Test 2

Please select your preferred language.





Remember Me

New to Fridae?

Fridae Mobile


More About Us

5 Aug 2005

ask alvin about spendthrifts, cheapskates and office romance

Welcome to Fridae's monthly advice column where Alvin dispenses his own unique brand of advice for those who need it oh-so-badly.

Dear Alvin,

Hi there. I have a question about my love life but let me start from the beginning. I've been staying alone in Singapore since 14 as my parents are always overseas on business. Recently, I was asked to go to China by my parents to help out in their business after my 'O' levels.

I was there for almost a year when I met this Spanish-Chinese businessman at a fashion show. He's 34 and I'm 18. We went out for so-called "dates" as friends for almost a month and later found out later that both of us are gay. After that, we officially dated each other. Everything went smoothly but I've come to realise that there's something which I cannot stand about him. He loves going to fancy expensive restaurants and buying designer goods. I don't. He spends lots of money on grooming products and cars accessories. I don't. I really can't stand the way he spends his money! He could spend like 4000RMB (approx US$500) for a dinner for both of us!

The thing is, I can't afford to spend money like him, and even if I could, I don't want to waste money! One day, I finally scolded him which I later realised I shouldn't. I apologised to him later as I thought he would change but he's still the same.

I got back to Singapore two weeks ago as I needed to continue my education. He wanted to come with me but I didn't allow it. A few days ago, he mailed me a new LV bag and two bottles of perfume (which I later sold to my good friend). In his letter, he said he wanted to move to Singapore as he really misses me a lot. I do want him to be with me in Singapore but I really cannot bear that wasting-money part of him.

What should I do?

Mr. I-don't-know-what-to-do-now,
Keyis Ng

Dearest Keyis,

Let me get this straight: you have a boyfriend who enjoys spending money and lavishing gifts on you. Now then, what exactly is your problem again? But really, it is heartening to receive letters from sensible young gay men such as yourself. You are mature beyond your years and you are clearly one of those who do not subscribe to the "I have to blow my bank account to show I love him" theory.

However, at 18 years of age, you are also "just starting out" while your boyfriend - at 34 years young - enjoys greater earning power and appreciates the better things in life such as fine dining and branded goods. It is also possible that your boyfriend equates material possessions and a lavish lifestyle with what constitutes a happy relationship.

You may therefore wish to have a talk with him (instead of a scolding session) about how his habit of spending hard-earned cash like a drunken sailor upsets you and work out a compromise. But you should also ask yourself if the both of you are at the point in your relationship where you could or should exert financial control over your partner.

Having said that, always bear in mind that one of the roadblocks to peacefully resolving most kinds of "marital conflict" is attitude. Expecting your boyfriend's habit to change overnight or harbouring resent when it does not will never lead to genuine resolution.

Remember that it's not easy for big spenders to limit themselves all of a sudden and there will be lapses every now and then. When these lapses do occur, do not flare up. Instead, send all his "spur of the moment" expensive purchases to the Fridae office addressed to yours truly.

Eagerly Awaiting Your Cast-Offs,
Alvin Tan
Hey Alvin,

I've been dating a nice grrrl for about 9 months. She's 5 years younger. We meet about a couple of times a week for dinners, movies and the usual stuff. We get along great and are dating exclusively. The problem is that she doesn't pay her share and has never offered to split anything or even paid for her own movie ticket. Well, it's been nine months and it looks like she's never going to offer to go dutch. And yes, she's gainfully employed although I'm earning marginally more. Does meaning older mean I should pick up the tab everything?

Dear Nameless,

To begin with, you're not dating a "nice grrrl," you're dating a freeloading cheapskate. In this modern day and age, using age and pay package to determine who pays for dates is about as ridiculous as saying that the butch should always pay for her femme and the top for his bottom.

In an ideal relationship, both partners should exercise initiative when it comes to footing the bill so that no one partner would be stressed out - financially and emotionally - over the issue of "who pays all the time." Always remember, no one partner has the right to treat the other as his or her personal Automatic Teller Machine - especially if both are "gainfully employed." So unless she's saving up for a grandiose funeral, your partner should offer to take turns paying for dates or at least pay for her share - without you having to ask her to do so.

Now most advice columnists will probably advise you to have a good heart-to-heart talk with your partner and tell her how taking turns to foot the bill is a manifestation of a couple's love and affection, and how sharing financial expenditures can only deepen and enrich the relationship.

However, I would advise you to be sneakier than that. For your next date (and subsequent ones after that), you could pretend you have forgotten to bring along your purse or pretend to be broke - then ask her to pay for your share. Don't worry, you are not deceiving your girlfriend, you are merely curing her of her tight-fisted ways. But honestly, since it's been nine long and agonising months, it is highly unlikely that your girlfriend will change her miserly manners. So if you're a practical realist, it's time to cut your losses, find yourself another girlfriend and move on.

If you're a hopeless idealist and are determined to give the relationship another go, you may wish to mentally prepare yourself for a life of poverty as you continue to pay for everything. Still, look on the bright side, you can always look forward to receiving a lovely jar filled with air for Christmas from your beloved.

Your Lovely Financial Adviser,
Alvin Tan
Dear Alvin,

There is this one particular colleague who has been extremely caring and nice to me. She is beautiful and very pleasant to be with. She cares for me, calls me when I'm sick, sends me sms-es when I'm on business trips, brings me dinner when I'm working late, calls me at night and spends time with me at the beach on weekends. However, she never turns down dates from guys and would stand me up for dinner because if she has such dates.

At first, we were just good buddies but with her constant affections, I started to develop feelings towards her. I did my best to hide my feelings since we were both in the same office. However, she continued to shower me with her care until one day, I took a chance and dropped a hint.

Since then our friendship has deteriorated. We spoke less and it was a strain to maintain our professionalism at work. She managed to hold a strong front, even shared the same bed with me on a company outing. But she told me that she's afraid of me even though I told her that she had no reason to. But the funny thing is that she got me to go with her to a hillside resort, just the two of us for two days and shared the same room and bed in hope that we could somehow mend things. Of course nothing happened. We came back more a stranger to each other than ever.

Nowadays it's strictly only work-related discussions between us. Other than that, we pretend neither of us exists, though she steals peaks at me occasionally and tries to join in my conversations with other colleagues.

Please tell me what's going on? Am I missing something here? Is there still a chance for me to turn this around? If so, how? If not, can we be friends again? Please help me!

Thanks and regards,
Utterly, Totally Stupid

Dear UTS,

Here's what you are missing: Your colleague is straight as an arrow.

Unfortunately, you completely "misread" all her actions and intentions. As you have mentioned, she prefers dating guys and it is not uncommon for straight girl friends to shower each other with care and affection. More unfortunately, you continue to "misread" her even though your "hint" has created a rift between the both of you. What she saw as an attempt to repair your friendship by going away to a hillside resort is again "misinterpreted" by you as meaning something more.

Given your current strained relationship with your colleague, you should let things cool down but not let what happened between the two of you affect your work. However, you should also make a mental note to refrain from "reading too much" into her acts of friendship.

She seems to me like someone who can be a really good colleague and friend to you. It would be a real shame if the two of you become strangers both at work and outside work. The best would be to put things behind you, start afresh and work hard at rebuilding your friendship - but keep it strictly at a platonic level.

Good luck.

Your Sapphic Sister,
Alvin Tan

Do you seek deliverance from your problems with your boyfriend/ girlfriend/ one-night stand? Do you spend sleepless nights wrestling with your sexuality or sex partner? Then email your queries to Ask Alvin at editor@fridae.com and have your burdens lifted by Alvin. We regret that we're unable to respond to letters personally.

Reader's Comments

Be the first to leave a comment on this page!

Please log in to use this feature.

Select News Edition

Featured Profiles

Now ALL members can view unlimited profiles!


View this page in a different language:

Like Us on Facebook


 ILGA Asia - Fridae partner for LGBT rights in Asia IGLHRC - Fridae Partner for LGBT rights in Asia