i’m not homeless. i’m not contagious. i don’t have cooties. i am not to be pitied. despite the extremes in gender disdain – men get the harsher end of the stick far more often than women when unemployed* – no matter who you are, unemployment is a dirty, dirty word.

damn right i did.

damn right i did.

according to society, that is. for some reason, it seems likely that i am about to ask for a handout rather than the name of a good dry-cleaning place.or for a ride. or for food. or to crash on their couch. a glass of cheap whiskey, perhaps? like i am expected to look disheveled, sloppy, scruffy, malnourished. scared, afraid of light and interaction, a pariahs. wait…

like this?

like this?

my luck, being as pitiful as it may in scoring justifiable wages and a legit job right now, will not give me the power to get you sick, wither your crops, or turn your milk sour. me telling you my situation gets me a few looks:

pity

pity

or this one:

disdain.

disdain.

hell, sometimes we get full out:

especially by older white males.

especially by older white males.

come on, son, i lack a job, not a soul! that’s debatable, actually. depends on if your company is hiring or not.

oooh! yes! did you ever do that to someone after getting one of those looks? give them the big ole doe eyes and say, “unless your company is hiring?” and watch them sputter and stammer and choke on an answer. it’s great fun.

go on, say it.

go on, say it.

“oh, you’re not? that’s a shame. i could really use a good job right now. any job, actually. you sure you aren’t hiring? not even for janitor? sweep your parking lot? shine your shoes, gov’ner? how about…hey! where are you going? is it mcdonalds? wait! let me give you my linkedin url!”

come back!

come back!

i ruin more and more good friendships that way. eventually, we turn from all that negative energy and start focusing on ourselves. we stay indoors, sleep in, let it all hang out! maybe skip a shower or two, throw on some sweats, buy cheap frozen pizza and binge on netflix all day (or night). because your cable was turned off weeks ago. lock the doors, close the curtains, shun everyone and become who you really want to be…

dammit.

dammit.

next post: hobbies – or, starring in your own cooking show

* i am not saying that somehow women are not ever on the receiving end of such treatments, however – it is still an old, unbroken stereotype and gender role that men are supposed to be the “breadwinners” and therefore when unemployed become freeloaders and useless. women certainly can as well, being called golddiggers, but until this stigma is broken, it is what it is. i still respect that it goes both ways. just not as equally.

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