I’m 25 years old and I’ve recently started dating a new guy, David, and he’s pretty awesome all round. We have SO much in common, and the things we don’t have in common make it interesting. His parents are immigrants from Guatemala and Peru. My background is waspy and honestly, I’ve never had to worry too much about money, while his parents worked minimum wage jobs. We have pretty different relationships with both money and racial justice, based on where we grew up and what we were exposed to.
This is all important context because David is starting to get into what I call his “gentrification scheme,” which I find morally dubious at best, downright evil at worst. He’s renting apartments in relatively cheap areas, cleaning and furnishing them (so there is some investment there), and then marking up the price and renting to international students to make a pretty hefty profit. We’re talking double the rent. He’s looking for easy and fast cash, and I get that. But jeez, this feels to me like the only kind of gentrification you CAN control.
We’ve talked about it and I’ve taken the attitude of, “Look, I like you tons so I will continue to date you, and I don’t think it’s my place to tell you how to make money, especially because I’m a girl from out of town.” Then I make it clear that I think what he’s doing is wrong, especially because he doesn’t seem to need the money desperately right now.
He says he’s saving for a house and wants to be able to help his family. My response to that is…well, don’t we all? One of my friends told me that he’s sleazy and my dating him implicates me by association. How much weight should this hold in our brand new (six week!) relationship? Should this signal to me that he’s not a moral guy? Or should I continue to date him and kind of ignore the sleazy way he makes money?
New guy, new worries
Dear New Guy,
Much to unpack here! First, I’d like to point out that your friend’s unsolicited opinion is not helpful. She is not a part of your relationship with David (unless there’s something you’re not telling me!) and everyone should be free to make their own mistakes when it comes to matters of the heart. Inside a relationship, we’ve all done stupid things. But hopefully the stupid things we’ve done are ours and ours alone so that we can learn from them and hope no one gets their heart ripped out in the process.
Second, I’d like to point out that this relationship is still brand spanking new, and you just don’t know each other that well. Sure, you may decide that he is evil incarnate and drop kick him to the curb. But that may just be because he chews with his mouth open.
In time, you may come to see his situation differently. You may understand his motivation better or want to work to support the communities in the neighborhoods you are describing and encourage David to join in.
You just have no idea how things will shake out. Enjoy what is good and see how it goes. If your spidey sense continues to tingle, be open with him about your concerns. There are lots of ways this could play out…give it time, give it some thought and give your friend a muzzle.
I’m about to start my first real summer job – it’s at a serious company that does serious work and if I do well, it could lead to a serious job when I graduate college. While I work hard at school, my previous summer jobs have been lifeguarding and camp counseling, jobs I feel very confident about! But I am so nervous about this next chapter. What do I know about doing a serious job, office etiquette and what to wear? I haven’t dressed up since my bar mitzvah in seventh grade. Help!
Post College Panic
Dear Post College,
You know you’ve reached maturity when you feel like an imposter for the first time. Welcome to adulthood! Congratulations. Let me be the first to tell you that almost everyone you come into contact with, from here on out, feels exactly the same way you do…they just don’t talk about it. Once in a while you’ll come across a supremely confident person who absolutely knows they are the best person for the job, but they are called politicians (or maybe surgeons) and we know what everyone thinks of them.
Remember a few things. One, this company hired you. That means they think you can do the job! Let’s assume they are right, because they are. Two, everything is more intimidating before it begins. In the absence of hard information, your brain will sabotage you by filling in the information gap with the worst possible scenarios. That’s called being alive. Three, if your worst fear comes true (which it won’t, trust Gabby) and you find yourself in way over your head, that is the time to go to your boss and talk honestly about what you need help with. It is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of confidence. They will be happy to help you.
As for what to wear, always get slightly more dressed up than you think you need to be on the first day, when you can see whether the other people there are in board shorts and beanies or buttoned up blazers. Then, do you! Good luck!
How does anyone stay married, ever?
No frigging idea.
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Monday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby at firstname.lastname@example.org.