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May   8

Grouchy in Gucci

Dear Betty,
I have a friend who has less money than I do, and she’s forever complaining how she can’t do this and can’t do that. Every time I ask her to do something as simple as go out to Fascino for dinner or to Canyon Ranch for a two-for-one weekend, she says she can’t afford it. It’s not my fault that she’s a fabric artist married to a musician, or that her house hasn’t appreciated very much because it’s on the train tracks. I like her, but I’m getting tired of hearing about her so-called poverty—plus I’m getting bored of pot luck. What can I do to shut her up?
Signed, Grouchy in Gucci

Dear Grouchy,

You describe a common dilemma in these eclectic suburbs. You meet someone who seems perfect for you in every way, only to discover they live several streets down the mountain, and drive a Saturn to match. Or vice versa. You can skirt around this discrepancy for a while, but eventually the difference will be felt by both parties.

You have three choices. The first is to discuss the problem. Although Betty was brought up not to talk about money—“never ask what a person does for a living, because he might be an alcoholic”—she has found that this advice is self-serving for the richer among us. If it is distasteful to talk about money, how crass is a labor union? So Betty believes in bringing the subject out into the open, especially among friends. Have a good old fashioned communist Chinese style struggle session, and tell her how you feel.

Second, you can pay for her to keep up, or sink to her level without complaining.

Third, you can drop her. For an example of how to do this, observe the Bush administration’s policies toward the middle classes. In other words, squeeze her until she disappears.

May 8, 2005 in Betty Says | Permalink


dear groucci: your friend sucks. what a loser. send her sorry ass for a ride on the crappy friend flume and then see if you can hack into paris hilton's cell phone. i just saw house of wax and paris will probably be scrounging for a social life for years to come.
GOOD LUCK. and don't weaken. who wants poor loser friends when you can have cool rich ones?

Posted by: fran | May 8, 2005 4:15:42 PM


Obviously you need to have a little talk with the town assessor. People like that certainly shouldn't be able to afford the property taxes in our towns. A little revaluation might convince her to move to a town more her speed, where she can meet her fellow off-label fabric designers and her husband can "jam" with other non-telegenic musicians.

Posted by: MiloG | May 8, 2005 8:44:08 PM

With all due respect (and after this past week's "stolen car" incident), I suggest that either Miss Betty and the posters above have been had, or, more likely, Miss Betty's column doesn't yet engender emails and she came up with this one as a means of eliciting comment from any would-be wags out there. If this by some moral long shot was a "real" question, however, it's so dumb that not even the "Ethicist" in the Sunday Times would have bothered replying. Which, I fear, is saying something.

Posted by: cathar | May 8, 2005 9:23:07 PM

Not for a second do I think this is a real letter.

Posted by: walleroo | May 9, 2005 11:13:43 AM

I think fran and I believed the same and responded in kind. Wasn't that the point?


Posted by: MiloG | May 9, 2005 11:37:47 AM

This column makes me worry if Baristanet has just "jumped the shark".

Posted by: Jumping the Shark | May 9, 2005 11:48:22 AM

Milo, you and fran are doing just fine. (Did I say I thought you thought it was a real letter? I did not.) Please continue. Sorry to interrupt.

Posted by: walleroo | May 9, 2005 11:54:11 AM

If and when Baristanet goes too far, it'll be called "jumping the snark."

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2005 10:42:49 PM

"Although Betty was brought up not to talk about money — “never ask what a person does for a living, because he might be an alcoholic."

Deeply offensive and deeply uninformed. It casts a shadow on any other good advice that might be found here.

Posted by: ESB | May 10, 2006 8:55:06 AM

The letter WOULD be funny if it wasn't a true illustration of how some Baristaville folks really think.

Posted by: Miss Martta | May 10, 2006 9:09:10 AM

How bitter do you have to be to dig up this year-old thread?

Or is this intended to be some kind of anniversary celebration?

Posted by: crank | May 10, 2006 9:19:37 AM

I was wondering along those lines too, crank. Especially since "Betty" seems to have gone back to her knitting long ago. It's hard for me to believe someone only just read this one and decided to comment.

Posted by: cathar | May 10, 2006 9:34:28 AM

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