Tuesday, April 24, 2007

John Edwards, The $400 Haircut, My Two Wives and Me

By John E. Carey

I was married once before and I am not proud of the fact that I was divorced.

I think my first wife struggled to be happy despite all the beautiful purses, shoes and other goodies she owned. Her kitchen looked like something out of a cuisine catalogue: Calthalon pots and pans like there was no tomorrow. She informed me stuff this good is called “cookware.”

That same year her pajamas became “sleepwear.”

I bought her a new house and a new car all in the same week. She hardly smiled. A neighbor told me I could buy her the Ringling Brothers Circus, put it right on the lawn and she wouldn’t be happy.

That’s when, in middle age, I started to discover that it is not possessions, fancy cars and other goodies that delight me. What makes me happy is an afternoon at the movies with your best girl, a funny conversation at the 7-11, doing someone a favor, and things like that.

Then I met Lien, now my bride, who solidified this thought in me forever.

Born in Vietnam, she lived though war and life as a refugee for most of her life. When she moved in with me she couldn’t even fill a closet. She has less in the way of possessions than anyone I know. And she is the happiest person I know.

Don’t worry, we are getting to John Edwards.

Lien, being Vietnamese, belongs to a genetic strain of Nail and Hair Salon Experts. In the Washington DC area, the Vietnamese have the salon business just about locked up, except for the Erwin Gomez Salon and Spa in Georgetown, which caters to the Washington DC gentry that wants to feel like they are in Hollywood.

Despite this blood relationship to the salon business, and knowing dozens of salon proprietors who could give her a facial or a new hair color, Lien doesn’t want to be pampered. She always looks great but she always does her own hair, nails and the rest.

So this week it occurred to me that John Edwards wants to be pampered. He lives in the biggest and most expensive house in the county and he gets his stylist to meet him on the road to give him his $400 hairdo.Do you really want someone that needs to be pampered living in the White House?

My barber (he would spit if I called him a stylist) is a Greek Immigrant Entrepreneur. He charges me $10 for my haircuts and he fills the time with brilliant political analyses or stories from the world.

I wish my hair grew faster so I could see more of him!

Life is not about the objects you own or the pampering you buy yourself, in my book. Life is about a moment together, a fun conversation, a lunch in a booth, and an uplifting motion picture shared together.

Fortunately, I found the perfect woman. My bride Lien.

John Edwards Could Look Like Glen Campbell For A Lot Less

By Mark Rutledge
The Daily Reflector
Saturday, April 21, 2007

No matter what you think about John Edwards' politics, there's no denying the man has some nice hair.

The Associated Press reported this week that the Democratic presidential candidate's campaign-spending disclosures include some high-dollar haircuts.

At least two were $400 cuts the former N.C. senator got from Joseph Torrenueva, a celebrity hairstylist in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The AP must have decided to check Edwards' hair-care spending after noticing he never looks like he needs, or recently had, a haircut. His is the kind my father calls "a haircut that doesn't look like a haircut."

Most men order that type of trim — the kind that doesn't expose tan lines on the back of the neck or above the ears — only when they're about to get married or attend a funeral.

Had John Edwards been in the public eye in 1970, my father might have aspired to have his 9-year-old son achieve the John Edwards look. But the closest thing we had to John Edwards back then was Glen Campbell.

After admiring his hair on TV's "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour," my dad got the idea that my bangs should be arranged in a similar fashion.

I remember sitting in the chair at Earl's Barbershop in Johnson City, Tenn., while dad borrowed a comb to demonstrate how he would like my hair to swoop right-to-left across my forehead.
"Sort of like Glen Campbell's," he said.

Earl, a tall Southern gentleman who peers over his glasses during instructions on how much hair to remove, nailed the cut.

I sported the Glen Campbell look until I was about 13, when my hair took a decidedly wavy turn.

Some people are saying it looks bad for John Edwards to buy $400 haircuts while running for president on an anti-poverty platform. I say he can spend as much as he wants to maintain his boyish good looks.

Edwards and Torrenueva are friends, according to the AP article, and Edwards likes to get his hair cut by his friend whenever possible.

I can relate to that. Earl Rice and I are friends, too. He began cutting my hair when I still needed the booster board laid across the seat. I still go back to Earl's whenever possible.

One reason Torrenueva charges Edwards so much is that he apparently goes to Edwards rather than having Edwards come into his Beverly Hills salon.

I doubt if Earl would agree to go to Edwards. But if Edwards ever finds himself campaigning in East Tennessee, and Torrenueva is too busy to leave his salon, Earl's Barbershop would make the perfect backdrop for a campaign stop and photo op.

The place has remained unchanged for nearly four decades. The walls display regional art and various mounted fish and pheasants.

On the Saturday before Easter, Earl gave me the standard tan-line budget cut, which should hold me until I visit my parents again Memorial Day weekend.

But the master barber can just as easily give Edwards a haircut that doesn't look like a haircut.
No appointment is needed, but Earl sometimes slips down to the Red Pig Bar-B-Q for a bite around lunchtime.

Not to worry, though. Earl's is a three-chair operation. Bill and Zeke, the other two barbers, are also certified in the Glen Campbell technique — still only $10 a pop.

That's a bargain on any political platform.

Mark Rutledge can be contacted at mrutledge@coxnc.com