Unstable economy fails to stimulate relationships

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By Lorrie Kinkade

Some say stress and arguments about finances could be the cause of most divorces in the United States.

But what about those of us who are not presently being held in the institution that is marriage? Sure, it’s great that we have no one spending our hard earned cash frivolously; but can the current economy be at least somewhat responsible for keeping us single?

The company that owns this newspaper announced recently that the unpaid furlough epidemic has finally hit home. Beginning this week, all employees of Landmark Media Enterprises, Inc., formerly Landmark Community Newspapers, Inc., will be furloughed one day per month.

So now, not only will I not be able afford to go out with friends, thus taking away that chance of happening upon my “Mr. Right,” but soon I’ll have to pick up a second job to pay the bills, taking away precious hours that could have been spent scouring the world in hopes of finding my next (ex)husband.

You see, a lack of disposable income can present a serious problem in a girl’s search for a nice man to call her own. It limits her opportunities to go anywhere other than work and home, and because dating a co-worker is never a great idea (remember the saying about pooping where you eat), that just leaves finding a great guy in her own home.

Of course, you have to remember, if he’s already in her house, chances are good that he is a blood relative and thus not a proper mate. Or he may be chained to the pipes under the bathroom sink, and therefore not a good prospect, as he will surely run away as soon as the restraints are loosened.

It may still be possible for a woman to come across “The One” at the public library or to find him at a free local community event. But what then? Even if she meets that top-notch man at the grocery store where she’s gone in search of clearance cereal bars or half-price, day-old bread, what does she have to offer in terms of dating?

She can invite him to her house for a romantic dinner, but if the way to a man’s heart is truly via his stomach, that bowl of macaroni and cheese she whips up isn’t going to encourage a spontaneous marriage proposal. Maybe he wouldn’t notice the poor excuse for a meal if a drag race airing on the SPEED Channel were flashed before him, but alas, satellite and cable companies require a fee she can’t probably afford.

There might be something worthy on the local channels, but until she sells another batch of plasma to pay for a converter box, the digital television revolution has snatched even “free” TV from her grasp.

For men, being single and financially strapped can’t be easy either. A nice restaurant or even a midday movie matinee can be out of the question when regular paychecks have been replaced with state unemployment benefits. And although I am a fan of fresh picked wildflowers, what does a man do when only roses will make his female friend happy? And how can he carry that beautiful bouquet while riding his bicycle to her house, seeing as the bank repossessed his car after he was laid off from his job of 10 years?

Even if a potential love candidate doesn’t run at the first sign a man or woman may be one small step away from snacking on cat food and sewing patches on their underwear, what then? Will the constant letters from collection agencies and the idea of a significant other with a less than stellar credit report send him or her screaming into the night?

Or will there be concern that this wonderful, yet penniless, man or woman is searching more for a financial savior than a soul mate?

As I continue the search for my own happily ever after relationship, I understand that love can be as elusive as a good paycheck in today’s economy. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible.

Here’s to everyone struggling to pay the bills while still looking for their own love stimulus.