MONEY.

Don’t talk about it, plain and simple. It’s fickle. Uncomfortable. Private. Impolite. Sensitive. Rude. Gravely personal. Potentially embarrassing. And probably the most disputed over thing ever.

There are three rules that I learned while studying in Paris, of which I have proclaimed my loyal allegiances to ’til the day I die:

  1. “Préservatifs” are not preservatives, so don’t mention it at the dinner table. It’d be in your best interest to look the word up because you actually want “la confiture”.
  2. Keep your hands visible at the dinner table. The French like to see what their guests are doing above, rather than below (saucy!).
  3. More relevantly – DO NOT TALK ABOUT MONEY IN POLITE COMPANY. Discuss the stock market? Fine. The technical details of Madoff’s ponzi scheme and not the sum of your embezzled loss? Go ahead. You’d also be a keeper if you follow the euro – gotta look out for that reasonably fiscal opportunity to return to Paris!

BUT, steer away if conversation gets even a smidgen monetarily personal. Each individual’s relationship with money is unique. Therefore, do not drown the person you’re dating with details of your financial character until you are truly getting close to him or her, like maybe after 5-7 dates. Maybe.

You should be familiar with CO from my previous post. Well, we begin to chat about what we like to do in our free time when out of nowhere, he looks me dead in the eye and says verbatim: “I’m actually very frugal. I don’t usually spend money, at all.” WOW…on so many levels! But the worst is that CO verbalized this to me on the first date. Holy book of etiquette, how did Uncle Scrooge segue into that?

Please do not ever tell anyone that you are frugal. Social Sacrilege! Dating Sacrilege! It doesn’t matter if you are indeed frugal; it is an awkward association, since frugality is not necessarily a commendable trait. The word is a level above “stingy”, hovers below “thrifty”, and its antonym is practically “generous”. If you have to mention a $ related characteristic (you don’t and shouldn’t), “financially conscious” would be more appropriate.

TB had the opposite malady – an insufferable habit of bragging about his and his family’s wealth. Case in point: during a conversation about life in college, he told me that his father once asked him for his checking account balance, to which he’d responded, “around $10,000”. TB then informed me that daddy Warbucks fretted over the small amount. The end. That’s the story. Wait, wait…SERIOUSLY?

Money speaks volumes, but please do not speak (of) money. It’s incredibly poor taste. I was mortified because CO and TB obliterated their respective conversations. I am not going to try and fathom what compelled them to share, or what purpose they’d hoped to achieve because I don’t know how their thought processes, or lack thereof, work.

How did CO and TB expect me to respond to their gratuitously gauche commentary? Gaze at CO in  awe and gush, “it’s so awesome that you’re frugal!” ? Swoon over TB? Or ring up some homies to mug  the guy, because he’s trying so hard to tell me something…oh…that he’s RICH, right? I seriously  considered the latter.

BORING. These two did not present themselves using colorful language and positive  terminology. In  CO’s case, being “frugal” doesn’t reflect well: is that all he can think of to describe  himself? I’m  ambitious! I’m happy! I paint! I run marathons! I watch action movies! I cook a mean  lasagna! I  follow sports, politics, the weather channel! No, no. I’m……frugal. Pfffffffffffffffffttt. Way to  deflate that balloon.

The same goes for TB. Instead of telling me about something interesting and engaging, like maybe how he found himself passed out in a bush with whipped cream in his hair after some raging kegger, he attempted to show off and mask the fact that he is very boring. Having 10k in a bank account tells me nothing. Point is, you don’t have to lay all your dollarz out on the table. Humans are perceptive; we can put two and four together (6) and deduce a persons’ relationship with money vis-à-vis their actions.

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