panda-like calm through fiction
My boyfriend and I have been sharing an apartment less than a year. Just a few weeks after we moved in, he got laid off from his job in IT. At first he was picky, looking for a job comparable to the one he lost, similar pay, and benefits, and prestige, riding his unemployment insurance and savings. And then when those dried up he tried to find something, even entry level, where he could still use his degree and experience. For the last three weeks, he's been applying for anything, anything he could.

I still have my job, and in my old place that would have been all right. Rent was always tight, but I made do. Our new place is bigger, and our utilities are more expensive. It doesn't help that my pay is only 80% of what a man would be making in the same job; of course, my boyfriend’s a few years older, and was in a better-paying field, so the gap is bigger still.

And it's still a chore to get him to do the dishes (um, pun not intended). I can hardly blame him for it; unemployed men still do about the same amount of housework as men who haven’t lost their jobs- it’s a fact, a cultural, societal one, and it isn’t fair to take that out on him- except that it still pisses me off. And we're certainly fighting more, and it's hard to know if it's only because we’re both frustrated and anxious with him unemployed.

And I know it isn't his fault, but our sex life started to suffer. He was on Lipitor, and occasionally needed Viagra to, um, you know. But when he lost his job he lost his insurance; we talked about extending his coverage through COBRA, but like 8 in 10 other Americans we couldn't afford the premiums; we're to a point where we're not sure we can make even our rent. And I mean, I’ve read enough to know how a man’s confidence is tied to performance, and how unemployment affects confidence.

Which isn’t all bad, I guess. With money as tight as it is, we've been cutting back on nonessentials. My birth control isn’t covered by insurance, which doesn’t actually matter, because my boss keeps me below 35 hours a week, the threshold for benefits. The Viagra and birth control we can live without (if you call that living), but the Lipitor we couldn't skimp on, which was another $60 bucks a month.

But Pfizer's just announced that they're going to give 70 prescription drugs away to workers who lost their jobs and insurance this year- including his two prescriptions. It’s actually something really nice, maybe even noble (with the caveat that I know, if they’re doing it at all, somebody thinks it’s good for business in the long run)- but it sort of terrifies me. I can’t afford birth control, so of course I can’t afford to get pregnant (I'm not entirely sure I ever want to get pregnant). But Pfizer says his prescription is in the mail, and should arrive any day.

I get the sinking feeling I’m about to get fucked here.

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