Money, money, money — makes the world go round. Whether you’d like to admit it or not, the fact of the matter is that the world runs on capitalism. We buy things and we sell things — this is our way of life. From this system is born that which continues to plague members of the elite Generation-Y: materialism.
Now, materialism, though having its pros when taken in the most moderate sense, becomes a disease once it becomes a way of life. In our day and age materialism has seeped into the very beams that support our culture — so much so that even the simplest simplicities of life have become tainted with hints of materialistic tendencies.
It wasn’t always about the bling — or so I would like to believe. There must have been a time when we didn’t expect more out of life than living itself; I’m assuming this was true back in caveman times, ending some point around the same time as when it was no longer acceptable for men to just pick up a woman, throw her over their backs and bring her back to the shagging den.
Although, I have to admit that my roommate did just that one time — picked up some broad right off our couch and into his bedroom — making my venture with her best friend much easier: #divideandconquer.
Different people experience a different level of materialistic incorporation within their lives. Many people try to live with the bare minimum and are even somewhat successful at tackling the task. The rest of us on the other hand, don’t try as hard to resist the little, fantastically overpriced, pleasures in life — like diamonds or cocaine.
With what our culture has turned into, it is impossible to function within society without at least occasionally feeding into our materialistic urges. Or rather, it is impossible to expect a "normal" social life without buying things that aren’t necessary for our survival; in a way, that iPhone, iPad or iScratchmyass is necessary for us to "fit in" with the rest of our generation — so much so that Generation-Y has been defined by the ubiquity and importance of such gadgets.
Materialism generally carries with it a tone of degradation. Sure, you can make an argument for why we would all be better off if we didn’t feel a need to spend so much time working in order to make money so that we can buy something that we don’t need.
But let’s be honest: we like buying shit and we will continue to buy shit. The pleasure that we receive, from wasting, guarantees that we will continue to do so forever. And that’s fine; everyone ought to treat themselves occasionally to things that don’t have a functionality past making us a sliver happier. However, under certain circumstances, we would be better off keeping materialism at a distance.
That’s the problem with materialism: it doesn’t allow for compartmentalization; if you have materialistic tendencies, you’ll have them whether or not they are appropriate. There is one particular circumstance that I have in mind in which I believe materialism ought to be barred from wholly: our romantic relationships.
If love don’t cost a thing, then why are we all applying for additional lines of credit only days after the Valentine’s massacre? Love don’t cost a thing my ass; if you look at your credit card bill you’ll notice it cost you an arm and a leg — and depending on how badly you have fallen for you valentine, it may have cost you your balls too.
I understand the correlation between love and wanting to present your lover with gifts — a man providing for his woman is as old as lore itself. But while men used to provide women with meat (no pun intended) that they hunted and killed with their bare hands, we now provide them with page 6 of the Tiffany’s catalogue; doesn’t seem quite the same to me.
Many of you are most definitely having trouble seeing how I can find anything wrong with buying your lover gifts. Well, I don’t find anything wrong with showing your love via material gesture. I do, however, see a problem when the love between a man and woman veers away from the passion itself and begins to rely on "things" in order to keep the flame burning.
There is a certain level of expectation that emerges after repeated gift giving — not only does your lover expect another gift after the initial one, the longer you are together the more she will expect from each following gift. By expecting more, I don’t mean more in gesture; I mean more in price tag.
Every year, every birthday, every holiday, every anniversary comes with a higher expectation than that of the last. What initially started as an honest gesture of your love for your better half, rapidly turns into an annual competition you have with yourself and your bank account. You go from buying silver, to gold, to pearls, to diamonds to taking out a second mortgage on your house just to keep up with yourself.
But who really gives half a f*ck about spending outside your limits for the woman you love? Money is meant to be spent — and I agree with that entirely. You love her and you want to give her the world; since you can’t afford the world, maxing out your 3rd credit card will have to do.
It’s not the money that is of concern, it’s the transformation of the relationship that occurs after choosing to show love via dead American presidents. Being showered with luxurious gifts on the regular will skew any person’s view of reality and of what is important in life. Expectations begin to form. Personal definitions of what it means to love someone begin to mutate.
You eventually find yourself wondering how it is that you went from enjoying just kicking it with your lover, lighting up a bowl and finding comfort and happiness in the everyday, to feeling hurt by the fact that for your last birthday your man took you to the Bahamas while this year he only bought you 1k diamond earrings.
The beauty of love is that, no matter what you may incorrectly think, it does not require riches — you and your love can be broke off your asses and be more in love than the millionaires next door. In my experience, keeping things in their simplest form usually reaps the greatest rewards.
Buying her expensive jewelry, taking her out for pricey nights out on the town is great — but that’s not what love is. Love is wanting to spend time with her whether or not she is wearing a diamond necklace on your yacht in Panama and knowing that she loves you for that very reason. In the end, all that we want from our lovers is to know that we are important to them.
There are many ways of expressing to your lover the obsession that you have with them -- some do require a decent salary, but there are countless ways that won’t cost you a penny and will mean more to them than any designer dress ever will. If that’s not the case then you ought to seriously review your situation. Love her; don’t just pamper her.
Paul Hudson | Elite.
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