It offends me when people are discriminated against in the world of romance because they are poor. It offends me even worse when the discriminator isn’t even a potential partner but one of their (often well-meaning) family members or friends.
I’m not the victim this time, but it hurts as much as if it was. My best comrade is being vilified by his girlfriend’s mother for exactly this reason. (For privacy’s sake, I’m not mentioning their names.)
Just because a man is poor, does he not deserve a relationship? And please note, I am intentionally being gender-specific here, because most of this discrimination happens against poor men, not poor women. If my comrade was a poor woman, would her boyfriend’s mother discriminate against her for being poor? Probably not, unless the boyfriend’s family was super-rich, and even then, they’d probably be only concerned about her family background, not her individual economic status.
Anyway, my comrade is a Communist, though a much more traditional one than I am. He is criticised by his girlfriend’s mother for not “working”, though he actually works very hard at the thankless, non-paying task of preaching the Gospels of Saints Marx and Lenin over the Internet. At least in part because of his beliefs, he is conisdered by society to be “mentally ill” and receives SSI for that disability. I am largely in the same situation, though I receive Social Security disability benefits instead of SSI because I was classified as “mentally ill” before I was 22, and my parents were retired at the time, so I am slightly better off than him but not much. I am self-employed part-time as a writer and market research participant, but with a whopping business income of about $700 a year, most people would say I don’t “work” either. And yes, I have been discriminated against in the field of romance for the same reason.
My comrade is questioned as to why he doesn’t have a car. I can’t speak for him but I don’t have a car or a driver’s licence either. I didn’t do anything bad to get it taken away, I just never learned how to drive. The reason is that when I was a teenager, I decided to wait until I was 18 to learn how so I wouldn’t need my parents’ permission, as I didn’t want to hear lectures and advice from my overbearing father about what a responsibility driving was, etc. One must understand that he always treated me as if I was stupid (even though I have an IQ of 164), and his advice and lectures were more a form of harassment than anything useful or educational. They were so bad that it was worth it to go without a licence until I was 18. Unfortunately, I was locked up in a mental institution at age 17, and since I got out at age 20, I couldn’t afford driving lessons, so I never got my licence.
His girlfriend has both physical injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder from a previous bad marriage. She’s in no shape to work at most jobs, yet her mother repeats the right-wing refrain, “Take any job you can.” Realistically, the wrong job is worse than none at all. She is a self-employed artist and that is what suits her. Preaching on the Internet suits my comrade, and writing and participating in market research work for me right now (though I am running for Mayor of Minneapolis, a job I believe I would do well if I got it, but I realistically have my doubts).
Then her mother goes into Commie-bashing, mostly on the “society won’t approve” point of view. Yes, being a Communist largely means living a bad life in the United States, but in my opinion martyrdom is worth it for the cause of Truth. Besides, at least her boyfriend is “just” a Communist. If she was dating me, her mother would probably have a apoplectic fit over some of my beliefs, since in addition to being a Communist, I believe that Laura Ingalls Wilder is God, age of consent laws should be abolished, societal taboos such as incest and cannibalism are foolish, cleanliness and health should be free choices rather than societal mandates, personal sovereignty is more important than happiness, and people shouldn’t have to be socially acceptable.
It’s bad enough that the law allows parents to ruin their children’s lives for 18 years, but it’s despicable when those parents insist on continuing on even after that. I was underground through the 1990s because my mother wouldn’t recognise my right to personal sovereignty as a legal adult.
This poor woman’s mother then bashes one of her ex-boyfriends because he wasn’t allowed to see his kids and didn’t live near them. Well, that can happen to someone for many reasons. The same thing happened to me. I have kids I wasn’t allowed to have contact with since 2001. Of course I didn’t live near them, what was the point? I had a life to pursue. Their mother used my beliefs against me to get the ban, but I don’t believe that was the real reason she did it. (For personal reasons, I’m not saying more at this time.) Anyway, they’re all legal adults now, as of 15 May 2013. I’m probably not going to try to contact them for a couple more years, but I’m not hiding and if they want to contact me, they can.