What is it about being poor that makes a person immediately want to buy a bottle of wine?
I just don’t think it’s very fair to be tested like that, you know? Because, yes, I’m well aware I should probably spend my last $10 on some sort of starch but, in the battle of Great Value bread versus eight-dollar red, the same one always wins — and, at the end of the night, I’m hungry.
I’m not the only one who makes this terrible choice. University students have been doing it for decades. The only difference is that I can no longer call myself a university student. The government just calls me “unemployed.”
At this moment it is important that I assure you, dear reader, that I am not starving nor am I an alcoholic. I am simply making a grand proclamation about the correlation between not having any money and wanting to spend it on frivolous things.
Over the years I’ve actually become quite adept at being a glamourous dollar-challenged person. My dad used to tell me I had champagne taste on a beer budget — and, while it’s not the most convenient of circumstances, it could be worse. I could just have beer taste on a beer budget. Where’s the fun in that?
I have learned — through major trial and error (mostly error) — how to keep the earth spinning when you can’t say yes to all those things people are asking you to do all the time. Not just spinning, mind you — I’ve learned to keep it dancing, prancing, gliding, jazz-hand-ing and glittering like those Tiffany earrings I can’t afford at this precise moment in time.
You see, poor is a state of mind, and this girl doesn’t do poor.
When I am lacking in fiscal exhuberance — which has been most of my adult life give or take one or two really lucky years — I do things like plan exotic vacations. I add dozens of bikini bottoms to my Victoria Secret checkout cart and leave them there while I work towards the body I want to fit in them. I make promises like, “Of course I’ll sign up for motorcycle lessons with you next month!” as a way to manifest a windfall. I usually wear extra lipstick and kiss people on both cheeks when I greet them. Sometimes I even talk in a British accent as a way to sound more posh, but usually that backfires — my cockney is much more natural.
I choose to wallow in bathtubs while wearing large sunglasses and drinking water from a champagne flute. I wallow by picking my neighbour’s flowers while she isn’t looking. I wallow by eating cheddar and calling it gouda. I wallow by calling my wardrobe collection “vintage” even though it’s simply a couple years old. In truth, I don’t actually wallow at all.
Lacking in monetary excessiveness is a right of passage. Sure, Taylor Swift will never have to go through it but, when I was 14, I was too busy kissing posters of Jonathan Taylor Thomas to write a song about him. I guess that’s my loss.
It’s easy to get swept up in the desire to spend, especially when you don’t have the means to do so. We want what we can’t have — isn’t that the adage? But, wanting what we can’t have doesn’t mean not having anything at all. It simply means we settle for wine when what we really want is champagne.
— Andria is a twenty-something blogger living in Kamloops with her 100 pairs of heels and 200 paperback Penguin Classics.