Wednesday, April 20, 2005

What do you discuss with your friends?

• The gourmet porn-star orgy you attended last weekend
• The oozing medical condition you brought home from the orgy
• The truth about your waist size/breast size/penis size/big fake implants
• Your actual age/hair color
• Your kids’ truancy officer’s actual age/hair color
• The real reason your mom didn’t run for Tulip Council president
• The role astrology plays in your decorating decisions
• The role astrology plays in your dating decisions
• The role addiction plays in your dating decisions
• The fact that everyone called you “Skid Marks” from third grade through high school
• Your cousin who’s doing time for killing a hooker in the basement
• Your salary

Exactly. Even though you framed your cousin in that basement incident, you still talk freely about how trashy he is and how only a moron would do time for killing a common house hooker—all the while vowing that you will never ever reveal the incriminating details of (Gasp!) what you earn.

And while there are perfectly logical reasons for keeping your salary held close to your big, fake breasts—you don’t want to make your colleagues jealous, you don’t want to find out that Cap’n Moronpants in the next cube can buy and sell you—there are also perfectly logical reasons you feel compelled to ignore when it comes time to discuss your oozing medical conditions, Mr. Skid Marks.

Where was I? Oh, yes: salary. I brought up this salary thing randomly to a friend a couple months ago. He’s a friend who clearly makes a lot more than I do and who clearly enjoys the standard of living he’s achieved for himself. (The man is intelligent, driven, accomplished and hard-working—and he’s very generous with the money he has—so I don’t begrudge him for a second the money he makes. Especially because he sometimes buys me things. Besides, his consumer spending is more about wide-eyed wonder at the treasures of the world than about peacockery or us-and-themery. And he has spectacular taste. And Lord knows you have to nurture good taste wherever you see it growing. Otherwise we’d all be One Nation Under Trent Lott’s Hair.)

Where was I? Oh, yes: salary. I wasn’t fishing when I brought up the whole salary thing to my friend—I have no (legitimate) complaints about my standard of living, I enjoy the process of budgeting for bigger purchases, I like the satisfaction of feeling that I’ve earned the things I have, and I really have no hang-ups about other people’s money. Unless they substitute money for personality. Or they use money to build social barriers. Or they buy $4 bottles of shampoo when Suave does just as good a job for under $1. But that’s a rant for a different post.

Where was I? Oh, yes: salary. So I was really surprised when in response to my salary observation, my friend simply blurted out what he makes.

And that it is almost four times what I make.

Which explains how he can afford to buy brand-name frozen juice concentrate while I’m forced to choke down the store-brand stuff.

Surprise revelations notwithstanding, though, I was also relieved to discover that I still didn’t care about the vast (and now clearly defined) gulf between his salary and mine. I didn’t feel unworthy, I didn’t feel that I hadn’t worked hard enough in my career—and I most certainly didn’t feel guilty about asking for a second glass of juice the next time I was at his house.

But I did feel like Skid Marks my friend and I had grown closer through the bond of a Big Secret—a Big Secret he obviously didn’t have many reservations about sharing with other people, but a Big Secret nonetheless. And ever since I went on house arrest on some trumped-up perjury charge regarding that hooker thing, it’s gotten much harder to develop lasting bonds with my friends.

Where was I? Oh, yes: gourmet porn-star orgies. But that’s a story for a different post.


Sven said...

And here, my friends and I only talk about our penis size. Now, I have other topics to bring to the table. I will be the Belle of the next Big Gay Ball. And by Ball, I mean when we sit around the local watering hole gettin' sloshed.

Spider said...

MY GOD - love has gone to your head...

portuguesa nova said...

Alright now. Did I just read something about Suave being just as good as the rest? Did I dial the wrong blog?

Alina said...

4$ is the average price for a normal shampoo in Romania. Paying a lot would mean 50$ for a L'Oreal shampoo. That is SO weired, considering that we make less money than, well, any developed country! Crazy little country, what can I say!

Jeff said...

OMG! The pretentious queens are gonna demand your "queer card" for that Suave comment!

And I agree. Soap is soap and moisturizer is moisturizer. Let the flames begin...

Yvonne said...

I wonder what you think of the tenet that wealth lies not in what you have but in what you can do without. I loved what you said about people who use money as a personality substitute. Money buys me time and that's all I really care about. Not MinuteMaid OJ. Just precious time to do the things I love.

Like read this blog.

David said...

Suave is cheaper for a reason, Jakie-poo...Don't EVER scrimp on hair products.