Thu 14 Feb 2008
This Valentine’s Day I broke up with my hairdresser. Because I’m going to be a Hillary supporter. Or Obama, whoever the Democrats put up.
I love Obama, but if he’s elected, I’ll have to watch this young, good-looking man age in office. It wasn’t pretty with Bill. Hillary’s already 60. And she has piano legs, which I love. She’s a tank, Mme. Thatcher, but liberal. And like Thatcher, not “likeable.” W was likeable.
Two great candidates. So why will I vote for Hillary in the primary? Because she’s firm on universal health care. Obama says he’ll make health care affordable “for all those who want it.” Not good enough. I’m one of those people who fell off the face of the health care map when I came down with a permanent illness. Too sick to work full time, too strapped to buy good health care. I know middle class people will put their kids’ college education before their own health premiums.
I’ve worked, both full time and as a consultant, for insurance companies — investment/annuities, life and property insurance. Some were ethical, some were questionable. A good friend worked for a medical insurer, and its practices were way off my the radar screen of waste and treachery. Only a government reality check will clean up the medical insurers’ acts. Don’t think you can let them lead the process; it’ll be business as usual. If you haven’t already, Netflix Michael Moore’s Sicko.
What does this have to do with Joleen, my ex-hairdresser? She is conservative. She says, “I want to control my own money.” Meaning eliminate taxes, have an unregulated economy. I tell her I worked on Wall Street, and know a few regulations are needed. Deregulation caused the crash of ’87, the S&L crisis of the early 90s, Enron, today’s mortgage/hedge fund debacles. Deregulation is making a couple of guys at the top rich, hurting everyone else.
But you can’t tell that to someone who doesn’t read the paper.
Joleen hates Hillary. “No one asked for her!” She thinks Africans are genetically programmed for violence. When I told her I was traveling to Russia, she was so repulsed her hands reflexively retracted from my hair.
I couldn’t stand her. I couldn’t stand her touching me. But I put up with her because she was cheap. A third the cost of my former NY salon. I told myself, I’m getting a taste of small-town life, I’m learning about America. Toxic overload is the price I must pay.
I knew I had to quit Joleen. But not at Christmas. She’d been wailing about one of her daughters needing a heart operation; insurance wouldn’t pay. I gave her a $100 tip. Despite the fact that she failed to see that the Democrats she so loathed wanted to fix the health care system, to help people like her.
The insurance eventually came through. She was back to gloating about her children. (I once thought I could have a two-way conversation with Joleen, but I can’t, I don’t have kids.)
I called the salon on her day off, said I must reschedule. I never did. I went to a place where it would have cost 150% more if I’d let them do everything Joleen did for free – deep condition and style, as well as cut and color. I left with wet hair. But the girl was nice. We talked Broadway plays. She didn’t talk about her kids, didn’t ask me if I had any. Nor did we talk politics. It felt wonderful.
Better to spend more, and preserve mental health. Like it’s better to spend the $4.40 for that Latte Grande. You might meet your next boss at Starbucks, or boyfriend. If Candace Bushnell had been frugal, do you think she’d have lived the high life that led her to her Mr. Big, a daily newspaper column and media mega-deals? My guess is she ran up a few credit card bills along the way.
Last fall I bought a nice handbag I didn’t need, and it was admired in the style-free zone where I live by a fabulous woman at my Y. Turns out she was one of those people with a house overlooking the ocean here, and one overlooking the Hudson in Manhattan. We hit it off. She lent me her fabulous apartment. My $25 bag saved me $1,000 in NY hotels during the holiday high season. Sometimes Suze Orman is just plain wrong.