Has anyone else read the New York Observer cover story, “The Luxury Rental Girlfriend”? I read it over eggs and coffee this morning and will quite frankly lose my shit if none of you want to have a conversation about it. Here’s a link in case you haven’t read it–go on over, peruse, it’s a rather quick read. Please come back and then we can discuss it together.
For those of you who have already seen it/read it/made assessments based on the Instagram chronicling I couldn’t help but indulge between last night and this morning, let’s talk.
What’s that? You want me to go first? Okay!
Well, someone just pointed out (on Instagram, no less) that in the above illustration, the Luxury Rental Girlfriend, as they call her, looks rather bored, desensitized and unhappy. In reading the article though, it becomes quite obvious that the Girlfriend in question (an escort) is quite pleased with her vocation of choice–which brings me to my next point. Why isn’t this reporter, a fellow woman, trying harder to dig into the woman’s psyche? The thorough portrayal of why a man hires an escort is, I hate myself for saying this, conceivably sensible. She is the perpetual girlfriend, not the wife in training. (This, a most narrow partition. Is the supposition that if a woman is not training to become a wife, she is a prostitute?) Expectations are null and the outcome is always to the man’s benefit. As one such female of the night puts it, “women underestimate the importance of a night being over.” As the reporter puts it, the wife in training wants his mornings, the perpetual girlfriend only wants his nights.
But what compels a woman, any woman, to settle for an occupation so ephemeral, so besmirching, so downright regressive?
Am I being judgmental?
I think I can understand her present motivation. We’ve conditioned ourselves, after all, to exist in a world where sex is the x-factor–the sex-factor, if you will–and there is an indubitable emphasis on power at play. While the man may believe he’s more or less “winning,” the woman in this picture, much to the discontent of her contemporaries (us, I guess,) leaves unattached, unclogged, untangled. I’m not sure about you, but I have never in my life so much as kissed a man without almost immediately falling in love with him. Is there something to be said about her ability to detach heart from action and mine not to? You don’t have to answer that.
Eventually, will this woman want to aim for something more than artificial companionship (arguably ruining marriages–though only as an accomplice–in some instances) and a paycheck? And if she does, will she regret having accumulated a comprehensive roster of less-than dalliances?
On an even grander scale, there is the feminism question. As an institution, feminism is cryptic, difficult, and near impossible to unpack without at least someone getting upset. In fact, I’ve been reprimanded for calling myself one because if I were “really a feminist,” I would “reject fashion all together.” (The fact of the matter is, any woman in 2013 eager to share her opinion and have it heard has got to be something of a feminist.) But what does the perpetual girlfriend’s job, this article, and the mere fact that according to a statistic, one such erotic relationship-forging website garners over 350,000 visitors (not page-views) a day, say about the unanimous We?
W for women.
Maybe in the escort’s opinion, this is feminism. I don’t know; help me with this.
I’d wish you a happy Saturday but I’m pretty sure I just ruined it. (Sorry)