Thursday, April 22, 2010

How neurosis promotes cheapness

Some anecdotes:

-For a while now, I'd noticed that my cuticles are a mess. I'm not sure what one does about this (there are such things as cuticle oils, sticks, and nippers, none of which I'd know what to do with), so I decided to get a manicure, what would have been, I think, my fourth ever. Then I googled 'manicure hepatitis.' Saved: $12.

-Yesterday, I saw a woman with the chambray shirt of my dreams. I was all set to ask her where it was from, when the following thoughts popped into my head:

1) Given what this woman looks like (40-ish, very-slim-but-not-emaciated, massive diamond ring, perfect-yet-understated hair, all signs point to her being one of the mothers from the private school near where I teach), I can't afford the shirt, and it will be too depressing to know that the shirt exists but costs $3,000.

2) Given how flawless this woman looks, how put-together she is versus how put-together I'm not, it could be that the very same shirt on another woman (namely, me) would not be anything special.

3) She's so not going to want to interrupt her conversation with the other mom to help some shabby grad student mimic her style. Yeah, it was the perfect shirt, but I saved, shall we say, $98.

-Unlike the PhD students one so often reads about, who are convinced that after graduation they will have amazing jobs, I remain convinced that I'm one awkwardly-phrased email to a professor, one messily-formatted citation away from destitution. This, I find, inhibits my shopping tremendously. Money saved: incalculable.

5 comments:

Mark Cohen said...

Being neurotic does pay off, but being a malcontent is perhaps even a better path to fiscal prudence. Before a purchase I ask myself, "Will this make me happy?" The answer is always no. A penny saved.

Phoebe said...

Alas, I'm fairly certain that a perfect chambray shirt would make me happy. Not $98 worth of happy, though, which is what matters here.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to embarrass you but you are gorgeous and can easily carry off a $3000 chambray shirt. (Or a $3 one.)

Anonymous said...

The Nordstrom's one is now on sale.

Nils said...

I spent all of graduate school feeling the growing weight of downward economic mobility pressing me flatter and flatter. (And the feeling is much worse as a man, let me tell you, since impecuniousness restricts men's dating options much more than it does women's.) But you know what, eventually you won't be a grad student any longer, and no matter what you do, you'll almost certainly have more money than you have now, and then the neurosis will life, and maybe you'll even buy yourself that $3000 chambray or something similar, and you know what you'll find... that it doesn't please you all that much anyway.