Being One Of The Others. Part III. Beyond School.

The concept of “otherness” is based on the idea of “us vs them”. In short, when we have established what we are, everything else is not us, and therefore must be “them”. The “other” is the individual who has not yet found a place where they belong, or who primarily deals in an environment where they do not belong.

In Part I: Stepping Out, I explored how Other Girls (OGs) are less often an absolute reject and more often the female equivalent to the male rogues: capable, gender-conforming individuals who feel at odds with the main group they live among. In Part II: Partnering, I explained what makes an OG tick and how an OG winds up choosing another Other as her partner, addressing all major variables from unattractiveness to countercultural preferences. And all this explains a bit about OGs on a basic, primitive level. But it all also takes place around high school age, which OGs obviously leave at some point. In Part III I will attempt to show how an OG may find a place for herself and seek friends, family and financial stability outside of normal pathways.

FRIENDS.

The OG was never exactly surrounded by friends in her key development years. And, whilst there are variants, two key reactions to this isolation become evident:

  1. Get as many friends as possible. Throw yourself out there. Embrace your weirdness. It’s not desperate to want to be noticed, liked and spoken to for once. The extrovert option.
  2. People are overrated. You just need one or two close friends. Preferably of the same sex, as men/women are unreliable. Enjoy yourself on your own. The introvert option.

Yes, there are variables. Some extroverts also fall down the path of eliminating one sex from their social life, some introverts are clingy and dependent, some nihilists have many friends and some popular OGs are still awkward about their Otherness. But generally an OG falls into one camp or another.

The issue for all OGs is that main group girls still hate them, or are just plain confused by them. The more status driven the culture, the less solidarity between OGs and MGGs. Which poses some trouble to introverts, as they need one or two close people to function normally, but even more for extroverts, as hostile rejection can eat away at any extrovert, however Other they are.

This means OGs will basically go “social hunting” in areas where other outsiders congregate. Biker bars and metal concerts? Sure, but also libraries, anime conventions, rock bars, tattoo parlours, religious buildings, charities, extreme political groups, squats, gyms, pretty much anywhere a MGG would turn her nose up at. This is for partnering purposes, of course, and an OG will generally gravitate towards the environment that hosts her type of man, be he Main Group or Mad Scientist. But often the partnering drive is subconscious and the girl is simply reaching out for any social contact.

Eventually OGs find each other, or a partner. At which point the introvert and extrovert distinction becomes even stronger. The introvert, having one or two close, reliable, trustworthy, likeable friends will retreat from social hunting. She is done, she has all she needs and she will make no further effort to connect to people. She drops off the face of the planet. The extrovert, however, never has enough. Even if she has a boyfriend or husband, four best friends and a few circles of acquaintances, she will still want to go to her usual haunts to reach out to more and more people and establish a sense of security.

FAMILY.

OGs tend not to like their families. I am unsure why, but my best guess is that the sort of environment that breeds an “abnormal” woman is probably not the sort of environment she wishes to stay in. At the very best she may place blame on her family regardless of evidence to the contrary. At the very worst she comes from a home that literally destroyed her. Whatever the reason, OGs do not like their families.

Confusingly, whereas girls who fall into mainstream cultural patterns who have bad family relations tend to be a bit dangerous to interact with and poor at forming their own families, OGs are hit and miss. Some OGs have a very hard time relating to people and keeping in touch with people. Some OGs are socially normal within their group. Some OGs repeat a bad parenting cycle. Some OGs rebel against it and raise healthy kids.

The only factors that seem to have any bearing on an OG’s future family leanings are surrogacy and replaceability.

  • SURROGACY: Did the OG replace her parents with something, preferably another person, even a role model? How about siblings? Are they present, or replaced? Did she fill in the gap of being a single child by developing close friendships?
  • REPLACEABILITY: Does the OG view people as irreplaceable? Does she hold fast onto her friends and remaining relatives and try and keep them on side? Or does she regularly replace role models and friends?

If she has surrogates for her absentee family and does not replace these surrogates like printer cartridges, then she is probably socially normal, even if she has turned her biological family down.

FINANCE.

OGs can and do find surrogate families, partners and friends later in life, despite school age restrictions. But it is worth noting that the same restrictions that plague an OG during her formative years will come back with a vengeance in the world of work. OGs will gravitate towards job positions that require little sustained interaction. This means any job where interaction with any one person lasts only a few minutes at a time. Introverts may pick jobs that are generally low on interaction, such as animation. Extroverts may pick jobs that are higher on general interaction, such as service sector. But both will try and work with people in the shortest bouts possible. Why? Because the less you talk to people, the less they know about you.

An OG, in work, is forced to deal with coworkers and clients who are almost certainly do not share her subcultural or countercultural leanings. Seeing as many MGGs react to OGs with hostility and many main group men have odd perceptions about them, an OG wants to make interactions short and sweet. The following are all jobs OGs may enjoy:

  • Teacher for older children or adults.
  • Typically male, solitary work, like mechanic or programmer.
  • Art work, such as painter or musician.
  • Accounting, behind the scenes secretarial work.
  • Basic customer service.
  • Warehouse work.
  • Sex work in all its forms.
  • House maintenance, basic housework.
  • Entrepreneurial ventures.
  • “Nerd” work, in areas that are very quiet and male dominated.

And even then, sometimes the pressures of putting on a social front, especially for OGs who have some level of mental disorder (more on that later, but, yes, it is a bigger issue for OGs than main group girls), can get too much. Many OGs aspire to work from home or be a housewife, or will sit back on welfare so as to avoid the daily interactions of work. Not necessarily a good or smart thing to do, but if the daily grind leaves her feeling genuinely unsafe, as though she were in hostile territory, it makes sense.

And that’s it for the basics of an OG’s social life beyond high school. The next section will be on attraction: hobbies, interests, men. Why might OGs be harder to connect with (as a friend or prospective partner) than MGGs, and what can be done to develop some understanding or foster affection if you are not also an OG?

[Author’s note: Before anyone mentions hypocrisy or absolutes, this whole thing is general guidelines, not set in stone. Yes, I disowned my family and keep very few friends. Yes, I view most people as functionarily replaceable. And no, I don’t think that is having an effect on the few relationships where I view the people as irreplaceable. They’re two classes of person to me. But the point is that there are exceptions, I know there are exceptions, and I have to admit that the vast majority of OGs who do not have family surrogates or who treat surrogates as tools will end up doing the same to partners, friends and even their own children. So whilst it bothers me a little that it could change a random stranger’s opinion of me at some point, I would rather have the more accurate information out there. It would be intellectually dishonest to do otherwise so as to make myself feel better.]

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

How To… sell yourself like coffee?!

We’ve all heard that you need to sell yourself. To employers, friends, universities, partners… everyone, really. The fact of the matter is that everyone wants to exchange with you. Your employer wants to exchange money for your skills and time. Your friends want to exchange their time for yours. Universities want to exchange an education for your money and rating. Partners want to exchange your time and body for their time and body.

But many people have a hard time selling themselves properly to anyone. So here is how to sell yourself, in coffee terms.

1: You are in control of the market price.

Let’s say you’ve just opened your coffee shop. Sure, demand and customers are the most important things. But coffee is always in demand and this is an area with high footfall. So you set the price, not anyone else. You can set the price wherever you like, really. Is it too high or too low? We don’t know yet. But it’s in your hands, nobody else’s.

2: Observe other sellers, but don’t copy.

Watch what they do. What sort of coffee are they selling? Is it good coffee? Is the price reasonable? Do they get many customers? Do they cover their rent? How much coffee do they sell?

Don’t copy what they do, just watch and take note.

3: Stand out.

You want to be different to the other sellers. Most people think the only way of doing this is lowering the price, but this isn’t true. You can sell better coffee, sell different coffee, sell it with a gimmick, try and be friendly to your customers. You can stand out from the other coffee shops in many ways and each way will attract a different type of customer.

4: Set your prices.

Now’s the time to decide what your price will be. Your price has no upper or lower limit. But if you price your coffee too low you won’t be able to pay for your shop or new stock and if you price your coffee too high then you may go a long time without customers. You can choose to sell highly exclusive or accessible coffee, but know your customers.

5: Advertise well.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling accessible or exclusive coffee, what sort of coffee you’re selling or how you’re standing out, if you don’t advertise well, then nobody will know it’s there. Advertising well isn’t really about advertising widely. For very little money you could probably drop fliers for your coffee shop all over a Chinese city, but unless your shop is in that city you won’t be reaching your target market. Think of your target market, their habits, where they congregate and advertise wisely. Make sure the advertisement is in the right place, catches the target market’s eyes and tells them what sort of coffee they will find at the coffee shop.

6: Freebies and sneak peeks.

It’s fine to offer free coffees or snacks, sneak peaks and events from time to time if you aren’t quite reaching your target market. But don’t offer too much for free too often.

If you offer a lifetime supply of coffee then you can’t offer it to just anyone or to a regular customer, or else you won’t get paid for your coffee and the gimmick won’t work. If you offer free coffee to just anyone then word will get out that there’s free coffee and people will feel cheated when they have to pay.

Some people may offer a lot of free coffee, but their business practices shouldn’t dictate yours. They will eventually shut down or lower the quality of their coffee to keep up with demand. Don’t try and set your price lower than everyone else’s, rather, offer a few exclusive freebies or sneak peeks to customers in a way that will advertise your coffee shop well and attract the right sort of clientele.

7: Wait it out.

If you want a certain type of customer and have done all the above, be patient. They will eventually come to you when you’re doing everything right. On the other hand, if you change your mind about the target market quickly and often, you might lose a lot of customers who would have stayed around and wind up selling a type of coffee you don’t like at an unreasonable price to a clientele you didn’t want. Instead, keep advertising to the right clientele, keep making coffee and wait until the clientele shows up.

And that’s how you sell coffee. Or how you sell yourself to employers, friends and partners.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

What is your work worth?

Everyone is obsessed with women’s work. Whether a man chooses to work, live off welfare or be a house-husband, the main contention is with his personal identity. But every time a woman makes a choice about what work she does, people everywhere must ask what value her work provides her, her family and society. And, seeing as there are many sorts of value, I’d like to briefly explore them, their upsides and their downsides.

The first value is, apparently, the only value work has to most people, especially feminist women. Monetary value. How much cash you can squeeze out of your every drop of sweat. The rewards of this value are fairly obvious. More money means more of everything you can buy with money, which, in our society, is everything. Most people’s jobs provide stable income or even secondary perks, like discounts, health plans and freebies. The cons are often neglected. The first and most obvious one is that most people dislike their jobs. And the sizable minority who don’t actively dislike them don’t really like every aspect of them. The vast majority of people, for example, would not do overtime that had no potential reward, or take work home. The second con is that when put in a job, you are often stuck in one place, doing one thing, from about 8 until about 6. If you account for preparation and travel time, many people spend from 6 until 7, or 13 hours, working. This leaves little room to enjoy the rewards of your money, such as extra time, entertainment sources, better food and better clothes and vehicles. If you sleep 8 hours and work 13, that leaves three hours a day to enjoy your bigger house, nice clothes, meals out, entertainment products and the likes.

Which is fine, if your work provides another value: enjoyment. Enjoyment isn’t easily quantifiable. It can’t really be measured, only compared. But you know your work provides enjoyment when you look forward to it, rarely think about anything else when doing it and wouldn’t rather do anything else. Seeing as most people don’t like their jobs but still need to do them, it’s fairly easy to see the downside to enjoyable work: it doesn’t always pay. The upside is, your time is being well spent. When you tidy your whole garden because you love gardening, it doesn’t matter that you’re not paid to do it, because it has value in and of itself. On the other hand, doing the dishes and accounts are examples of work that we bear a grudge against because it provides no monetary value and no enjoyment.

Between money and enjoyment, we work out our third value: time. This is more accurately described as the monetary value of your time (the value you put into it) versus the money and enjoyment it provides (the value you get out of it). Work will either fall into the valuable: something where your time is adequately compensated or rewarded, or the worthless: something where your time yields no tangible reward. The easiest way of balancing your time value is to look at its monetary value, as enjoyment is very variable. So, if you usually get paid £8/h, that’s your time’s base value. If you need to do an hour of unpaid gardening and you enjoy it, it is worthwhile because you enjoy it. If you are doing an hour of gardening for £8 or more, it is worthwhile even if you don’t enjoy it, because that is what your time is worth. If you are getting less than £8 for your hour of gardening and don’t enjoy it, then the activity is worthless to you. On the other hand, let’s assume the gardening needs doing. If you have to pay £12 for it, then it’s more worth your time to do it yourself, as your work is only worth £8/h. If you have to pay £4 for it, then it’s more worth your time to do your own work and pay for the gardening. You will also need to factor how flexible your time is. If you simply don’t have more than 3h a day free to do things and dislike gardening or just don’t feel like it, then maybe it’s worth paying £12 to get it done, because your leisure is worth that extra £4.

Finding that balance between money and enjoyment, the value of your time, is highly important to understanding the value of your everyday work, be it monetized or not. For example, a waitress on 15k who becomes a kept housewife to a man with a salary over 50k may be looked down upon by more “professional” and “liberated” women. But if she enjoys housework more than waitressing and her quality of life has gone up through extra money and enjoyment, her work is actually very valuable to her. On the other hand, a woman who despises housework and has an earning potential of £25/h may not be quite so happy with that arrangement.

The final factor to your work’s value is whether the rewards are something you use up or a reward that creates another reward. So your basic living expenses are used up. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. But all the money you have left after that has some potential. Your enjoyment, on the other hand, is a fleeting thing, even though the things you enjoy might give you a return later. By carefully investing your money and time into things that will give back later, you improve your quality of life without needing to work longer hours.

Bringing that back to women’s work, let’s, for a moment, imagine the home as a community, or a business. When at work, you don’t look at the secretaries, cleaners or apprentices and think “These guys really aren’t pulling their weight.” or “They would be better off as managers.” You understand that they do their job, their job is necessary and they are not ready and may never be ready to become a manager. Likewise, when asking what value someone’s work adds to their life, their family and society, you need to look at what they are capable of. A woman with education up to GCSEs is not a CEO in the making. Unless she has a particular skill she can and will monetize, her work is worth minimum wage, no more. If the cost of cleaners, convenience food, meals out, childcare, etc would work out as more than her hours times minimum wage, she is actually better off doing these jobs than going out and getting a monetized job to pay someone else to do them.

Similarly, we have all seen the effects of someone working a job they dislike. From unmotivating teachers, to bored friends and relatives, to coworkers who just don’t pull their weight. When someone is doing a job they dislike, not much of it gets done. Therefore, regardless of what a woman is doing, she’s probably doing a far better job of it if she likes it, making her work more valuable.

Finally, most of the debate around women’s work concerns women with families, be they just themselves and their partner, kids or even grandkids. Nobody views a single woman’s choice of work any differently to a single man’s. If she’s on welfare, she’s on welfare, if she works, she works, if she lives off her parents, she lives off her parents. Their opinion is likely to be the same for her as for anyone else in her situation. But when a woman is part of a household her work choices become a matter of some sort of gender-loyalty-war, where it is either her responsibility to stay home all day or her responsibility to get a “proper” job. What she actually contributes to her home and what she gets out of her work is not really the matter of the debate, although this topic is often weaponized to prove points. The real matter of the debate is whether she is being “woman enough” by doing whatever she’s doing. Which is a social argument.

And, to be honest, if the debate boils down to that, I have no idea what value your work adds to society.

What I do know is that if your work covers, saves or pays your earning potential, you are happy and your family is well, then whatever you’re doing is clearly valuable.

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

Not quite back to normal. Becoming the main earner.

Well, I’m finally back to blogging after the holidays, but hardly back to normal. Which is because I’m going from post holiday cleanup and crazy earning to becoming the breadwinner. Yes, I’m still me. No, I haven’t gone crazy. Yes, I want to still work towards housekeeping and children. And no, I’m not doing this because I desperately wanted to prove a point of some sort.

The fact of the matter is, Jon didn’t particularly like his previous job and I didn’t particularly like seeing what it did to him. He’s retrained, but there will be an earning gap between leaving the bad job and building the good one. We have enough money to live off for several months without earning a penny, but I hate spending savings and we were thinking of using some of that to afford me a maternity leave of sorts after I’ve had the first baby.

So, instead, I will be bringing the money home to support us and not touch our savings at all.

As someone who is self-employed as a tutor, I am going to set about this a little differently to most people. I can’t just take a paycheck for granted. I have in-person tutoring work which will still take up some of my time, but as it doesn’t pay as well I will be reorganizing my students to the mornings. Instead, I will prioritize online tutoring of American, Japanese and Chinese students, which pays better, but involves afternoon and evening work. I will also, in my spare time, continue writing essays, novels, children’s books and the likes, as well as translating for several companies on my books. I will try my hardest to not turn down any work at all.

Jon has offered to help with some of the more menial housework, like washing up, laundry and the likes. However as the end goal is to get him back to where he was, and not to make me the main earner full time, his work takes priority. If we miss out on an afternoon’s earnings because the cooking and hoovering needed doing and he was at a shift, then the fact he’s getting back into work matters more than thirty or fifty pounds.

And we know this is going to be tough. Even in relationships where the woman wants to earn and the man wants to keep house, relationship breakdown can happen after they switch roles. It’s a change of dynamic that just doesn’t feel right to many people.

We do, however, have some fundamental advantages over people who start this expecting to lie back and enjoy the benefits. For example, we both know what we want and what each other wants.

I don’t want to be the main earner. I want to be in charge of things I’m more comfortable doing, bring home the fun money with little obligation besides my minimal £50/week, settle into saving his earnings and having babies and animals.

He doesn’t want to be my dependent. He wants to be in charge of thing’s he’s more comfortable doing, bring home the bread and know where everything is coming from, come home to an orderly house, a good meal and a loving family.

And knowing this helps. Knowing that we both desire to return to the old way ASAP makes it easier. There are no fears that I will decide I want to work and not have children, or that he will decide I earn enough and become a house-husband. Because our desires are out in the open. We like what we’ve done until now and we can’t wait until we get back to it.

On the other hand, not worrying about each other has also made us aware of our and each other’s vulnerabilities. Which isn’t actually a bad thing.

I have never 100% supported myself. I probably could, but I never wanted, had or managed to. From parents, to benefits, to student loans, to Jon, I have always had something I can rely on, a background income that supports me and that I can fall back on if I mess up. Not so here. I must reliably bring in £900/month at least to support us. Which isn’t so awful, but is very scary as a first-time situation, especially as I am going from being supported to doing the supporting.

Jon hasn’t been unemployed since he was 14. He always had the opportunity to choose parental care, benefits and loans over his own blood, sweat and tears, but he never wanted it. He did his very best to rely on as few people as possible. And for the first time in a decade and a half, he is having to rely on someone for financial support. He has to trust me to bring money home without a guaranteed paycheck, to cover our basics and hand him the money he needs without causing a fuss.

We are both going from the known into the unknown, and however much anyone else has worked or not worked, no matter how much our situation is anyone else’s everyday, we are making ourselves vulnerable by walking into an unfamiliar situation.

And all of this makes trust absolutely implicit. You can’t do this without trust. And not the “Sups told me online that trust is vital to financial wellbeing, so you have to just trust me” kind. I mean the actual, observable kind. Think back to when you did that “trust fall” game in school, scouts or even at work. If someone dropped you, caught you and dropped you or refused to let you catch them, people became distant towards them. In principle, it was more of an empathy test than a teamwork test, but the results hold true for anyone. If you fell and someone didn’t catch you, why are you going to throw yourself down when they’re the only one who can break your fall?

We had an incident that briefly scared Jon. I am paranoid about money. Won’t spend a penny if no money’s going in, work on budgeting to save fractions of costs, will deprive myself of things I want if it involves using a card or breaking a large note, won’t trust myself with credit or loans. Paranoid. I’m a person who saves two grand a year on welfare and one grand over Christmas. Which is why I’m writing a money-saving book. But also why I hesitated when it was my turn to get £70 out of the bank to replenish the at-home cash funds. Just for a moment. Just because I hadn’t worked much over the holidays and was wondering how the account was holding up, whether all the students had paid, etc. And he was scared. Because, no matter how normal it is for me to hesitate at the idea of breaking into my account, he was already in a state of concern and he can’t read my mind to divine what the hesitation was. At that moment I, as the soon-to-be-primary-earner was refusing him, in a position of vulnerability, the resources he needed. And that worried him. He was falling and didn’t see how I could catch him. After talking it through, we went to check my account to make sure the money was still doing fine and to get out the notes we needed. Once I had seen the amount, told him how much it had gone up by thanks to December payments and given him the notes, it was on the mend. He had fallen and I had caught him. But that is the sort of trust this requires. Not just promises or hugs: hard, physical evidence of trust in each other.

With all that in mind, am I worried? Absolutely, even if a lot less than when we first discussed this. I’d be crazy if I wasn’t. I feel like when I first moved house. “I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m going to mess this up. I need an adult!” But it’ll work out. And at least we know what the hurdles will be when we come to them.

In order to make sure we do well, my goals are:

-make £900/month minimum

-keep the house in order when Jon’s busy

-keep patient with Jon, even if both of us are feeling insecure and neither of us can offer the other proper support at times

-remind myself this is temporary and keep focused on when we’ll be back to normal and able to relax again

Anyway, due to all this the blogging may be hit and miss, but I’ll try my hardest to keep it, like the housework and general socializing, at least at a normal level.

Here’s to a busy New Year and semi-frequent updates on how I do as the main earner!