Why The Mistress Story Never Gets Old

Yet another story of a hot young thing who dated older married men for the "lifestyle" they provided her prompts us to ask: what is our obsession with mistresses?

Cathrine Goldstein, who tells her story in the NY Post today, looks extremely pleasant, like the pretty mom in a car commercial. And her story is pretty banal — she was a young aspiring model who wanted to go to nice restaurants, they were older married men who wanted sex and arm candy ("discreetly, of course"). There's no discussion of kinky preferences, trips to Monaco, or gorgeous kept-woman boudoirs — in fact, what's most interesting about the piece is its discussion of the limitations of mistresshood. Goldstein's "boyfriends" (as she sometimes, but not always, thought of them) couldn't buy her too much at once or their wives would find out, and they wouldn't let her wear perfume or heavy lipstick that might come off on them. One made her take off an angora sweater because he was worried his wife would find the fibers on his suit. And despite her dalliances with wealthy men, Goldstein spent her time as a sugar baby mostly broke.

With a few exceptions, most people who have been the Other Woman (in a secret affair, not an acknowledged poly relationship) describe it as stressful and difficult. So why does the ideal of The Mistress continue to hold such allure? Why did Goldstein get a book deal and an article in the Post? Part of it must be the idea that the paramour of a wealthy man leads a glamorous sex-kitten lifestyle — an idea that Goldstein partly, but not completely, dispels. Part of it, too, may be the idea that the mistress-married guy relationship is somehow easy — that when you take commitment out of the equation, it must be all sex, fun, and fancy jewelry, with no messy emotions. Goldstein seems not to have gotten too invested in any of her married men, but she does describe her disappointment when a guy would leave to spend the weekend with his family — "those were the moments when I'd remember, 'Oh, I'm not a girlfriend. I'm just a mistress.'"

It may be, too, that the archetypal Mistress excites because she leads her life in a way that's stereotypically male — she's acquisitive, she doesn't care about commitment, and she loves sex. Really, that last bit is key — the Mistress Story is supposed to be a story about hot, forbidden fucking. What the Post is selling when it publishes someone like Goldstein is a fantasy woman — hot, horny, unscrupulous, and covered in diamonds — and a fantasy relationship — dangerous and taboo, yet also easy and uncomplicated. The fact that Goldstein's piece doesn't actually live up to these fantasies very well is a clue to how illusory they are — affairs get messy, people have feelings, and sugar daddies won't let you wear your angora sweater.

Confessions Of A Serial Mistress [NY Post]