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Friday, July 19, 2019


Three is still a crowd


The other woman is a partner who knows how to live, strings-not-attached, but is still second fiddle
VIVEK ASRI | Issue Dated: May 13, 2007
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Three is still a crowd A visit to the harem was always more refreshing and rejuvenating for the king than an entire night spent in the queen’s chamber. The reason? A mistress is sex and pleasure, without baggage. And men, whether kings, princes or our more modern counterparts, just want to unwind and relax and not to listen to the endless nagging of their wives. In contemporary parlance, a mistress is “an item for life”. The unwritten rule goes; marriage is never going to be on the cards. Having a mistress has been an ancient practice and it has come to be seen as something understandable, if not acceptable. A mistress is seen as a mystery woman, teasingly seductive, openly provocative and irresistibly alluring. Her aura has always intrigued men and they have been all too glad to oblige, to explore and to live their lives, literally to the hilt!

Also known as “kept woman”, or the “‘other woman”. A mistress maybe looked after financially, emotionally and of course, physically, almost as much as the wife. But there still remains a big difference between the two. A mistress has an added qualification of being the “forbidden fruit” and hence, always the more attractive option. Men tend to think of a wife as a conventional partner, who believes that sexual intercourse is essentially meant for procreation, than enjoyment. The mistress believes the reverse to be true.

Mythology is replete with mistresses, both divine and mortal. The presence of consorts has added many a glamorous chapter to history. There have been powerful mistresses who were instrumental in changing the course of history and ruled with authority. NoorJahan, one of the many but certainly the most powerful, virtually ruled from behind the purdah. The list of celebrity mistresses is rather a long one, like Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of King Louis XV of France, and Marion Davies, the lifelong mistress of William Randolf Hearst, the king of newspapers in his time and among the wealthiest men of the world. Even Marliyn Monroe is said to have lived as a mistress. Camilla Parker Bowles had a 30-plus-year relationship with Prince Charles. She, in a way, inherited the role of a royal mistress from her great grandmother Alice Keppel, the mistress of Edward VII, the great grand father of Prince Charles.

The modern day mistress, however, refuses to be cowed down by the baggage of conventions. Love cannot be confined in a relationship. It knows no age and it certainly means freedom. “If an arrangement outside marriage makes me and my lover happy, what’s the problem?’’ asks Kiran (name changed), who shrugged off a messy marriage and is dating a rich shiekh from Dubai. “You may see me in the position of a mistress but I am thoroughly enjoying the relationship, there is so much more space in it. And it’s not clandestine either.” She adds. The woman of the 21st century is very clear about her relationships. The slogan is: to enjoy and not to suppress one’s sexuality. There are some women, who do not fancy the position of a mistress and opt to have relations with unmarried men.

The fact of the matter is, the mistress is here to stay. With a conservative state such as China openly acknowledging the need for a second wife, and going to the extent of officially protecting the rights of a mistress, times are changing for sure.
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017