The murky world of the kept mistress is a hot bed of sleaze and decadence, or so we are always led to believe. Women who have made the unpleasant discovery that their husbands keep a mistress conjure up all manner of erotic fantasies of nights spent between satin sheets and being fed grapes in the bath.
The practical truth is that, more often than not, these men are being fed corn beef hash and fried potatoes because their wives will not allow them to eat it at home, preferring to feed the family a healthy menu. The same formula applies to everything else men seek from their mistresses; if they can not get it at home they will find it elsewhere.
A lady who has been a ghost mistress for years assures me that, now her boyfriend has topped sixty, he is quite happy to take long walks with her along the beach with the dog and have a pub lunch on the way home. The wife has never allowed him to keep a pet and the dog is the strongest bond of affection for him and his mistress. Sex does not interest either of them much any more but their relationship is quite solid, built on friendship and affection.
Wives certainly suffer a great deal of heartache when these discoveries are made, but mistresses are human too and more often than not these women are condemned out of hand for being immoral and licentious, without any real logic being applied to the facts of the matter. After all, it takes two to enter into such an arrangement and men seek company for a reason, one would think.
Holidays are lonely times for mistresses. The usual form is that these times are reserved for family commitments and the mistress is deemed to be over spoiled with attention at other times, so she spends Christmas, Easter and Valentines Day alone.
At these times it must be great to have the television remote all to yourself, the privacy and time to take a long soak in the bath and spend hours browsing through the shops without someone constantly tugging on your arm, reminding you that Match of the Day starts in twenty minutes. Not much of a substitute though for real family life.
The worst possible side to such relationships must of course be the fear of discovery, the hole and corner lifestyle such women are compelled to cope with. Imagine never being able to telephone your partner to tell him you feel ill, or ask his help in an emergency. How strange it must be to break down in the car and not be able to ring your partner to come and collect you, or to have nobody to visit you in hospital except for casual friends.
The life of a mistress certainly has advantages, the freedom from family commitments, the fancy clothes and impromptu holidays etc. However the disadvantages are extreme loneliness and isolation.