Luna Jaffe
Luna Jaffe

Why can’t we like the money?

Part two of our interview (see it here) included Jaffe saying – with good humour and sympathy — that long-lived lesbians “suck at money.”

Here, she explains.:

I certainly have plenty of clients and readers who are gay and want to get it together [financially] and be more in charge, but I run into a lot of people who have the mindset like, ‘This is the way it’s going to be.’ They think, ‘I’m not going to earn more.’ Their sense of their worth is very low. It’s a sense of working-class mentality rather than a professional mentality.

There’s always the class difference. We tend not to talk about this difference much in America, but there are still middle-class lesbians and working-class lesbians.

I’ve had many conversations with friends about class versus race, and I think the class is a much bigger issue. When you meet people in a similar class, race is pretty irrelevant. If you meet an upper-class black person and an upper-class white person, the distinctions are minimal, but comparing people by class can be pretty dramatic.

There’s something like that split in the gay community. Gay men still have parts of straight men’s culture. That includes some straight men’s challenges, but there’s still the cultural [imperative] that men make money, they are okay with money, and they love things that come with money. They don’t do this shrugging-off thing that other people have. They’ll say they like money and like to make money. But [for lesbians] saying, I need to make money; I like money is not cool. I think, why can’t we like it? Does it make you spiritually uncool? I don’t know the answer.

Amongst the lesbian community, it still seems like it’s not cool to like or want money. I feel there’s some kind of association [that means that] financial success has to do with male-ness or the masculine or something. It’s very unconscious…But it’s fascinating.

I think some women feel, as I do, unable to manage financial affairs.

Some of the work I do is to counter that belief system I had, which was that I didn’t have the money gene. I thought there was one, and I didn’t get it.

I’m here to say that that’s bullshit! There will always be people who are more natural at things than others, but I use the example of playing the piano. There’s the rare person who can sit down and just play the piano, they’re just a natural, but there are lots more who can play the piano because they sit down and practice. Money is like that. Why should we expect to sit at our piano or our money and play perfectly without learning? That’s sort of crazy!