to owner and was looking for a great girl to do that with.

I know what you're thinking: do it you silly girl! Jump. Run. Whatever you want to call it. Get the hell out of your parents' house and go live with this money mogul. He can provide a life for you. He can support you and all your dreams for the future. Here he is, offering to build a home for us...

On the first date...

And that's what the rest of you are thinking. You don't know what makes him laugh or if he can quote Spaceballs or what his favorite flavor of ice cream is. You don't know what kind of mood he's in when he wakes up in the morning or how he likes to relax on the weekend or what section of the newspaper he reads first. You don't have a clue what his family life was like growing up or what his siblings names are (assuming he has any) or which way he hangs the toilet paper. Over or under? These are very important questions that need to be answered in every relationship.

But again, not on the first date!!!

So where does that leave us, dear reader? Damned if you do, damned if you don't. I want to know that you can afford my glass of Chardonnay, but I don't need to know that you can afford homes in the following zip codes. I want to know that you don't mind taking me out for a meal, but I don't need to know your weekly grocery budget. I want to know that we can have a night out at the theatre without breaking open your piggy bank, but I don't need to know how much spare change you deposited last month. There must be a happy money medium. Right???

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