Who cares? I had a tasty meal at a reasonable price in a pleasant environment. It was precisely what I wanted.
This year, I took my first fundraising job. Asking for money is like dating: You hope you never do it enough to get good at it. Then suddenly you’re walking into a room full of strangers and telling them why you are more entitled to their money than they are, and you realize that that you have done this umpteen times, this is literally your umpteenth time, and you don’t even sweat a little bit the first time you say a number out loud.
This year I learned that chasing money in this way is both more and less unseemly than you’d think. More unseemly because you and your coworkers sit around and speculate on which people, governments and corporations are swimming in Scrooge McDuck coin-vaults, and you call them greedy when they don’t invite you to join them in the deep end.
Less unseemly because you hella do need their money more than they do, dammit, your organization is genuinely trying, and occasionally achieving, a slight uptick in non-shittiness for people who deserve to learn how to read and drink unfilthy water and not get diseases, or at least they deserve it more than the strangers in the room deserve another trip to the Maldives.
Sometimes I remember that, and sometimes I forget it, and I don’t know which one makes me worse at my job.
On the night when he first began his transition from IT administrator to freelance prostitute, Henrik opened the Excel file called “personal economy.” He had taken out a loan of 50,000 kroner ($8,500) to pay for the kitchen remodel, and had overdrafted his credit cards in New York. He was paying them off, but not fast enough. He was still 40,000 kroner ($7,000) in debt.
He has an unsqueezing handshake, that’s the first thing I notice about him. He just puts his hand out, and I shake it like a juice.
“Erik,” he says, standing at the door in a bathrobe, a tanktop and untied combat boots. He’s thin, a series of parallel lines and divots up to a starburst of blond hair.