One of the odd financial aspects of city living is that housing usually costs a lot. It costs enough to scare most people into the suburbs. The offset, however, is that most other expenses – transportation, groceries, general services you might pay for, entertainment – are often lower than their suburban counterparts. Most of this is competition leveling the field, and less cost involved in the to-and-from.
San Francisco’s grade, especially in light of recent abusive gentrification, is especially steep. I am paying quadruple rent than I am on the mortgage for my townhouse in Minnesota. I also have less space, less privacy, and I know have to share a garage with 3-6 surfers who, while kind-spirited are also at times typical dah-headed college boys that forget I need to be able to get in and out of my car.
On the other hand, services I usually skipped in Minneapolis because of the expense – mani/pedis, massage, facials – are ridiculously affordable here. Every few feet on Geary has yet another salon or parlor. There are two caveats with this abundance, however:
1)Hairstyling is absurdly expensive – an average price of $60 in most salons. So I hike it to the Financial District and go to the Cinta Aveda school for hair care. I noticed another such school in SOMA, so I may try that for a new experience sometimes.
2)Massage is tricky. I’ve heard hearsay that human trafficking in massage parlors is a huge issue in most massage parlors. I’ve also known women who were 100% willing to work as happy-ending masseuses. According to my source (who has no reason to visit such places) the ones with shades that even block off the lobby are the questionable ones. The cold Machiavellian part of me wants to start reporting the ones I come across just because it would free up some housing. The ghost of splooge is a lot easier to clean up than the remains of a destitute Scientologist. But this also means that I have to quietly ask around when I see the super cheap foot-and-body $45 massages advertised. Believe me, after the last year, I could use some pleasure massage.
If desperate enough, I may actually use pendulum dowsing to determine the illegal from the legal massage parlors. The last thing I want is a “no, that part is perfectly comfortable, thank you,” conversation. (Dowsing would be a last resort, should I never find a Yelp-after-dark type site to corroborate business names.)