Quarter-Less Crisis

I was looking through my phone contacts the other day when I came across one that baffled me for a moment:  Jason Cheapass.  Was that a French last name misspelled….Cheapasse?  Chepasse?  It suddenly dawned on me that this was a guy I’d hung out with once last year and dubbed “Jason Cheap Ass.”

I had briefly met Jason at a mutual friend’s 30th birthday, and we became reacquainted months later when he hit me up on Grindr.   Jason was a big flirt right off the bat, and he was a good looking guy, so we made arrangements to hang out the following week.

The morning of our plans Jason texted me, asking if we could do a TV and drinks night at his place since he was short on cash.  That sounded fine to me.  I brought a bottle of Grey Goose I’d gotten as a birthday gift over to his apartment, which was just a few blocks from mine.

Jason immediately poured us a couple of very potent vodka sodas, and they kept coming as we watched Dancing with the Stars and played with his puppy.  We were getting a little buzzed and having a good time making fun of the contestants (this was the Bristol Palin edition, after all).  I put my arm around him at some point, and as the drinks kept coming, we cuddled closer until I leaned over to kiss him.   I don’t know if it was the vodka, the lack of A/C in his apartment or Jennifer Grey’s fancy footwork, but we started making out voraciously for the duration of the two hour show.

At one point, Jason rolled me over onto my back on the sofa.  I landed on a hard metal object which jabbed me in my lower back.  I reached underneath my back to extract a quarter.  Not thinking much of it and still going at it, I chucked the coin a few feet away so that neither of us would land on it again.   Jason saw the coin fly through the air and threw me off of him.
“What was that???  Was that change??” he cried, bolting to his feet.
“Oh yeah, I landed on a quarter.”
“A QUARTER???  What’d you do with it?  Did you take it?!!”
Jesus Christ, was this kid serious?
“No, I tossed onto the table,” I said.  “Here, it couldn’t have gone far.”

Jason had already turned over the couch cushions and dropped to the floor in search of the precious metal.   I could think of a much better reason for him to be on his knees at this point in the date….but, yeah, I got swooped up into his hysteria and started frantically looking as well.

“You don’t understand,” he said, “I only have $1.82 in my bank account until I get paid on Thursday!!!”
Look, I get living frugally and having cash flow problems, but there’s really no need for me to know to the penny how much money one has or doesn’t have to one’s name.   I guess I can’t ignore the fact that this quarter was going to put Jason over the two dollar mark.

“I FOUND IT!!!!” he squealed, fishing it out from underneath the coffee table.   He was grinning ear-to-ear and ran to deposit it into his wallet.  At this point, the whole experience had sobered me up; I grabbed my belongings and got the hell out of there, even leaving my precious vodka behind.   He probably needed it more than I did.

A few days later, Jason messaged me on Grindr and thanked me for a lovely time.  He apologized for finishing my booze but suggested we hang out again soon, especially now that he had been paid.  I agreed, mostly because I wanted him to throw another financially-related tantrum.  What if I planted a Sacajawea on his window sill and brought it to his attention just before *inadvertently* knocking it out the window?  I’m evil.
Jason and I made plans to hang out a few days later.  I texted him as I was getting off work to see what was up.
“I want to hang, but I only have $1.65 until I’m paid on Thursday,” he replied.  Again?  This was too rich to pass up.
“Didn’t I see on Facebook that you went to Gay Days at Disneyland last weekend?” I texted back.
“Everything was paid for by others.”

I scratched my head; this 28 year-old man with a job, his own apartment and a dog, is continually down to a dollar and change and happy to broadcast it to the world.  At this point, spending time with him just to get a story was no longer enticing.  I told him we’d just hang out another time.

I happened to run into Jason a few months later in the bathroom at Motherlode.  He gave me a dirty look.  I’d been drinking, so I started harassing him.
“Oh hey Jason…..what, are the drinks $1.82 tonight?  Is that why you’re out?”
He walked up and shoved me a little.
“What’s your problem, dude?  Is this just because I never asked you out again?”
I shoved him back.
“You flipped out on me over a fucking quarter.  Go take your $1.40-whatever and fuck yourself.”  I walked out of the tiny bathroom.

“You know, you’re not that cute anyway!” he cried.

What a bizarre window into this guy’s life this had been, not to mention hands-down one of the strangest dates I’ve ever had.  Never tell anyone exactly how much money you have to your name; that’s just tacky. One man’s quarter is another man’s $100 bill, I suppose.
Oh, I do know Jason’s last name, but at the time, I thought “Cheap Ass” was a much more fitting description in my phone.


Seeking a change in his life, the author moved to his own apartment in West Hollywood in 2008.  The column is a look at the life of this single 29 year-old who’s enjoying his life while casually looking for Mr. Right…or Mr. Right Now.