My Boyfriend’s a Stingy Slob. Should That Be a Dealbreaker?

Life & Love


Dear E. Jean: I finally met a great guy. I’m a scientist, 5’7″, a size 6, attractive, love the Coen Bros., etc. He’s a tall, funny PhD with dark hair, a brilliant job, a salary in the low-mid six figures, a three-story house, five acres, etc.

For the first couple of weeks, he said he didn’t want to go out for dinner because he wanted to “be alone” with me. (“Alone” = coming to my house every night and eating the food I’d bought.) Then I went to his house to dine. In his enormous living room was one crappy-looking, moth-eaten sofa. His bedspread was an old sleeping bag. He has no cell phone, answering machine, or even cordless phone. Forget high-speed Internet or cable (he says they’re “not worth it,” though he watches my cable the instant he sets foot in the door). His car is 16 years old. His T-shirts are freebies from drug companies. And what did he make for dinner? Triscuits and hummus. For my birthday, he gave me a stainless steel trash can!!

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I’ve repeatedly tried talking to him about the pleasures in life that are worth paying for, but he won’t budge. Am I wrong? Am I too much of a hedonist? I’m contemplating marrying this man. If I say “I do,” will I have to make my own clothes out of burlap potato sacks and eat Triscuits forever?—Not Old Mother Hubbard

Hubbard, you adorable glutton: I lurve Triscuits, and I’ve always believed that happiness can come from spending less, not more, money. But dang! Your Scrooge McDorkweed—poor guy!—is a petty little prune who thinks nothing of tossing the grandest joys (including you) into a trash can to save $3.33 a month. I feel bad for him, but unless he changes, as a husband he’d be a joke; as a father—what am I saying? He probably wouldn’t spend the sperm to make such a thing possible. Unless you want to live the classic “unlived life,” ruuuunnnnnnnn!

This letter is from the Ask E. Jean Archive, 1993-2017. Send questions to E. Jean at E.Jean@AskEJean.com.



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