Dating a Privileged White Girl

Our “break-up” was sudden. She stopped returning my calls, text messages, and instant messages. She was going to attend Boston University. She wasn’t accepted at NYU; she was noticeably upset when she told me. This was six months away. I slipped into a moderately debilitating depression for a week. What was wrong with me, I wondered. I knew nothing was wrong.

“Non-Privileged Men know the PWG is a trap.”

A month later I heard she was dating someone new. He lived in Eastbluff–another specialty community not far from Turtle Rock–drove a BMW, attended her private school, and was going to attend NYU. Her internet presence was positive; she seemed happy.

We haven’t spoken once in six years. This is normal for people our age. We are willing to cut our losses whenever and wherever if the other party has acted poorly. I miss her now and then. I look at her Facebook and stare at her profile picture and try to stalk, but we are not friends and her page is locked. I dare not add her.

There aren’t many memories of us I remember explicitly, except this one: we were sitting on Alta’s back patio where we could smoke. It was empty and the middle of the day, the lattice sliced the gloom above us in cubes. We were alone, she was looking at the ground. She was talking about her dad coming to visit for Thanksgiving for the first time in several years, and she didn’t want to see him. “He’s a bad man,” she said. “He drinks too much. And I’ve seen him hit Mom before. I mean, she might’ve deserved it a couple of times, but still…you don’t ever hit a woman.”

I nodded and clicked my tongue, ashed my cigarette.

And he never calls me. When they were together Daddy and I used to go to the park and he’d watch me run around and play, give me money to buy ice cream for the both of us. We’d sit on a blanket and eat the ice cream; and he’d never tell me when it was all over my mouth. He’d just sit there and look at me and smile. Then he’d rub it off slowly and firmly with his thumb.”

She tapped her cigarette and looked away.

“I miss that. I miss Daddy.”

Non-Privileged Men know the PWG is a trap. The PWG will always find a Privileged Man, to replace the Non-Privileged Man. I feel like most of the Non-Privileged population regard the PWG with disdain, contempt, jealousy, see her as a nuisance. But we reach for them, because we think they’re damaged in a way. Olive has money. She will be taken care by her parent’s wealth even when she is 80. But she is sad. She wants to leave Turtle Rock, but is scared of a small apartment with a creepy super. She wants to date artistically-inclined men with no privilege, but their hair is dirty and clothes are unlaundered. We think we are the exceptions, we are the ones that will break her out of Turtle Rock.

We are Sisyphus. They are the rock. Someone is always laughing.

We don’t blame the PWG. They can’t help it. TC mark

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  • Olive

    Stop writing about me.

    • ryan

      sorry, olive

  • Chauncey Zalkin

    but you make her seem so flat. she's either repugnant and banal or has dimension. which is it? i'd like to see part two.


    seems a bit too contrived the whole thing. i like the part about the dad waiting for the ice cream to dry before he rubbed it off w his thumb. that was pretty sweet.

    • ryan

      i'm glad you liked that part

  • Molly Oswaks

    Your first conversation with Olive was about how much money she spent on her outfit?

  • pfft

    and then you realise she's american and she can't name five capital cities in Europe and she has a degree but says LIKE LIKE OMG every two seconds in a grating accent.

    can't polish a turd.

    good luck with that then.

  • pfft

    don't ever date a garnish.

  • hi

    i like this.

    • ryan


  • bobby hill

    so, you aren't wealthy, but you are still privileged. all men are. it is called “male privilege.” and i'm sure when you said non-privileged men, you meant non-wealthy men.

    also, i hope that the one time you had sex, the time that she was sloppy drunk and you were clear-eyed and sober, well…i hope it was something she really wanted to do.

    • christopher lynsey

      Sassy ass comment right here.

      • bobby hill

        do you know bobby hill? full of sass.

    • ryan

      duly noted

  • Jack

    When did opiates become mainstream in youth culture? This has me concerned.

    • ryan

      not sure, but they were always available while i was in high school. i feel like they have always been around

  • uhnonnymus

    Just for future reference, a hand on the thigh from a drunk girl is not a sign of “affection,” it's a sign of a intoxication. This story kind of makes it sound like you took advantage of her.

    • ryan

      duly noted

    • courtney

      as a frequent drunk girl, i do not put my hand on just any nearby boy's thigh… i think that was intentional.

  • Rachel

    I really enjoyed reading this. You have a nice writing style, Ryan.

    However, as a crusty old person in her 30s, I think your conclusion is a bit of an over-generalization. Most people tend to end up in relationships with people of a similar socioeconomic status, but it's not unheard of that serious relationships- lasting marriages, etc. happen between people of different backgrounds.

    I hate to say it Ryan, but I think she just “wasn't that into you.” Anyway, it seems like your primary interest in her was fascination at her money and access to things you didn't have, so maybe she didn't feel a deep connection to you because of that.

    • ryan

      rachel-thanks for your compliment and insight

  • Seikel

    I used to live in Turtle Rock. At 19391 Sierra Vista. The high school was right down the way, and we coaxed many PWG's up the hill…

    • Seikel

      Although, really, I never considered it that affluent. I mean, our rent was something like 1800 a month.

    • Lauren

      A Turtle Rock native and PWG myself, I couldn't help but smile while reading this article. It was a trip down memory lane (although I did manage to leave Turtle Rock and escape to another bubble, Boulder, CO).

  • Seikel

    I also worked at balboa fun zone. weird.

    • Seikel

      tripping acid mostly.

      • ryan

        rad. the balboa funzone is a great place to ingest psychedelics

      • Seikel

        you know where you enter turtle rock and you have to go right or left? I decided to go straight once and almost killed myself.. ah memries.

  • saramcgrath

    this was so sweet

    • ryan


  • saramcgrath

    also seems like a 'cool girl'. 'cool girls' are cool girls regardless of their socioeconomic status

  • Shane Leach

    who the fuck are you and why are you desecrating all that is turtle rock?

  • another pwg

    I thought going to Sage Hill meant you were automatically accepted to NYU…

    • ryan

      hehe. in most cases, yes.

  • Jordan

    This is really good. Fantastic debut, Ryan. I'm looking forward to reading more from you.

    • ryan

      thank you

  • Shane Leach

    why do you desecrate all that is turtle rock?

    • ryan


  • colleen

    Thanks for writing this. It's nice to know people share experiences that parallel your own.

  • Jocelyn

    excellent debut. looking forward to reading more from you, ryan.

  • jules

    i dig this

  • Kyle

    nice article, thanks for sharing.

  • middle class boy

    the co-op at south coast has such limited selection…

    also whats up with everyone thinking about money so much

  • Kelley Hoffman

    backstreet girls are cooler

    • Sofia

      no way

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