Are You With a Boxcar Willie?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen wonderful women who get into relationships with men I like to call “Boxcar Willies.”

The name comes from a historical reference to men who lived in boxcars during the Great Depression, when times were tough and unemployment hit a staggering 30 percent level.

Back then, there were many people out of work and thousands of men who had nowhere to live; among them, many who lacked constant employment became bums. They hopped the back of trains (the boxcar) and rode from one town to the next, living off the land, sitting around campfires at night with other Boxcar Willies, moving from town to town begging, or doing odd jobs for cash.

Nowadays, an interesting phenomenon has occurred as a result of women in the workforce. Now, women can make incomes large enough to support themselves and others. This has led to what I loosely term the “Boxcar Willie Phenomenon.”

In this case, men who in the past might’ve ridden the rails now just hitch up with successful, “together” women who support them financially. It’s often difficult to spot today’s Willies because they don’t wear rags. No, today’s Willies are more likely to sport Banana Republic or even Prada (and they don’t ride in a boxcar either).

Today’s Willies lease a car, figure out a way to get the girlfriend/wife to pay for it, and everybody mistakes these guys for financially contributing members of society. Willies are well-fed too. Instead of cold baked beans around a fire, they’re likely to be “foodies” who forget their wallet or say they’re “in a tough time right now” when the check comes. Sadly, many women can’t see the bad news when they want their guys to be everything they say they are.

[Note: I’m not talking about the men hard at work at home tending to the kids and the house. I am talking about the scammer guy who is looking for a free ride.]

Ask yourself:
1. Does the man you’re with constantly make excuses for why money is tight?

2. Does he have a tendency to blame others for his lack of ability to keep or get a job?

3. Was he unemployed before the recession as well?

4. Are the financial aspects of your relationship completely out of balance, and you are paying for everything?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, good for you for noticing. When it comes to relationships, it may be hard to speak up about what’s not working, but that’s better than pretending nothing’s wrong.

People can define what works for them in relationships, as long as what you decide works for you BOTH. I also advise individual counseling or couples counseling (if your guy is game) to work on these areas. And you definitely need to buy my book!

One thought on “Are You With a Boxcar Willie?

  1. A woman I work with just married a Boxcar Willie- he’s unemployed, has 3 kids and an unemployed ex-wife. My coworker seems to think she really lucked out somehow. Now she has her new husband and all his kids on her insurance and she gets to be the wife who will be cheated on. I guess this is her idea of wedded bliss! Congrats!

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