The New Underclass
Won't somebody think of the children?
A nose job in a hospital with a private nurse in attendance had been something of a rite of passage for Joan Asher's children. But when her fourth and last child was ready for her own rhinoplasty recently, Ms. Asher asked her to postpone it.
The financial markets were simply more out of whack than her 16-year-old's proboscis.
"The other noses were more prominent," the stay-at-home mother from a tony New York City suburb in Westchester County told her 16-year-old daughter. She could get hers done when things settled down.
The financial crisis on Wall Street has New York's well-to-do reeling. The people who fuel the area's economy with their spending on art, fashion, cars, restaurants, plastic surgery and other luxe goods and services are starting to cut back once-lavish budgets. As a result, those who cater to their every whim -- from nanny agencies to jewelers to yacht builders -- are seeing clients tighten their belts on expenses from the millions to the thousands.
Fortunately, our story has a happy ending:
Ms. Asher was able to let her daughter get her nose job before school began after plastic surgeon Alan Matarasso said he could do the procedure in his office operating room on Manhattan's Upper East Side for about $2,500 less than if they went to a hospital, stayed overnight and hired a nurse. At home, Ms. Asher stayed up most of the night after the surgery, putting cold compresses on her daughter's eyes every 20 minutes. "She was fine," she says. "It came out great."
Sure, Joan had to stay up most of the night. But at least she didn't have to get a job.