Let’s face it, being gay is expensive! Gays are active, mobile, on the go, always in front of the latest trend or newest pop culture sensation. We always have a drag brunch to get to, always a birthday party to attend or a “Hey It’s Wednesday the workweek is half over” party! Teaching in the public school system for almost 20 years, I have always been the “poor” one out of my group of friends. In recent years it’s gone from bad to GAY POOR!
From 2005-2011 I was living, working and going to Grad School in South Florida. I taught middle school and high school for the Miami Dade County Public School System. I was barely making $45,000, and that was only because I coached two teams and moderated a few student activity groups earning thousands in stipends. However, the cost of living was so low I never really felt GAY POOR! During my years there, I lived in three gorgeous large apartments, all with balconies and pools. One apartment complex even had TWO pools, plus a sandwich shop and liquor store. We lovingly called it “the compound” and wouldn’t leave the grounds some weekends!
Moving back home to NYC things were VERY different, financially speaking. Even though my salary more than doubled it seemed money disappeared much quicker once I became a Brooklynite! #Williamsburgrepresent
Everything costs more in NYC. If I used my debit card the Thursday night before a Friday payday, I would hold my breath swiping it through the machine hoping against hope it would say “APPROVED!” Only one time did it get declined. No sour patch kids and US Weeks magazine for Robby! And trying to amass a rainy day fund or savings account – nearly impossible.
Two years ago I made a somewhat bold, somewhat risky decision to leave the NYCDOE with the intention of kickstarting my writing career. Here I am two years later standing before you GAY POOR!
If I thought to live in Williamsburg on a public school teacher’s salary was hard, I was not prepared at all for the realities of living in Williamsburg on a part-time substitute teacher slash tutor slash freelance writer slash bloggers salary! That is the very definition of GAY POOR! Yes, GAY POOR can be considered a “first world problem.” I make enough to cover rent, utilities, and basic life needs. I know I am better off than a majority of the people on this planet but for the purpose of this article please allow me to vent about being GAY POOR!
GAY POOR means no $3,000 summer share on Fire Island.
GAY POOR means no yearly vacations to a different beautiful exotic location. Each year the location changes but weirdly all the gays know beforehand where to go! Past locations included Tel Aviv, Barcelona, Mykonos, Sydney, and Puerto Vallarta.
GAY POOR means no pricey skin/face/eye cream from Kiehls. Target store brand works just fine (honestly it’s pretty good! #welovetarget)
GAY POOR means hitting up Dollar Tree for seasonal/holiday decorations, costume/theme party outfits/accessories instead of Amazon Prime. (If you haven’t been to a Dollar Tree find one immeds. Everything in the store is – as you guessed it – $1. Go in there with $20 you feel like a baller!)
GAY POOR means no trips “to the dentist” every 6 months to smooth out those lines that occur after one too many late nights, or the ones that just appear after we cross the dreaded 40-year-old threshold.
GAY POOR means cutting old jeans into super cute shorts. Add them to your closet instead of buying all new ones every Spring.
GAY POOR means doing your laundry at the laundromat instead of sending it out to be done. (see attached pic)
GAY POOR means drinking at dive bars not bougie rooftop bars with 360-degree views of New York City.
GAY POOR means drinking vodka sodas at these dive bars, not Titos and soda. (hell yes we are still going out we are GAY POOR we are not nuns!)
GAY POOR means going out shirtless dancing in the clubs once every few months, not once every few weeks. Maybe we can just chalk this one up to getting older!
GAY POOR means not going to see PINK for a 4th time during her last world tour.
GAY POOR means taking the subway home from Hells Kitchen at 2 am after a fun night with friends, not an Uber. (don’t worry about my safety, L train is hella crowded at that time, can’t even get a seat! )
Looking forward to the day I am a successful, HIGHLY PAID writer so I can fondly look back on these leaner days and be all like “WTF!” But looking back on all these GAY POOR observations, I realize I am smiling and happy and remembering great times. I kind of love dive bars and my cutup makeshift jean shorts!
Is this my AHA moment when I realize being GAY POOR isn’t all too terrible after all. When you are GAY POOR, you are still GAY! And trust that I am having a GAY old-time rich or poor…so who is ready for a trip to Dollar Tree? Robby needs a face mask and something cute for a theme party this weekend!