The Secret Currency of Love by P-HarpercollinsPubl


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									The Secret Currency of Love
Author: Hilary Black

Money. It affects us all, so why is it so difficult to discuss? Even as daily headlines broadcast ever more
alarming news about the fate of the American economy, few people are willing to acknowledge the
enormous impact that personal finance has on their private affairs. Until now.In this compelling anthology
of original essays, some of the country's most respected women writers reveal their deepest feelings
about money and how it affects their most intimate relationships — with parents, children, spouses,
siblings, and ultimately with themselves. They examine the childhood experiences that set up lifelong,
and sometimes self-destructive, financial habits. And they divulge how all the intangibles — romance,
status, power, security — become tangled up in their financial lives.The essays in these pages are
written from many different perspectives: a single woman trying to reconcile feminism with a secret desire
to be supported by a man; a wife with radically different spending habits from her husband's; a divorcée 
who has become the family's chief breadwinner; a single mother struggling to make ends meet. They also
explore complicated social issues. Sheri Holman (The Dress Lodger) reveals how she fell in love with a
homeless drug addict. Leslie Bennetts (The Feminine Mistake) weighs the social and emotional costs of
giving her children a private-school education among the super-rich. Bliss Broyard (One Drop) ruminates
on the intricacies of maintaining friendships with wealthier friends. And Amy Cohen (The Late Bloomer's
Revolution) considers the price — financial and otherwise — of having a child on her own. Witty,
nuanced, and startlingly intimate, The Secret Currency of Love offers a transformative look at the delicate
nature of love and money. This riveting collection will spark debate by inspiring readers to reexamine their
own emotional connection to their finances. As Americans struggle to make rational choices in a
frightening economy, these brave, revealing essays by some of today's most esteemed writers provide
insight into how a modern generation of women is defining itself in the new social economy.

Karen KarboRobbie Schulman was my first boyfriend. From our relationship you will be able to
extrapolate, tea leaf like, how my romantic life would play out over the next forty years.It was
kindergarten. Robbie and I lived in the same glittery stucco apartment building in Sherman Oaks,
California. We were deeply attached. We did everything together. We sat on the school bus together,
swam together in the kidney bean shaped pool after school, and drew elaborate, block-long hopscotch
patterns on the sidewalk. He was my pal and my beloved.He also was my business partner, and this is
where things fell apart. It was my first lesson in keeping my money separate from my love. For Christmas
that year, I had received a toy ironing board and iron. Rather than setting about ironing doll clothes, I
hatched a moneymaking scheme that involved ironing tissues. Why I thought this was a terrific idea
remains a mystery, but I was convinced that people in our apartment building would pay three cents for a
piece of tissue that had its folds ironed flat like a piece of phyllo dough.Robbie agreed because Robbie
was agreeable. He'd play Ken to my Barbie, Paul to my John (A Hard Day's Night had just been
released), and even Marco Polo with only two people. I pilfered a box of my mother's Kleenex from the
linen closet, and we were in business. Robbie's contribution was to watch me iron and to carry the ironed
tissues, balanced across his tanned boy's forearms, as we went from door to door. We sold them all, not
because anyone on earth needs an ironed tissue, but because we were both enchanting and ridiculous
and our product cost three cents. Some people even gave us a nickel.The big breakup occurred when
Robbie wanted a fifty-fifty split. In that a five-year-old can be incredulous, I was. The entire enterprise had
been my idea, from my toy iron to my chatty sales pitch. The tissue had come from beneath the
bathroom sink in my house. Aside from Robbie's role as bearer of the ironed tissues, he'd done nothing
but gone along. Nothing. He was incredulous that he wasn't entitled to 50 percent of the profits. We
tussled. I hit him with the iron. He cried. His mother called my mother, and that was the end of both our
business partnership and our romance.In the aftermath of the failed ironed-tissue enterprise, my mother
did the proper motherly thing and gave me a lecture about not using my toy iron to settle a dispute. She
did not, however, applaud me for sticking up for my rights, for she was a firm believer in the secret
economy of women. Without a college education, she'd still had enough smarts to land my father, a
cultured, well-educated man who made a solid upper-middle-class living. (There's an amazing picture of
the two of them walking down the aisle after their vows. She's winking at someone in the pews — a wink
that says, "Look at what I landed!")My mother believed that men were born to make the money and
women were born to be pretty and pleasing, like one of those feathery, sparkling fly-fishing lures. Once
you caught the man, you were installed in a nice house, where you vacuumed on Monday, dusted on
Tuesday, shopped for groceries on Wednesday, and shared a beer with a girlfriend by the pool on sunny
afternoons. It was the husband's job to make and save the money, and the wife's job to spend his money
in such a way that he never could figure out where it was going. The wife was also responsible for putting
dinner on the table every night — which, since I've been dealing with the dinner issue every night for
decades (it should be added to death and taxes as another thing in life that can't be avoided),...
Author Bio
Hilary Black
Hilary Black has spent her career as an editor in both books and magazines. She has held positions at
Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, More magazine (where she was a founding editor),
and Tango magazine (where she was editor-in-chief). She lives in New York City.

'The most interesting anthology I’ve seen in years. I read it with fascination, to the very last page.'

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