John Edwards’s Stylist Tells His Side of Story

On what must be a very slow news day, the Washington Post features a longish story on C1 about Joseph Torrenueva, the hair stylist at the heart of the story that won’t go away about John Edwards’ expensive haircuts.

It seems that Torrenueva is a very accomplished at his craft and has thus been sought out by the celebrities “from Marlon Brando to Bob Barker.” As such, demand is high and he can charge $175 for cuts done in the shop. He charges Edwards much more, varying from $400 to as much as $1250, because he has to travel and miss out on several $175 haircuts to accommodate Edwards’ campaign schedule.

For his part, Edwards — who is stinking rich and doesn’t pay his own bills, anyway — had no idea how much he had been paying and was embarrassed when the news came out. Consequently, he fibbed and downplayed the nature of his relationship with Torrenueva, dismissing him as “that guy” (Not to be confused with “that woman, Ms. Lewinsky”). This hurt Torrenueva’s feelings but he still likes Edwards, anyway.

As someone who wears his hair military short and seldom pays more than $20 for a haircut (and generally much less), I understand why people think the story’s funny. The video on the right is amusing despite the fact that most of us would look pretty funny if taped unawares while combing our hair.

Still, as an objective matter, Edwards can afford lavishly expensive haircuts and he’s got to look his best given that he’s a public figure who appears constantly on television. And, given the simple economics involved, the amounts in question are quite reasonable. (Again, I wouldn’t pay even the in-store rate of $175 for a haircut; but that’s what the man’s time is worth on the open market.)

There are plenty of reasons not to elect John Edwards president. Judging from the polls, the Democratic nominating electorate agrees. His hair care habits, however, are not among them.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Stormy70 says:

    This does make him look prissy, and will turn off lots of people in one of the two Americas.
    Plus, his campaign actually paid for these haircuts, from what I understand. The millionaire who starts a charity to keep his campaign staff paid for his next campaign deserves all the derision coming his way.

  2. William d'Inger says:

    There are plenty of reasons not to elect John Edwards president … His hair care habits, however, are not among them.

    B.S.! The guy’s campaign is heavily skewed to the idea that he empathizes with the poor. If he doesn’t even know what he pays for haircuts, it proves his campaign is all smoke and mirrors. That, in my opinion, is a very valid reason to deny him a vote, and it should be reported far and wide.

  3. carpeicthus says:

    I can’t believe how much play this is getting. Yes, the media is famous for stupid moments like this, and mentioning them again and again as asides, but it’s not like they kept running feature-length stories about Bush’s supposed scanner incident. The media isn’t liberal or conservative in the classic sense; it just sucks.

  4. G.A.Phillips says:

    Where in the Great Blue Hell are the profit Nazi’s on this one? Edwards was robbed, that was 12 dollar haircut if I ever saw one!

  5. jeff b says:

    He doesn’t “empathize” with the poor, he HELPS the poor. The way ultra-rich people — Carnegie, et al — used to do back when people had scruples.

    On the topic, I happen to think Edwards is a big faker, and using your campaign money to get a high dollar haircut does not reflect well on him.

  6. Andy says:

    Does Mitt Romney have his hair cut? Do they use lasers? Perhaps it is just frozen with some sort of nanotechnology.

  7. Chris says:

    Ten to One says if the truth come out on ALL of them gop or dem….They will be paying high dollar for EVERYTHING….I do NOT see anyone crying about Tom Delay staying in a race so he could keep the money to help pay for his DEFENSE on his charges. Hello, Wake up people, this is a dead issue. (and no I am not a supporter of this guy. Lets allow ALL of them to tell how much they spend for things such as haircuts or what have you….and while your at it, have them ALL PROVE they didn’t use Campig. Funds doing so. 100000000000000 To 1 says you wont find 1.