I recently watched a classic film, the 1958 “Gigi”, directed by Vincente Minelli (father of Liza), starring Leslie Caron in the title role. You may have heard its best-known song, “Thank Heaven For Little Girls.”
I had no idea it carried all the emotional richness of a rancher looking across a feedlot — the singer is an aging roue looking for the latest crop of fresh, desperate ingenues to seduce and abandon. Nice.
The story is the careful, deliberate grooming of Gigi, an impoverished Parisian turn-of-the-2oth-century teenager, teaching her the skills she’ll need to snag and keep a rich man’s attention: pouring tea, flattery, lighting his cigar, laughing prettily at his jokes.
It’s assumed she’ll never marry, but can, and must, ride the coat-tails of his wealth and generosity.
It’s based on a novel by Colette and portrays the world of the demimondaines, literally those living in the “half world”, women living by their wits, charm and beauty on the margins of polite, bourgeois society — the one in which men marry the right women and dally with the rest.
A new memoir, Sugarbabe, by Australian writer Holly Hill, describes her own life in this world.
From Random House’s website:
“Attractive, professional, well-spoken, well-dressed 35-year-old woman seeks sugar daddy. I live in Darlinghurst on a 17th floor unit with fantastic skyline views to the harbour. The unit also features very discreet and secure undercover guest parking. I am looking for exclusivity so will (theoretically) be available to you 24 x 7. I am single and don’t have any children. I am also a fabulous cook and can provide gourmet meals should you require them. I am a qualified psychologist so I make an excellent listener, and I have a great love of conversation. I have also worked for many years in public relations so am a clever, charming companion in just about any situation. I love sex. I will require a generous weekly allowance in return for all of the above”.
Holly Hill (pseudonym) gave up her job at the behest of her wealthy boyfriend – and then found herself dumped and penniless. After spending six weeks in bed pining for her lost love, she was encouraged by a friend to be ‘open-minded’ about her career choices – and ended up placing an online ad for a sugar daddy. She received an almost overwhelming response from all sorts of men, but most of them were married men whose wives had lost interest in sex.
As Holly interviewed the men and settled on a candidate, she decided to record what happened next. Those almost-daily observations became a journal documenting Holly’s extraordinary experiences – not just the men she meets, but the things she finds out about marriages, in particular, and what men need from them.
SUGARBABE is her real-life account of the emails, meetings, employment of and interactions with the applicants for the role, and the five men she eventually chooses (not all at the same time!).
Should women take guys for whatever they can get?
Gentlemen, how do you feel about women who survive largely on the generosity of wealthy men?