Other People's Money
I doubt anyone who read this story about the "spending diaries of "real New Yorkers" (cough) wanted to punch Brian the "grad student" in the balls as much as I did. Last time I checked, wasn't the commonly held perception of a grad student (especially those who are studying "fiction" [cue laugh track]) supposed to be someone who is poor and working his way through the extraneous schooling his parents refused to subsidize? Apparently not. Brian lives in a posh $1,800-a-month West Village share (that his parents are "helping" him pay for), holds a gym membership at Equinox (that his parents pay for), and has school tuition (that his parents pay for). Boyfriend also has a serious espresso habit that's surely the cause of the migraines he suffers, which necessitated the $125 he dropped to treat them with acupuncture. And is he going to give up his $80 Iron Maiden concert ticket? Helllllz, no! This guy needs to be dragged across the river to Jamaica, Queens, and forced march down the street in his tighty-whities, waving the American flag. (I think I'm subconsciously reffing an episode of "The Simpsons," but that humiliation fantasy seems pretty apropos in this scenario.)
Am I jealous of Brian the "grad student"? Of course! But no more so than I am of William the Trader's wife, who has somehow justified spending $270 for a haircut while having no real job of her own. If I knew in high school that the occupation "wife" would be more lucrative than my entire career's worth of paychecks, I would have sunk my college tuition money into plastic surgery and miniskirts.
Side note: I think David Amsden did a great job on his story about how money can come between friends. (I totally identified with Liz, which should surprise absolutely no one who semiconsistently reads this blog.) And I was riveted by Jennifer Gonnerman's story of an impoverished father.