Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Two Americas - Actually Three Americas

Maybe John Edwards was wrong. I used to think that there two Americas - the America where I live in which people pay 12 buck for a haircut and the other America, where people pay $400 for a haircut. Now I know that there are three Americas.

For four decades, Joseph Torrenueva has cut the hair of Hollywood celebrities, including Marlon Brando and Bob Barker, so when a friend told him in 2003 that a presidential candidate needed grooming advice, he agreed to help.

The Beverly Hills hairstylist, a Democrat, said he hit it off with then-Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) at a meeting in Los Angeles that brought several fashion experts together to advise the candidate on his appearance. Since then, Torrenueva has cut Edwards's hair at least 16 times.

At first, the haircuts were free. But because Torrenueva often had to fly somewhere on the campaign trail to meet his client, he began charging $300 to $500 for each cut -- plus the cost of airfare and hotels when he had to travel outside California.

Torrenueva said that one haircut during the 2004 presidential race cost $1,250 because he traveled to Atlanta and lost two days of work.

"He has nice hair," the stylist said of Edwards in an interview. "I try to make the man handsome, strong, more mature, and these are the things, as an expert, that's what we do."

I'm guessing that, in John Edwards' world, he's mulitcultural for being able to live in either of the latter two Americas.

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