Cara Ellison on Beyonce and the Economics of Dating

One of the hardest parts of going on a bunch of first dates with people you don’t know very well is figuring out how to end the date.

You can’t very well say “Well, I am going to leave now.”

So I often tell people that I’ve got to go home and finish an article. (This is, by the way, nearly always true.)

I’ve told my therapist that the great thing about me dating right now is that dating is neither the most interesting nor the most important thing in my life.

That’s also, as it turns out, the big problem with me dating right now.

I’m not alone. Writer and critic Cara Ellison writes about this particular economic problem in her recent essay The Beyonce Freelancing Method:

I sit next to dudes who I know are interested in taking me home and I think to myself: if I go home with you I won’t finish that article and it will make me unhappy later. And I think about whether he’s good enough to measure up to £150 worth of happiness. I squint at them in bars. Are you worth a VICE article, I think? Are you worth a Guardian article? Are you top-level meat, worthy of a Rock Paper Shotgun rate? Are you the Rock Paper Shotgun of men?

I think, at a certain age — and you can tell me if I’m wrong — that becomes the economics of not only dating, but of everything. Is this movie worth the babysitter? Is this new acquaintance worth a lunch break? Is this social obligation worth the two hours I have in the day to myself?

Is this the Rock Paper Shotgun of things I want to do with my time?

Why does Ellison call this the Beyonce Freelancing Method?

It goes like this: if Beyonce was a freelancer, when would she spend time with Jay-Z, and when would she rather be in the studio? If Jay-Z wanted to hang out at a ball game and make out all afternoon would that be a good pleasure return for her? Or, would she need something better to take her away from her work?

What would Beyonce do? What should we do?

And how do you know if something is the Rock Paper Shotgun of how you want to live your life?

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