“A man will reveal the most intimate details of his sex life before he will show you his tax return.”—Aaron Haspel, Everything: A Book of Aphorisms (2015)
“Everybody’s uptight about something.” That’s what the adorable little hippie said to me, with a sassy smile. I had just teased her about the meticulous manner in which she cleaned her bong. No joke, it was like watching a marine clean his gun. Only she was the very opposite of a marine: a wake-and-bake stoner who rarely got up before noon. She said “dude” often, and her basement apartment on St. Paul Street was in a perpetual state of patchouli-scented chaos. For these reasons, and others, her fussiness about the bong seemed out of place to 25-year-old me. But contradictions of this stamp surprise me less at 41. In part, because I’ve discovered that they’re actually quite common.
There are extroverted exhibitionists in this world—delightfully entertaining people—who will, at the drop of a hat, regale your dinner-party guests with salty stories from their misspent youth. They’ll talk about the sex, the drugs, the rock and roll, and all the rest—and they’ll do so without hesitation. These are people who wear their shamelessness like a badge, people who take pride in their openness, people who could, it seems, talk about any potentially embarrassing topic with ease—until, that is, the topic of money and indebtedness comes up. At that point, many of the very same extroverts clam up and turn bright red. The fiery redhead who was just telling us about an ecstasy-fueled orgy is suddenly speechless, sheepish, and shy. Same is true of the flamboyant dude in the corner who was just telling us about the time he overdosed on Viagra. He’s shamefaced and silent too.
Our culture has never been so laid-back about sex, nor has it ever been so uptight about money.
—John Faithful Hamer, From Here (2016)