Soon after the publication of September’s guest column, blogger and regular reader Sasha Castel suggested that I do an essay on my beauty hints. But as I told her, that wouldn’t be much of a column because I honestly don’t have any other than “be scrupulously clean, wear your hair in an attractive style and pick clothes that flatter your figure and express your own personal style.” I know I’m very lucky in this respect, but I have excellent natural color so I don’t really require makeup unless I’m really dressing up; when I was working I never wore it unless the client was taking me out. And my hair…well, let’s just say it does what it likes anyhow and I’ve learned to live with that over the past 30 years. However, I suggested that SHE could write a beauty hints guest column…only she’s never been an escort, though she has been a mistress. Is that a kind of sex worker? Some say yes, some emphatically say no, and once again we see the absurdity of trying to draw arbitrary lines between natural female behaviors. Here’s her essay on how to be a good mistress…which not only serves as a worthy sequel to “Keep Doing What You’re Doing“, but also provides excellent advice for a courtesan, an escort with a treasured regular, or even (to a large degree) a wife whose husband fully supports her as mine does. So…what’s the real, substantive difference between these roles again? Why are some legal and some illegal? And how can any rational adult pretend that one is commendable, another is tolerable but the other constitutes “enslavement” or “crime”?
I didn’t set out to become a mistress. I met the man in question (I’ll call him Carlos) in the course of my job. He was well-known, one of the most recognized and praised opera singers in the world. We spoke, liked each other, and went out to dinner. Shortly thereafter, we went to bed, and I became “The Other Woman”. I didn’t want to marry Carlos, just enjoy his company while he was in town. He favored me with meals, drinks, occasional gifts, and most importantly, knowledge and wisdom. I learned a great deal about the music business from him, which served me well in my career. I also learned about being a mistress. Unfortunately, I can’t give advice on how to find a man (on both occasions that I’ve been a mistress, it just happened), although it behooves you to appear nicely dressed and groomed if you’re in the market. But if you do become someone’s mistress, here are seven guidelines that will make the affair a good one, for you and for him.
1. Be available.
If he calls you, go to him. In this situation, your needs are subordinate to his. What a terribly retrograde statement, but true. He is providing the material goods while you are providing the companionship; you can’t do that from a distance. Be with him as often as he wants you to be; if this doesn’t sit well with you, reconsider your position. If it’s a position of equality you want, become someone’s girlfriend rather than a mistress.
2. Be discreet.
Resist the temptation to blab to friends about your hot and powerful new lover. You don’t want to become the object of gossip, and you don’t want to cause problems with his marriage. Use a pseudonym when referring to your dates, and also when storing his number in your mobile phone. Avoid being photographed together. If you wear perfume, apply it with discretion or forego it altogether to avoid olfactory traces left behind. Be certain that all the jewelry and accessories you arrived with are with you as you leave. If you attend events together, and someone introduces you as “Mrs. Carlos”, don’t contradict, just smile and say “how do you do”.
3. Be safe.
Birth control is mandatory, obviously. The Pill or other hormonal methods are best. If you need to take other drugs while on the Pill (especially antibiotics) be aware that they reduce the Pill’s effectiveness, sometimes to catastrophic effect. Make certain you have a clean bill of sexual health before commencing sex; you don’t want to give him (or his wife) an STI. If you are having other sexual relationships at the same time (not recommended), be sure to use a condom, correctly and regularly, to prevent disease transmission. Understand that some STIs like herpes and HPV can still be transmitted through genital contact without penetration.
4. Be fun.
Get into his interests, or take up one of his hobbies, so you can have dates without necessarily involving sex. He’ll be pleased at your enthusiasm, and it takes away some of the pressure on him to perform like a sexual Superman at every encounter.
5. Be caring.
If he doesn’t want to go out, stay in. If he’s sick, take care of him. If he’s craving a food, cook it for him. And above all, LISTEN. I think that just as much as sex, what I provided for Carlos was a sympathetic ear to unburden himself. I listened. In fact, if I were to name the number-one most important quality in a mistress, it would be the ability to listen. Listen to your man, try and understand his problems, offer solutions if they occur to you, but mostly just allow him to speak his mind in a way that he can’t do with his wife. Your empathy and perspective will be as valuable to him as your sexual talents, perhaps more.
6. Be sexy.
Of course, this is the crux of the matter. If he wants to play, do it. He may have secret kinks he’s not comfortable sharing with his wife; indulge them. Does he want to role-play? Tie you up? Have a threesome? Be spanked? If it can be done safely and doesn’t repulse you or harm you, make his fantasies come true. Naturally, the usual rules of sex play apply: sane, safe and consensual. The only fantasy I’d hesitate to enact is any sort of public sex fetish, for purely practical reasons; exposure is not at all sexy.
7. Be realistic.
When it’s over, it’s over. Don’t try to hang on past the affair’s natural life. Enjoy what you had and move on. For the love of all that’s holy, don’t threaten him with exposure if he doesn’t continue seeing you. That’s psycho behavior, and it won’t make him like you: it will have quite the opposite effect. Keep the memories happy, and let him smile privately whenever he thinks of you.
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