Dear Aunty Pam: So I’ve re-entered the dating pool by going out with a man I met online (after meeting some truly awful ones) that I’ll call “Aiden” since everybody else who writes you seems to call their men, “Bob.”
Aiden and I have gone out on five dates. Each time he has been respectful, has always asked where I might like to go, has good manners, is attractive and seems to be quite thoughtful. Our dates have been simple and nice: we’ve gone to the movies, met for coffee and dessert, and been out to dinner a couple of times. For our fifth date Aiden said he’d like to cook me dinner as he really enjoys cooking, if I felt comfortable enough going to his place. I said, yes, but was careful enough to text my sister where I was going just in case he turned out to be a serial killer.
Aiden even suggested I drive my own car over so that I could leave if I felt uncomfortable, which I thought was very perceptive of him in this day and age, but when I turned down his street I thought it might be for a different reason. Aunty Pam, Aiden lives in a trailer in the middle of a small field on a country road with lots of other trailers in between some nice, modest homes. I wish I could say I’m a bigger person, “who cares if he lives in a trailer,” “none of that should matter,” but I found myself cringing when I pulled up. He keeps it very neat — the yard was tidy, there’s nice landscaping and there was no trash on the ground or cars up on blocks, like a couple of the trailers I passed. Inside, it was neat and tidy, if a bit dated, too.
Aiden cooked a really nice dinner that night and made a couple of comments like, “I know my home isn’t as nice as most houses but I’m hoping to pay it off in a couple of years and then build a house or a cabin.” I sort of tried to act like it didn’t matter, because he’s really a nice guy, but the thought of telling my friends or, worse, my family (who are very into appearances) that I’m dating a guy in a trailer mortifies me.
Am I just being an elitist, Aunty Pam? Should I be honest and stop seeing Aiden so that I don’t string him along when his home bothers me? Or should I just put on my big girl panties and not risk losing a perfectly nice gentleman that might be Mr Right? Help! Sara
Dear Sara: First of all, Aunty Pam would love to know when “elitist” developed such a negative connotation. If I board a plane I very much hope that my pilot is an “elitist.” I hope he or she graduated top of their class at flight school or the Air Force. I don’t want someone who graduated at the bottom of the pack from “Crazy Ed’s Flying School.” If I should be scheduled for heart surgery, I would tend to choose a surgeon who went to a very “elite” medical school and also graduated top of his or her class, and not Granny Clampett, capiche? The same with anyone in authority who finds themselves making life or death decisions for the rest of us. So Sara, dear, you’re not an elitist. You’re just a snob.
Our country tends to be woefully low on affordable housing and I have seen some very attractive mobile home and tiny home communities —even in Malibu! They’re all over Florida for those who have downsized and figured out their quality of life no longer depends on big, fat, shiny entertainment kitchens and three-car garages, but a lovely view, climate and friends.
I will, however, speculate that most younger people would like what pretty much everyone would like: a nice house with a picket fence and a big, goofy Labrador. Unfortunately, nice homes in nice neighborhoods are out of reach for millions and millions of Americans and unlike those who bought more than they could afford, found themselves underwater and lost their homes just a few years ago, people like Aiden have actually displayed common sense in — wait for it — buying what they can actually afford, paying it off and moving up to something a little larger.
And let me tell you something, girlfriend…a few years ago I watched a 60 Minutes episode on Dale Jr. who took the reporter to his home in the country: a two story farm house on 140 acres. “You wouldn’t be able to tell by lookin’ at it,” said Dale, “but it’s a modular.” Dale Earnhardt Jr., who could afford any house in any country chose to put up a modular house in a big field in the country.
So maybe think twice about why Aiden’s trailer freaks you out so much. Aunty Pam suspects it has something to do with that little line you threw in about appearances being very important in your family. A friend of mine who is a counselor reminds me often that many issues, if not all, are relational is origin. And so while I have no elitist education whatsoever, I’d say the answer is somewhere muddled up in there. You’d have to hire a counselor to figure it out, though, but it might be a good investment.
In the meantime, if you find that you just can’t deal with a trailer, by all means break it off now with Aiden. The very lucky chick who ends up bagging him will thank you profusely.