What is a Mistress?
A mistress is the long time partner and lover of a man who is in a legal marriage to someone else. The mistress is the 'other woman'. The mistress will usually be supported wholly or in part by her lover and may bear and rear his children.
The mistress is not a prostitute in as much she is loyal to her supporter and is not usually 'available' to another man. She is in reality another wife, albeit unmarried and without legal redress.
The King's mistress's bed
The term 'mistress' would not be applied to a girlfriend of short duration or a one night stand. A Mistress is a long term commitment. The word has been loosely used for the procession of young women who had short term sexual liasons with the golfer Tiger Woods in return for infamy and gifts. Without the long term support these young women are best described using other words.
Prior to the easing of divorce laws in the 20th Century the keeping of a mistress was extremely common by men who were in a position to maintain one. Many US Presidents have maintained one. Today the Western mistress is becoming something of a rarity. A man today is more like to divorce an re-marry than to maintain two women. High class courtesans and Rent A Dates are readily available to provide a sparkle to the love life if required. Some men, like Prince Charles of England do eventually marry their mistresses.
Within the West the word 'mistress' has changed its meaning in recent years and is now more popularily applied to those prostitutes who specialise in the dominatrix field.
In France, the Mistress is still an accepted norm and also in countries like Thailand (lesser wife 'Mia Noi'), the Philippines (where divorce is difficult) and China.
The Mistress is not going to go away in a hurry. It is possible for a man to love more than one woman and without wanting to hurt his wife, maintaining a mistress may seem like a solution to a very sticky problem.... and then it has worked successfully for thousands of years.
Some Famous Mistresses
Ann Boleyn to Henry VIII of England
Lillie Langtry to Edward VII of England
Marilyn Monroe to John Kennedy
Gennifer Flowers to Bill Clinton
Wallis Simpson to Edward VIII of England
Alice Glass to Lyndon Johnson
There are hundreds of them.....
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