Yeah, I actually went through a stage where I thought the most expensive gear was best and had to have it. I have owned everything from Sage XP to Winston WT's and top of the line Orvis, G loomis, and others.
I have also owned some pretty expensive reels.
While these items have their place, I found that as a poor single dad, I would end up having to sell them to pay those bills that got neglected in order to buy them anyway. Also, I think my skills have improved enough that I can lower end equipment with just as much success.
One of my absolute favorite rods is a Cabelas Traditional 8.5 foot 5 wt. that I bought for $60. This rod has beautiful action and I just truly enjoy casting it. I guess it is just a matter of taste (and budget) but I can't fathom spending that kind of money any longer.
Oh, and as far as us being funny? You should try and look past our facial features and see the beauty of our souls.