By Allison Smith, Brendan Rigby & Weh Yeoh
In the romance stakes, aid workers often get a bad rap. In fact, recently over at On Motherhood and Sanity, we heard about 52 reasons why you shouldn’t date an aid worker. We love that site, but respectfully, we disagree (yep, clearly not breaking any of the stereotypes outlined). Here’s why:
1. You will never have to suffer through a song by Bono or Madonna in their presence. After all, irrespective of their successful hits, “what do they know about development?”
2. They’re good at bargaining, and always pay close to local price.
3. They know how to fix a bicycle, using only a toothpick, some dental floss and a few small twigs.
4. They’ll be able to tell you the exchange rate in any country, down to the nearest cent.
5. In a crisis, they are seemingly unflappable, even if they’re melting down inside.
6. Impressive gut bacterial flora.
7. They’ll have an plentiful supply of cassava, chia seeds or any other obscure super-foods that you can tap into.
8. They’ll never complain about a hard mattress, a non-fluffy pillow or a cold shower (though you might have to suffer through a story about a harder mattress, less fluffy pillow or a positively arctic shower from years ago).
9. They know how much it should cost to take a taxi from the airport, even if they haven’t been to that country before.
10. They can quote lines from Hotel Rwanda.
11. They’re okay with using squat toilets – in fact, they may even tell you how it’s better for you because it elongates your bowel.
12. They make good +1’s to weddings, birthdays and open house parties. Impress your friends.
13. You will not have to indulge your own sense of guilt at social injustice and global inequalities, as they will take the whole burden on their own shoulders.
14. Smugness doesn’t come easier than when dating an aid worker.
15. Use ‘Moral Credits’ gained from dating an aid worker to offset the morally hazardous aspects of your life.
16. No, you do not have to give a beggar change. Although, there is evidence demonstrating the positive effects of non-conditional cash transfers, it may not have any robust effect on long-term earnings or savings.
17. Never feel like you need to donate clothing to charity again!
18. You’ll have reason to visit all kinds of exotic destinations around the world, places you would have never visited (and perhaps never wanted to…).
19. Get perspective on your cold/sprained ankle/other injury or ailment – hey, it’s not malaria!
20. Your mother will love the fact that you’re dating someone so caring.
21. They will be able to pack a suitcase or backpack as effectively as Mary Poppins.
22. They will be perfectly content if you skimp out on their birthday and take them to the local hole-in-the-wall place, because it serves “real Pho”.
23. They’ll know how to stream obscure interstate cricket matches/American football games/curling bonspiels via your PC.
24. If they are male (and sometimes even if it isn’t), they’ll have an uncanny knack for growing impressive beards. As the band “The Beards” suggests, You Should Consider Having Sex With a Bearded Man
25. They won’t know who Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry or any others on the Billboard charts are, being so out of touch with pop culture “back home”.
26. They know how to use Seatguru to find the safest and best seat on any plane, in case of an emergency.
27. They actually enjoy candle-lit homes, although this is double-edged, as it may take away the romance aspect of candles.
28. Your belief in democracy will be restored, as you will come to appreciate the significance of being able to vote for one of two parties.
29. They’ll know the one spot in any airport where you can find unlocked wifi.
30. Spending too much time on social media and blogs is better than spending nights at some club with that work colleague (“She’s just a friend!”).
31. They’ll have done yoga at some stage – flexibility is good, right?
32. They’ll have a camera on them at all times.
33. They’ll be the first to know about breaking news around the world. “Hmmm, I hope those folk in Galle, Sri Lanka, will be okay after that tsunami..”.
34. They won’t be easily sold by Fair Trade, Carbon Neutral businesses, or any other seemingly quick-fix solutions.
35. They know how to troubleshoot your SMTP settings on Outlook, so you can actually send emails from outside your home network.
36. She’ll know how to wax her legs using candlewax and foolscap paper (although more likely is that she doesn’t wax at all).
37. They’ll be able to track down Vegemite, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, or any other geo-centric snacks, no matter where you are in the world.
38. As they view material possessions as unnecessary and nothing more than a nuisance when moving, you will never have to give them any kind of gifts.
39. You’ll feel better about what you earn in your job.
40. Your son/daughter will become their school’s Model UN President (and work to bring about democratic changes to the Model UN from a bottom-up approach).
41. Have you ever wanted to see bureaucracy at a household level? Yes? Date an aid worker and see that everything is accounted for.
42. Your children will be empowered through a Family Micro-loans and Savings scheme, rather than the orthodox Weekly Allowance scheme, which creates dependency and has shown to only promote sugar highs.
43. Your friends will think you’re going out with someone with the flair and mystery of Indiana Jones, when in actual fact you’re going out with someone closer to Michael Cera.
44. They will never, under any circumstances, inflict Kony 2012 on you.
45. They will be able to seduce you with that most romantic of languages, Bahasa Indonesia. “Saya cinta kamu”. Ah. It warms the heart.
46. You’ll never have to worry about what they look like when they’re not “dolled up”, because chances are, they looked their roughest when you first met them.
47. They are able to use the phrase “I’m going to a networking event” with a straight face.
48. You will get to participate in your first “tweetup” w/ #globaldev wonks in NYC. #smartaid #1milliontshirts #whatonearthisatweetup?
49. You will beat out celebrities to the next batch of exotic and trending baby names.
50. They wouldn’t be caught dead in Crocs.
51. They’ll know how to speak English to anyone, regardless of where they’re from. For example, they’ll say “seeya this arvo” to an Aussie, “Oh! Master, I beg you. I want to doze small small” to a Ghanaian and “why the hell do you call that hat a toque, eh?” to a Canadian.
52. If you end up getting married and your wedding is being paid for by either of your parents….well, let’s just say that aid workers know how to schmooze donors.
And, if you ever need to break up with an aid worker, just remember, there are 50 ways to leave your lover.
Over to you now – can you think of any more reasons why aid workers are date-worthy? Please let us know in the comments.