The other day my cousin Angela wrote to say, while attending a performance of La Boheme, she had met a man during intermission. This is how it came about. Angela is an opera fan and with nobody to accompany her, she had decided to go alone. During intermission while ordering a glass of white wine, an attractive older gentleman approached her and asked her how she enjoyed the show. She detected an accent and asked if he was a visitor to her city. She discovered he was Italian, a maestro with an Italian symphony. My cousin speaks some broken Italian which is aided by the fact that her father is Italian and therefore Angela has an Italian surname as well as given name. He seemed quite taken by her. It’s amazing how much can be said and the connections you can make during a short intermission. He gave her his card, asked her to email him any time she wanted. When next she finds herself in Rome, he would be pleased to show her around.
This gentleman is at least twenty years her senior so chances are he’s married with a family. Becoming his girlfriend or mistress is really the best she can hope for. Or not. Maybe he is divorced – he did not wear a wedding ring, after all. Maybe he never married. Or maybe he’s gay. That would change everything.
That got me thinking – what is better – to be a wife or a mistress? Let me see. A wife usually implies a family, inlaws, school, noise, bills. A mistress implies gold lame pyjamas, romantic dinners, hot sex, quiet togetherness. Men of means often opt for both. Of course he wants a family, especially sons, to carry on the “name” and traditions. But for interludes that nourish the soul, there is nothing like a good mistress.
So, which would I opt for given the opportunity? I don’t know. I should think it would depend on the man. If I were to be someone’s mistress and not having the financial security that marriage brings, I would want expensive gifts, and I don’t mean just jewelry and furs but real estate and blue chip stock. After all, I would know that as my beauty fades or he becomes bored, I will probably be replaced by a younger version.
I relayed that thought to Angela. I wonder what she will decide to do.