It started as a joke… until it wasn’t. This is the story of how I became a J. Money knockoff for the day. It’s something a little different from my regular posts.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show…
I was at the FinCon expo for the first time this year. If you’re unfamiliar with the event, it’s an annual convention filled with financial content for bloggers and other money nerds!
Philip Taylor (PT) started the event in 2011 and it’s been growing ever since. Like-minded love to get together and this event is definitely no exception.
I’ll be talking about my FinCon experience in a later post… just know that I loved every minute of that expo.
I went to the conference not having ever met anyone that would be at the conference beforehand.
However, I’ve talked to plenty of other bloggers via comments and email over the years. This made my time getting to know everyone much easier.
J. Money’s the Man
One of those bloggers who I had communicated briefly with beforehand is a guy who goes by the name J. Money (or J$).
He’s pretty easy to spot because he’s the guy sporting a Mohawk haircut. That tends to be something that stands out slightly in the personal finance arena. 🙂
J. Money is considered a rock star in the community. Besides his unusually-named popular blog, Budgets are Sexy, he’s started a number of other cool projects along the way.
A couple of those projects are the Rockstar Finance site and forums. That’s also what led me to have a brief conversation with J$ over email regarding a small glitch I had spotted on a survey regarding the Rockstar site.
During our conversation, I let him know that I looked forward to meeting him at FinCon even though I had heard he always had a crowd gathering around him. He told me it can sometimes get a little wild, but to still snag him if I could.
That’s right – he’s a rock star like that!
And with good reason. When I finally met him at the conference, I learned he’s a social butterfly and one of the nicest people you could meet. He’s got a ton of energy and project ideas are always popping in and out of his head. Just a great guy to be around.
So why is this important to the story?
Because FinCon was having a costume party for the last night of the event. I joked with J. Money and with Steve (from ThinkSaveRetire.com) that I should go as J$ to the party and shave my head with a Mohawk like his.
This became a running joke with a bunch of us at the conference.
I mean, seriously, what idiot would actually shave his head for some silly costume party?
Well, apparently this idiot would.
Look, I’m not an ultra-conservative guy by any means, but I’m also not the guy to go for something like this. Still, the idea sure sounded intriguing and how funny would the whole thing be? Besides, it’s just hair – it’ll grow back, right?
So I decided to pull the trigger on the plan. But I needed to recruit some help to make this last-minute costume idea happen.
Scott from I Dream of Fire (who I had only met a couple days earlier) came up to my room to help get the ball rolling.
But here’s the thing… this was a last-minute idea and we didn’t really have the tools for the job (e.g. clippers!).
That turned this into a much bigger task than it should have been. We were stuck using cuticle scissors, a small beard touch-up trimmer, and a cordless electric razor (with maybe a half-charge left).
Things started out pretty rough, but then it slowly began to take shape.
In the meantime, Kathryn from Making Your Money Matter went to work to create a shirt and badge to use. With J. Money’s blog being “Budgets are Sexy”, we went with “My Budgets are Sexy Too!”
While Kathryn was working on this stuff, Amy from Life Zemplified helped do the touch-up and hair-pasting (I made that word up) of my Mohawk.
With Steve and Courtney in the room also watching this train wreck unfold, we had a full house. None of us could have envisioned we’d be spending the last night of FinCon transforming me into a J. Money knockoff, but it was definitely a great bonding experience!
The good news is that it turned out pretty well. I cut off the sleeves of an old flannel I had with me (for my original costume idea) and threw that on.
The Finished Product
The team’s hard work paid off…
Ok, I’m not J. Money, but for a costume idea that came together just a couple hours before the party, I think we did all right!
We headed to the party and, a bit to my surprise for some weird reason, it turned out to be a hit.
J. Money finally saw me after a short while and almost fell over laughing. We then had our bonding moment…
What I didn’t expect is that that wasn’t the end of it. J. Money brought me everywhere with him around the party and we had a lot of fun with it. People laughed and we took a lot of pictures together. Here are a couple more for your viewing pleasure…
I entered the world of J. Money and spent hours with him (trying) to mimic his smooth moves on the dance floor and spent some time talking to his peeps.
I learned I definitely don’t have all the energy he does!
It made for a great party and PT (the founder of FinCon) later awarded me a free pass for next year’s event! Score! Although I wasn’t thinking about that when I did it, I definitely appreciate the gesture.
Here’s the thing – the joke was fun and proved to be really entertaining, but then the party ended. Ok, I decided to go to bed… but eventually it was over.
So now what?
I have a Mohawk and I’m going back to work with my boss and coworkers. On top of that, I remembered that I’m going to a parent-teacher conference for my daughter this week!
Hmmm, this could be interesting.
So, I figured I have three options…
- Shave off the rest of my hair at the hotel and start from scratch with a bald head.
- Leave it be until the rest of my hair catches up and clean it up over time.
- Just rock the Mohawk like J$ for the long haul!
Let’s knock option 3 off the list right off the bat. I’m just not cool enough to make the Mohawk part of my regular style.
Option 1 seems to make sense and it’s probably a little more “socially accepted” to be bald instead of having a Mohawk… but that seems too easy. Plus, shouldn’t my wife and daughter get a chance to be surprised and see this hot mess when they pick me up from the airport?
I decided option 2 was the way to go. I got to continue being J. Money for the next day. It was almost like a personal experiment to see how the world treats someone who looks different – even if a simple haircut was the only difference in me.
Scott and I were taking the train back to DFW airport the morning after the party. I decided against wearing a hat and waited for him in the lobby for about 20 minutes (because I was early, not because he was late).
A lot of folks were passing by and most of them were staring when they didn’t think I could see them… I could.
It was kind of a weird feeling like if you were wearing shorts and a t-shirt at a formal event.
While I was with Scott for the train ride and in the line for security at the airport I didn’t notice that slight discomfort. Maybe that was because I was tied up in conversation or because I was no longer alone.
Is it less awkward for people to see you have a Mohawk when you have company with you?
Scott and I went our separate ways and I waited for my flight at my terminal. Back to the same noticeable stares going on.
I’m not sure how J. Money deals with this… maybe he doesn’t notice or enjoys it. Either way, it was a weird feeling.
Here’s where it gets interesting. I think I have a pretty good balance of knowing when to be an extrovert and when to just blend in. I have no problems striking up conversations and making small talk with folks wherever that might be… and that includes being on an airplane.
However, this time around, I couldn’t get more than a “hi” out of people before they quickly put on their headphones or picked up a book or magazine.
Funny, right? Not one thing changed about me except for my haircut, but that alone made all the difference in how people reacted to me.
The only person that talked to me at all was a woman with bleached white hair and long black fingernails… notice the commonality? I bet she’s used to the same ways of being treated.
So I learned a little bit of what J$ must go through. Granted, he carries himself a little different and people tend to easily draw to him, but I’m sure he gets a lot of stares on a regular basis.
Now for the fun…
While I was waiting for my suitcase to come out of the chute, I put on a cowboy hat that I had gotten as some free swag at the conference. I wanted to make sure to surprise my daughter and wife when they picked me up.
I knew Mrs. R2R would just look at me and say, “You look like an idiot.” while my seven-year-old daughter would love it.
Except I was wrong.
When I got in the car, my daughter made me take off my hat and just stared at me with her jaw dropped open and kept saying “What… what???!!”. When she finally got past that bout of surprise, she yelled, “You look like an idiot!”
All the while, my wife just couldn’t stop laughing. After a few minutes, she finally said “I kind of like it. If you cleaned it up a little bit, it might not be too bad.”
So now we know how well I know my family.
The good news is that tomorrow is Halloween and the day I go back to work. Considering I’m the only person at my office who dresses up every year, they might not be too surprised by it… well, ok, maybe a little!
But at least I’ll be able to use that as an excuse as to why I did it because I can’t point to the J$ pics and risk losing my anonymity in the blogosphere.
I also know that I’m just going to keep it as is and let it grow out slowly. I’m not a Mohawk guy, but if people want to talk and stare in the meantime, let ’em! If J. Money can roll with it for years, I’m sure I can do it for a few weeks!!
On a final, completely irrelevant note, did you know that the keywords for J. Money” (“j money”) only has a suggested bid of 11¢ in the Google Keyword Planner for ads as of this writing? I feel bamboozled! I think he’s worth at least double that in the ad world! Try to optimize your content for that one, baby!!
So what do you think – how’s it look? Ever done anything fun (or stupid) like this that you want to admit to?
Thanks for reading!!