Mistress… Curiously this word rhymes with stress, underlining the fact that a liaison can indeed be very stressful.

I recently read in AARP magazine an article by Joe Queenan called “Men who don’t cheat”.

Here is an excerpt:

“Men like to plop down on the couch and watch sports and drink beer. Romance, by contrast, is labor-intensive; you have to shower, shave, put on something other than sweatpants, buy flowers, go to the movies, read a book every once in a while, engage in a conversation.
Cheating on your wife involves travel, dinner reservations, booking hotel rooms. Once a man has been married a few decades, the energy he would need to expend on an extramarital affair would be a life-threatening shock to his nervous system. That’s why so many older men wouldn’t even think of cheating on their wives. It is too exhausting.”

This is true. For some men (just like some dogs) the chase is way more exciting than the catch. Once they have caught their prey, they quickly lose interest in it.

“Next to the pleasure of finding a new mistress is that of being rid of an old one.”  William Wycherley

The pursuit is often a way to reassure an aging person that he is still a “player”; that he still can please and seduce.

But for a married man, keeping a mistress is a luxury that few can afford. It is time-consuming and costly. And with the advent of the tell-all smartphone, it has become increasingly difficult to keep an affair under wraps.

An older man falling prey to middle-aged lust is better off using the services of an “escort” (love those euphemisms) than making a Faustian pact.

Having a mistress is definitely a young man’s game. He has the energy and the naivety to propel him forward. The possibility of getting caught never crosses his mind. But caught he will be, because leading a double life is an exhausting enterprise, requiring superior fibbing capabilities and above average stamina.

When engaging in amorous pursuit, it is much wiser to stick with unattached people rather than diddling with tethered femmes fatales.


What is a Mistress? Something between a mister and a mattress. Jim Backus

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