"The Ethicist" is Randy Cohen's long-running advice column in the New York Times. Each week, Gabriel Delahaye's "The Unethicist" will answer the same questions as "The Ethicist," with obvious differences.
In this week's installment, a gold-digger gets tired of all this digging, and how jealous are you of that legless dude on the skateboard asking for change in a fucking killer Atari jacket that Beacon's Closet would totally charge you like three month's loft-rent for?
After a long stretch of unemployment, I might have lined up a modestly paying job. The man I am involved with earns at least $200,000 a year and has several million dollars in savings. Despite this disparity, he insists that if we wed I must then bear half the cost of everything. I think married people should pool their resources, contributing what they can. He thinks I am looking for a sugar daddy. You? — name withheld, New York
Arguments over money are one of the leading causes of marital unhappiness and divorce in this country, so you are not alone in feeling frustration over a difference in financial planning with your mate. Surprisingly, being super high and on drugs and making no fucking sense doesn't seem to bother anybody. Seriously, your question is all over the god-damned map. Put down the bong, Bongy McBongsalot, and let's figure this out.
The fact that the unemployed chick dating a multi-millionaire suddenly feels very strongly that married couples should share everything comes as no surprise, but when you suggest that the spouses should "contribute what they can," what in particular do you plan on bringing to this relationship? Your charming sense of entitlement and bountiful self-righteousness? Or maybe you just hope to share with him the delicious freedom of feeling like you don't even need to get a job because your boyfriend is rich?
I'm not here to judge. I mean, I am here to judge, but lord knows if I could fool a rich chick into marrying me, I would be all over that like caviar on a quail's egg. Here's what you do: poke a hole in the condom. Then you can just keep explaining that the $3,400 Macy's charge was "for the baby." In the words of the one true philosopher of the human condition, Sinbad, "Women be shoppin'!"
For years, I've donated old clothes to charity. Then I learned that many of these garments are shipped to poor countries where they are sold, devastating local industries and thus creating more poverty. The recipients do get inexpensive clothing, and my local charity makes money, but I fear I'm doing more harm than good. Advice? — Georgia Vogelsang, Baltimore
It might help to look at global poverty like a cancer, Georgia. Modern medicine cannot cure cancer, it can only hope to detect it early, excise tumors through surgical means, and keep the cancer at bay through a series of violent radioactive and chemical treatments. Similarly, global poverty seems beyond the means of our current political system. Modern governments do some things to curb poverty, but the demands of free-market capitalism are such that it will, despite the best intentions, continue to spread and metastasize, particularly in the third world where it has developed into hard, knotty, starving human tissue.
And again, like cancer, the best you can really hope to do as an individual, is wrap that human cancer up in an old Levi's snap-button western shirt and a Kappa tracksuit and watch it haul water twelve miles through the grass plains to cook some rice for its baby with the distended stomach and vacant eyes. Looking good and feeling good (except for the dysentery, or whatever.)
The real tragedy in this, of course, is that when the hipsters see documentaries about the African AIDS crisis or urban homelessness, they can't help but put down their PBRs and remark to each other about how jealous they are of that dude with the abscessed nose with no hands wearing the "fucking amazing Sheila E. t-shirt from the 88-89 Lovesexy tour," and then their poor little PBRs get warm!