My Ex Was A Cheapskate

When you care about someone and they’re cheap with you financially and emotionally, it'll do nothing but bring down your self-worth and self-esteem. We learned valuable lessons about equality in relationships and what NOT to put up with. Thanks to all the cheap pricks who made this site possible. We may not have gotten a lot from you, but what we did get is a good laugh. At your expense! Send your story to excheapskate@yahoo.com

Friday, May 27, 2005

Cows? Milk? What?

Book Recommendation: The Bitch In The House, Edited by Cathi Hanauer

This collection of essays on motherhood, marriage and relationships has a nice chunk of writing on the negotiation of living situations and financial relationships with boyfriends who don’t pay the rent. I found it, for the most part, a well-written and insightful book overall. Worth checking out. Here’s a sample:

From Veronica Chambers “Getting the Milk For Free”:

“For all intents and purposes, we were living together. But he never paid rent or contributed to the food bills or utilities.

In retrospect, I can see how it might seem that I was blatantly being bamboozled. But the fact was that my boyfriend was very sweet and not the least bit conniving. He could barely pay the rent on his own apartment; his parents frequently chipped in to prevent eviction. So how, I asked myself, could I ask him to contribute to – much less split – my own sizable rent? I love him, I would remind myself. I was him to eat my food and spend each night with me. So I offered everything and asked for nothing and told myself that I was being the perfect girlfriend.

The truth is that I never knew how to ask him for what I wanted, for what was fair. The only thing I knew to do with a man was what I’d learned from my parents: to fight or not fight. I had no idea how to craft a partnership beyond that one basic thing. What’s more, discussing finances of asking for help around the house seemed very minor compared to the Important Things. My boyfriend didn’t hit me, he didn’t yell at me. What more could I ask? The only thing taking a beating was my checking account.

Of course, after a while, it all came around; by underwriting our relationship so drastically, I wasn’t giving my boyfriend a chance to be my partner and I began to resent the imbalances…He reminded me that our living together, as it was, was my idea. He said he wouldn’t clean my apartment because he had his own apartment/studio to worry about. He wouldn’t pay for risotto and top of the line Parmesan; at his apartment, he reminded me, he ate Kraft Macaroni and cheese and that was just fine….If I wanted to enjoy certain things, I had to pay for them…”

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Save Money, Take Spit-Baths

Thanks to our sweet-smellin' pal for sending this in!

I was engaged to my high school sweetheart for a year. He was stationed at Cherry Point and I lived about 3 hours away and would visit on the weekends. During the week we would talk on the phone; one day I call and get a disconnect message. When I next spoke to him I asked what happened and he told me he couldn’t pay the bill. I asked why and he replied “the Marine Corps doesn’t pay me enough”. Um, yeah, okay.

During one of my visits I’m taking a shower and I realize there’s no soap. So I call out to him to get me a bar and he says he's out of soap. Out of soap? He asked, “Do you really need soap?” Um, YEAH! I demanded that he find me some soap and he returns with a bottle of dishwashing liquid. Just what the hell was HE using to bathe during the week???

The last straw came at Christmas. He gave me this spiel about being broke and he was so sorry and I told him that Christmas wasn’t about the gifts but the thought so it was okay. He still wanted to get me something so he got me a Def Leppard t-shirt for $9.99. We then went into a music store and he plunked down $99 CASH for a new guitar pedal. His excuse? “I need this; I sound like shit!”

Between his poor budgeting skills, him continually getting money from his mom and his thoughtlessness I ended the relationship and gave him his ring back

Monday, May 23, 2005

Occupation: Being champions

Oh yes, friends. We have freaking ARRIVED.

We'd like to thank *sniff* our families, friends, our lame ex's for giving us such great material to write about, Bust magazine and its readers and everyone else who has made this honor possible.

http://www.bust.com/girlweb/Ratings/

Thanks everyone!

xoxo
Bella & Bella
the dirtyweekenders

Grave Robber

I dated this guy for about 6 months. We occasionally went out to dinner (3 times !!!!), and even went to a movie. Once. Well, he rented a movie and we watched it at my house. I was finished wasting my time and decided to have a heart to heart with him about how women like to receive flowers on occasions or a card to just simply say "Thinking Of You". The next week he had planned an actual date with me. Dinner AND a movie. Wow! He told me that he would be at my house at 4:30 and arrived 30 minutes late. I saw him getting out of the car and noticed he had flowers. As I stood in the doorway watching him come up the walkway I began to cry...tears of joy that he had thought of me. I pulled the card off of the arrangement. The card read "With our deepest sympathy, signed XXXXX". Looking in the local newspaper last year I read his wedding announcement...two months later his fathers obituary. Hmmm....I wonder if his new wife received flowers that day.

Friday, May 20, 2005

All Money, No Class

I have many stories about my ex-boyfriend, (Prince Fancy Lad), but this is my favorite.

We'd been dating 7 months when he took me out for my 25th birthday. He'd already given me a present-a sweatshirt-that I guess was kind of sentimental because it was exactly like the one I always wore at his apartment. Still, not very romantic. So we go to this restaurant, which is fine, but nowhere special. Low-priced food, etc. Since I'm not a gold-digger, I didn't think much of it. Then he gave me another present- a book. Ok. But then he was really quiet, so I asked him what he was thinking about, and he said, "How much all of this is costing me." Asshole!

His family is royalty in Thailand, he has the largest savings account of anyone under 50 that I know of, and his parents funded his graduate school studies. Give me a break! I broke up with him two days later.

Monday, May 16, 2005

You Don't Bring Me Flowers...

...You don't sing me love songs. Well, that's what Willy would say anyway. Check out this tale of woe from our friend, J:

I ran into my ex-cheapskate last weekend. It was a rough breakup but I've
come to terms. He wanted to let me know how much I had taught him about
the little things in a relationship (he has a new victim...). I asked,
"What kind of little things?" "Oh, you know...just little suprises to let
her know I'm thinking of her." Trying not to smack him (this is a man
who "forgot" my
b-day, x-mas, valentines, and cheated on me to cap
off
our one-year anniversary. Needless to say there was no second)
I asked "Like what?" He said, "Well, I was grocery shopping the day
after Mother's
Day, and there were all these discount flowers, so
I got her some."
He is looking at me like a four year old that finally
got the hang of potty training. "So you got your girl discount flowers?"
He faltered, "Yeah, I mean they weren't dying or anything, and hey what's
wrong with saving money AND making her happy?" I inquire if he is going
to marry her. He isn't sure, but then informs me she let him move in with
her, allowing him to rent out his house and make money off their rela-
tionship. Then he asked me to buy him a beer, and let me know her
house is worth a half-million.
I bought him the beer out of nostalgia
and wished him well.

Take off the love-goggles! That isnt the sparkle of love in his eyes,
it's little dollar signs! It's nice when you get past the hurt and
just see them for the ex-cheapskates they are.

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The Ghost Of Christmas Present(s)

This last story inspired me to write my own, which isn’t as funny, but perhaps puts an interesting spin on the “cheapskate” moniker because my cheapskate ex accused me of being a cheapskate. Christmas was, for my ex and I, the final nail in the coffin of an already waning relationship. I was in Europe (on tour) for three weeks and got home December 26th. Because space, time and money where quite limited while I was on tour, I bought a bunch of small gifts that I felt were thoughtful from the different countries I had visited.

Obviously, not being home, I wasn’t able to go through the more strenuous holiday preparations I went through in previous years – something I always enjoyed. In my absence, my ex had, to my surprise, really put a lot of effort in decorating. He bought a tree, put up lights and wrapped presents. I was shocked as this wasn’t really the type of stuff he normally did. But I was impressed. After all those years when I made the effort, I felt like he was getting it! He was doing something nice for me! Everything seemed fine.

About two weeks later, after a fight – about what I no longer remember (though most likely about him not cleaning the house…ever), he wrote me a long letter in which he detailed what he felt all my transgressions for the past two years of the relationship. I don’t know if this was just a running list in his head or if he had been keeping notes, but just about everything from my appearance to wrong things I had said years ago were covered. But the worst thing about this letter was that he had felt that my Christmas gifts didn’t match up to his – that he was “disappointed” in the money and time I had spent. When I mentioned that I had been out of town for the entire previous month, he said that I should have planned in advance for that. When I mentioned that I had, for the four previous years put an incredible effort into Christmas and his birthday, while I felt he had shown considerably less interest in mine – that didn’t matter. For the first time in the relationship, he had spent more money than I and he didn’t like it! And all this after years of letting me cook, do the housework, schedule and pay for plumbers, electricians, insurance and repairs to the house he was living in (while allowing him to pay ¼ of the cost of living there). I felt so insulted that I had been called a cheapskate…by the damned cheapskate!

Well, everything went downhill from there. We never recovered from that – and thank god too. I realized shortly after the breakup that I had dodged a bullet. In the following year and a half, I met a wonderful man who is a caring and equal partner, both emotionally and financially. People, don’t underestimate yourself and don’t settle for less. If it feels wrong to you, it probably *is* wrong. Get out while you can.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Screwed by a Scrooge

MUCH LUV and THANKS TO MORAG_EYRIE FOR THIS STORY:

I enjoy your blog- feels good to know I'm not the only otherwise strong intelligent woman who fell for a wanker. This guy I will call Mr. Rabbit, because he and his ex-girlfriend (theone before me) call each other Mr. and Mrs. R., and the R stands forRabbit.

Mr. Rabbit made clear well before Christmas that he was terrified of buying me bad gifts, and could I tell him what I wanted? My first response was"What? You want me to do the emotional labour of thinking about your gifts, and gifts for everyone else I'm buying for, and do YOUR emotional labour too?" It should be noted that at this time I was also spending an inordinate amount of time trying to sort out contraception because Mr. Rabbit refused to learn to wear a condom - an outrageous thing in this day and age for a man of nearly40. (Don't worry- I never had unsafe sex with him in the end).

I relented a bit as Christmas approached though, and gave him clear guidelines on what NOT to buy for a woman: 1. No sexy lingerie 2. No kitchen stuff 3. No football team merchandise (unless she's an avid fan and it's merchandise for her team). I asked him if he could see the common link between the three. He couldn't. I told him "Because they are all about YOU! Sexy lingerie to turn you on in bed, kitchen stuff to cook for you, and, well, need I go on?" I also dropped some massive hints and mentioned specifically: Johnny Cash Live at San Quentin DVD, a watch, a purse....I reassured him that I didn't mean an expensive watch or purse...just anything funky, glittery, colourful, unusually shaped...such can often be had for around £10.

Now, we were in fact getting on really well in the month leading up to Christmas- he'd visited Glasgow and we'd had a fantastic time- I was really starting to fall for this guy. I bought him some nice presents: a portable DVD player, a fluffy dressing gown from his football team's website (he needed one), a book he'd expressed an interest in reading, some chocolate body paint for us to play with, a box of really special chocolates. I got: a plastic cat keychain, two rubber duckies to play with in the bath (I guess), one of those little wooden cats with the long tailthat you put your rings on at night (I already have one, which he has seen by my bed), Aveda body wash, and the final and appalling indignity: a Joss Stone CD.

Mr. Rabbit only likes techno, and so probably thinks there is someconnection between commercial, soul-less white soul sung by a16-year-old pretending to have life experience (I don't evenparticularly like GOOD soul music) and the kind of music I like. Buthe knows how ignorant he is in this area and his flatmate has the same taste as me, so he could've asked him.

He said we could go out shopping and exchange it and that if what I wanted was more expensive, he would pay the difference. When we went shopping to exchange the CD, he shopped for a stereo amp for himself- generally looking in the £250-£300 range.

We got to the bit of Brighton known as "The Lanes" which is where there are alot of very funky and wonderful shops… but he whizzed through thesewith me trailing behind, having palpitations at all the great shops Iwas missing. When I did try to stop, he acted so impatient it wasn't much fun. We finally got to the record shop and I was feeling rather low and cold from traipsing round while he shopped only for himself. He gave me the receipt for the CD- so I saw that it had been incredibly cheap. I assumed this was another rushed visit so went straight in and bought the first CD I found– it was £6 more than the Joss Stone CD- something which would have been blindingly obvious to him when I showed him what I'd chosen, but he let me pay the extra myself. He came over to me with a great find: my favourite film by my favourite filmmakers (Miller'sCrossing by the Coen Brothers) on DVD with special extras, on sale! My face must've really lit up- the perfect gift for me! Then it sunk inthat he was buying it for himself. I swallowed my disappointment and asked where he'd got it, saying I wanted one too. He said: "It's the last one."

As he went to buy it I felt tears welling up and went outside to get it together- not quickly enough because he came out and demanded to know why I was tearful. So, after we had all that out when we got home, he said we could go back to The Lanes on the 2nd Jan. and shop there properly and that I could get a nice extra Christmas gift there. We went out on the 2nd and again looked for stereo amps for him. He slowed down a bit and I got to go into a few shops- there was a comics shop where I found the first 4 issues of the new Love and Rockets, and showed them to him. Nothing. Bought them myself. Went over to a rack he was looking at and found the graphicnovel In the Shadow of No Towers, Art Spiegelman's lauded depiction of September 11th. I picked it up and made a big show of ooh-ing andaah-ing. "So this is the kind of thing you like then?" said he. "Yes, " said I. Nothing. All I heard from him that first week in January was a complaint that it had cost him £35 to speak to me from Budapest. He still owed me £80 for the contraceptives I was forced to buy because he won't use a condom, plus I had my own mobile phone charges for those calls. So then, reader, I dumped him.

I've heard all the stories in the (British) media and from women about how terrible men are at buying gifts,how they can't help it, it's hard wired, etc. Crap. It's not hardwired - it's all about empathy and putting yourself in another's shoes. It's about making an effort to show someone you care about that you know them and love them. It is the thought (not the money) that counts… but that means there has to be thought. I'm not talking here about the minor fuckups we all make when gift buying, I'm talking about a serious lack of consideration for another human being. I have a male friend who acknowledges that he may have Asperger's Syndrome, and he managed to get an appropriate gift for his girlfriend for Christmas - not the most romantic of gifts- but it showed clear understanding of his partner's interests and values, and a degree of effort in the obtaining thereof.

Hope you can use this. I feel a bit silly that I didn't dump him sooner, but hey, hormones are powerful drugs.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Theme Songs For Break Ups

I think if we dirtyweekenders had a theme song, it would be Holly Golightly's "You Ain't No Big Thing". Sample lyric: "I gave you all of my money, and you took every dime, I must have been crazy, out of my mind." In fact, her entire Singles Roundup album is a fabulous break up album overall. In fact, I once wrote this about it and I'm sticking to it:

"You see, there comes a time when a girl must put on her go-go boots and face the world again with a renewed sense of purpose. You ran into your ex and his new "friend," and you didn't derive even the slightest hint of satisfaction from the realization that she's totally ugly. You are so over him. The dark clouds have parted, and the pain has mostly disappeared. He's gone, and that's not just OK, it's fucking great. Well, maybe you're not that over him yet, but at least you know you're going to make it. During this final stage of grieving, blues/garage chanteuse Holly Golightly is one tough lady to have by your side. "Virtually Happy", the first song on Singles Roundup (Damaged Goods), is one of the finest break up songs of the decade. Golightly vengefully intones, "Feels like a God has come over me/And made the pain you paid me with ease/ And there's hope/And there's more for me/I ain't ashamed to say/I believe/ That if I ever had you back again/Just long enough to get you back and then/ I'd be virtually happy". It's clear that she's a dame to be reckoned with, though never embarrassed to own up to her mistakes. She doesn't waste time with a lament and neither should you. Get off your ass and talk to that cutie across the room, dammit."

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Best Break Up Advice...EVER!

Thought we'd share some great advice from a dirty weekender Mom:

>From: "XXX"
>Reply-To: ""X"
>To: "XXX"


>continuation -
>
>Do not dwell on past. PLAN, AND CONCENTRATE ON
>KEEPING YOU SELF BUSY, USE YOUR TIME WISELY., meet
>other people. He is not worth your time anymore -
>don't think if I have done this, this wouldn't have
>happened -wrong thinking! He is the bad one. He can
>crawl hands and knees I won't take him back. He is
>bad seed. It's in his genes. Think positive it didn't
>prolong. Love mom

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Does the Honeymoon Suite Come With Complimentary Continental Breakfast?

From Cynthia with the cool Mom and soon to be Master of Science! Dirty Weekenders reminder: Don't forget to wish Mom a Happy Mothers Day on Sunday!!!

Seeing the posting on www.bust.com brought back a pleasant memory.

A few years ago I went back to the seashore where we (my husband and I) had our honeymoon. I asked for a tour of the high-rise condominium, pretending to be a potential guest. As I explored the different condominiums available, I suddenly realized my ex-husband had leased the smallest one available. I honeymooned in efficiency! For someone making $75K a year it was not a matter of what he could afford, it was a matter of being cheap.

I felt such release, such calm affirmation, and victory in knowing that I am a wonderful, powerful person who deserved so much more than what he chose to give me. I have for the most part completely forgiven and forgotten this man.

On another note - I rejoice in my pending Master of Science degree, and new career awaiting me.

After I lost my job, due to completion of a large construction project, my penny-pinching ex-husband would not allow me to return to college. He said, "I am not going to PAY for YOU to go to school." Now, ten years after my divorce and after a season of financial struggle - I
will be graduating with my Master's degree! It is not the Associate degree, technical training, or teacher certification I had originally planned. (Although, I highly recommend these to break free of dead-end careers!)

You know who encouraged me to reach HIGHER and FARTHER than I could imagine? My mother did.

Is Your Mate A 'Skate?

From my friend…oh, let’s call her…Debby H…who claims that there is a sure fire test to see if your mate is a ‘skate:

Call on your way home from work and ask your potential moochie if they will pick up something for you to eat for dinner. If they say, “I’m not hungry, why don’t you just pick up something for yourself”, call back in about fifteen minutes and tell them, “Oh, I’m at (restaurant)” -- do you want anything? If they place an order, you know what you’ve got!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Should've Run For The Border...

I went on a short trip to explore San Antonio with my ex and I was hungry so we finally went to eat something at Taco Cabana. While I got us a table, he went up to the counter to order. I told him I wanted tacos. He came back with several tacos for himself and offered to “split” ONE of them with me. When I expressed dismay at half a taco he looked at me and said, “Well, I didn’t know you were THAT hungry.” I had to buy them myself (and thus, he saved $3).