Archive for July 17th, 2013

For the first time in my life, a man has is proffering me the opportunity you usually only read about:  not just becoming his mistress, but doing so with all the trappings.  Delightful traveling, charming bed-and-breakfast accommodations, wonderful lingerie and clothes, my own residence…This man isn’t Donald Trump, but it’s quite a step up from my usual.  He keeps telling me that spoiling me is what he enjoys.  I find it hard to take such generosity with the easy grace he’s clearly expecting.  Obviously, I don’t want to mess this up.  Any tips?

La Loge by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1874)Whatever you’re doing, he’s obviously happy with it, so my advice is that you keep doing it.  Now, that may seem as though I’m being a smart-ass, but I assure you I’m not; there are two ways women mess up gigs like this, and both of them involve trying to change the situation.  The first strategy for failure is to decide being a mistress isn’t good enough any more, and pushing him to leave his wife; the second is the same way wives mess it up, by assuming the man is “caught” and getting lazy.  Both errors result from exactly the same cause: a failure to understand the basis of the arrangement.  A married man who keeps a mistress is not interested in replacing the former with the latter; he has economic, social and emotional reasons for staying married, and the mistress is his means of making up whatever he feels is lacking in that relationship.  So if the mistress starts trying to undermine her gentleman’s marriage, or fails to provide whatever interested him in the first place, there is no reason for him to continue the arrangement and heartache, drama and scandal may follow.

What it boils down to is this: being “kept” is a job.  It may be a very nice, pleasant dream job with fantastic fringe benefits, but it is still a means of earning one’s keep, and it needs to be thought of that way.  You are following in the footsteps of the great courtesans of old, and you should take the best of them as role models.  Keep making your patron happy in the ways you know best, let him know you appreciate what he does for you in return, always make time for him when he calls, and above all else be discreet.  And as long as you keep in mind that even the most loving relationships have an economic basis, I think you’ll do just fine.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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