Re: Fly whores?
I can relate to that, I used to tie and sell a few dozen dry flies years ago in order to gather funding for capes. Not many, but I did them up like you couldn't find at the shops and I got top dollar for them.
As for the concept of spending our lives at the bench........ nah, an hour here an hour there is all it has ever taken me to keep an inventory way beyond my needs. I got my tying kit when I was thirteen and once I began catching Bluegills, chubs, and then trout on my own creations I have had trouble using store bought flies. I will use a fly tied by a friend (now I get them in swaps) but the rest are from my vise.
Unless you have some condition that would stop you from learning to tie flies I believe the practice completes your indoctrination into the cult of fly fishermen. In the years I've spent winding materials onto hooks I have tied flies from the lowly Bi Visible to Rogans' Royal Ghost, and the spirit of all those who have gone before me lives on through those works.