Financial Erotica for Feminists

I cradle the phone against me with a gently trembling hand. Finally, it seems like I’m about to get what I’ve been craving for so long, the climax I’ve been waiting for. The mysterious voice comes back on the line:

“Yes, you’re one of the very small amount of people who defeated the draconian requirements for Public Service Loan Forgiveness — you made ten years of on-time payments and navigated our insanely complicated and constantly changing system. Congratulations, you’re debt-free!”

“Wow, that’s — bigger than I expected!” My eyes widened like saucers, practically drooling over the image he’d texted me.

“Oh, you like that? Well, guess what — it’s only going to get bigger.”

I gasped, feeling my cheeks flush. “You know I love to hear that.”

“You’re the reason it’s growing, because you’re the one who encouraged me to increase the percentage I contributed to my employer-sponsored 401(k) to maximize their match. Look at these projections — thanks to 40 years worth of compound interest, we’ll be able to retire in style.”

He compounds me for hours, setting up my own aggressive 401(k) investment mix.

Yes, I wanted this so much. I’d missed it. But at what cost? Even as strong as our connection had been, it was time for us to stop meeting like this.

“I’m sorry, but as much as I want to say yes, I’m not sure I can go through with this. I have to think about my children.”

“Oh, that’s no problem! The job offer still stands. We offer fully subsidized, on-site childcare for all employees, so returning to work is actually financially beneficial for you. It’s well worth the cost to land top talent like you! Now on to your signing bonus…”

“You can get it.” I couldn’t believe I’d said it out loud.

I took a deep breath, bosom heaving, and knocked firmly on my boss’s office door.

Bob opened the door and gestured to a chair. “Come in and sit down.”

“Thanks!” I handed him a piece of paper. Here’s how much I’ve increased this department’s revenue this year. As you can see, I’ve singlehandedly saved the company millions, so I’d like a 15 percent raise.”

“Done!” There is no further negotiation.

“I wasn’t expecting this, especially during office hours,” I murmured.

“I couldn’t resist,” they said. “I’ve never been one to delay someone’s satisfaction.”

They continued, “To that end, we’ve decided to hire all our adjuncts to full, benefitted professors, so they can finally make a good living that’s commensurate with their educational level.”

“So, I’m now on tenure track?” I asked.

“Yes!” they said. “Yes, yes, yes!”

He invested deeply, so deeply. It seemed like he would never stop investing… in my small business.

“I’m not sure if I’m ready for this.” I was flushed and excited. “It’s too much. I feel so… exposed.”

“You’re so ready,” she whispered. “I’m so ready. Now that we’ve decided to commit, I want us to have an honest and open discussion about how we’ll handle our finances and investments. After all, money is the #1 reason couples fight!”

“Yes,” I cried out in ecstasy. “Talk annuity to me!”

I felt his eyes on me, predicting I’d make the wrong move. But I knew what I was doing. So I slowly penetrated it into its designated slit.

For once, I inserted my debit card before swiping it. And the man in line behind me who desperately wanted to tell me I was wrong had nothing to say.

“Let’s roleplay,” I whispered. “I’ll be your celebrity crush.”

“I thought you’d never ask.” Her face was eager and willing.

“Hi, I’m Suze Orman.” I fluffed my imaginary short, sassy blond cut and straightened my suit collar. “Now, do you really think spending your money on a new car is wise when you still have five years of student loans left to repay?”

Caitlin Kunkel, Brooke Preston, Fiona Taylor and Carrie Wittmer are comedy writers and the founders and editors of The Belladonna. Their new satire book New Erotica for Feminists (November 13, Plume/Penguin Random House) subverts romantic and cultural tropes into satirical, sexy vignettes to imagine a world where women get what they really want: respect.

Photo by Ales Nesetril on Unsplash.

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