Now that I've sworn off sex for
Now some people might tell you that if you choose to live in an incredibly expensive city, travel extensively, and go out regularly to bars with ten-dollar-plus drink prices, then you shouldn't be surprised that you can't afford to buy a condo that costs ten times your annual income. Those same people might even tell you that the answers to your problems are self-evident. But we here at The Neighbors Will Hear aren't those people. We like to ac-centuate the positive and e-liminate the negative, so you will never, ever hear us tell you to move the fuck out of Manhattan, stay home, and invite your friends over for (foreign language) Scrabble and (domestic) beer. Nor will we tell you that if you rail against the consumerist capitalist system on the one hand while embracing it with both arms, then you deserve what you get. On the other hand (I realize there are no arms left, but there's still a hand), if you were to reasonably infer* any of those suggestions from what we do say, then we can't be held responsible.
Nor can we be held responsible for anything you do upon our advice (if you hold us responsible for flagrant abuse of the royal plural, though, we would have to agree with you). That was a disclaimer, by the way: I am a financial professional, but I am not a certified financial planner. I'm a tax CPA (and an anonymous stranger from the Internet, here only for your entertainment), so the only thing I'm really qualified to tell you is that unless you're a sex worker, you can't legitimately deduct the cost of condoms for income tax purposes. (I don't have any credit card debt, though, so I reckon I'm doing something right.)
In any case, the big picture solutions (debt consolidation, roommates, second jobs, rich boyfriends, large inheritances, bank robbery, organ donation, and/or marrying well-heeled closeted lesbians) to a financial crisis are both obvious and dreary, so I'm going to work around the margins.
Let's begin with the premise that sex is cheap. You can, of course, make it expensive, but it can and should be cheap. To illustrate my last remark,
Anyway, E and X are best friends who share a two-bedroom apartment in Northwest DC. In fact, they share everything except bodily fluids. You might call it a Boston marriage. The point is, they look to each other for everything except getting laid. You can decide whether that's because they're both tops or both bottoms, but given the picture and the fact that it's DC, the answer ought to be pretty obvious. Anyway, it's a Friday night, and E and X both want some hot butt sex. E decides that he's going to hunt, while X decides to gather. Here's how the night goes.
8:00 E begins to decide which bar he wants to go to. X jumps on Manhunt.
8:05 - 8:30 E continues to ponder the merits of various bars and finally comes to a decision. X chats with eight guys, seven of whom are either unsuitable or flake on him. The eighth guy is hot and interested and wants to come over at 9.
8:30 - 9:00 E looks through his closet for what to wear. X showers, tidies up his room, and places an M4M ad on craigslist. For later.
9:00 - 10:00 E showers, tries on various outfits, and messes with his hair. X and T1 retire to X's room, where they work up a sweat and make a lot of noise. E jealouses.
10:00 - 10:30 E catches his first bit of luck when T1 agrees to share a cab to P Street. E doesn't get T1's interest or number, but he saves half the cab fare. X jumps back in the shower, then smokes a joint.
10:30 - midnight E goes to the bar, pays the cover, has a couple of expensive drinks, makes some eye contact, but only talks to guys whom he already knows and who share his positional preference. X drinks a beer and fields responses to his CL ad and additional interest from Manhunt. He chats with a few suitable men, gets some phone numbers, and arranges for two of them to come over at midnight. He has plenty of time left over to e-mail his mother, comment on his favorite blogs, and surf free porn sites.
Midnight - 2:00 E continues to get drunk. Finally mustering some alcohol-induced courage, he starts conversations with men who are unimpressed with his inability to hold his booze before finding someone willing to snog him. After fifteen minutes of making out, the guy leaves with someone else. T2 and T3 arrive at the apartment, and X takes it from both ends until he's exhausted but happy. He sees the boys out, and falls asleep. Soundly.
2:00 - 2:30 E stumbles home, puts on a DVD, attempts to jerk off, and falls asleep, unable to maintain his erection.
The next morning (okay, early afternoon) E and X both wake up. E is hungover and smells of booze and cigarette smoke. X is sore but refreshed and smells of sex. X makes coffee and breakfast because he's that kind of guy. After E's had a shower and three cups of coffee, he goes to craigslist and posts a missed connections ad because he's that kind of guy. In the afternoon, it's time to go shopping, but between the 1.5 cab fares, the cover, the drinks, and the tips, E has to use his credit card to purchase a small bottle of Alleve, which he desperately needs. X needs to replenish his lube (the tops brought their own condoms), but he has enough left over so that he can come home with two hot new polo shirts (on sale, of course). And his self-respect.
I would argue that making your own entertainment is usually both cheaper and more fun than going out for it. I'm certainly not saying that hanging around and drinking isn't fun, but it's at least as much fun to have ten of your closest friends over to watch a bad movie and get hammered on homemade girlie drinks as it is to go out. And assuming that you only have to host this gathering one in ten times, it's way cheaper.
Anyway, there are lots of other ways to save money on sex. You can, for example, buy your condoms in bulk. That's not a terribly user friendly site, but that's probably partly why the prices are so reasonable. Condom expiration dates are typically five years from the date of manufacture, so you should be able to use 100 before they go bad. If you can't, get together with a buddy to split an order. Once again, economies of scale are your best friends.
Economies of scale are also great when it comes to porn. If you're like me, you've got a box (okay, six boxes) of porn that you watched a few times and then stuck away. Porn is expensive, so you and those same ten of your closest friends need to get together. Make a list, divide it up, and each of you buys your share of the DVDs. Then you pass them around. Also, keep in mind that hardcore porn is expensive porn. I tend to find softcore porn equally strokeworthy and a lot cheaper. Plus it has entertainment value as well as masturbatory value, and you can plausibly watch it with your friends and watch them get uncomfortable. Or watch it with a date and pretend that it's not really porn, even after you've acted out the hayloft scene.
Finally, if you work lots at a good job, so you're not financially pressed, but you're still looking to save some money, there are plenty of sources of (relatively)inexpensive domestic labor (and companionship!) on the web. You can google for the other ones, and, of course, there's always craigslist.
*Apologies to my one reader who still thinks it's wrong to split infinitives. It's not wrong, but I regret causing you pain.