1. A woman who is given a home and money by a man who she has a sexual relationship with.
2. Lover. A significant other to whom you are not related by marriage.
3. Paramour. A woman who cohabits with an important man.
Syn: Mistress. Courtesan.
Writing this, I had to spend a few minutes remembering how I first met him. Then I remembered. How could I forget this debacle? We had a mutual friend, Jade, who wanted to try a threesome. She had enlisted both of us separately. We had never met. I had absolutely zero interest in expanding my sexual play, but she begged, and I agreed.
One sunny afternoon, while the rest of the world was working in cubicles or on the phone in their cars, high up in the winding neighborhoods of Beverly Hills, the three of us met in a home that I can only describe as… big. Jade had money and had invested well in this prime piece of real estate above Sunset Boulevard. On a tour, I found it fascinating that it had two levels each with an identical floor plan. I was thinking to myself that two families could live there and never run into each other. And the view. Smoggy, but a breathtaking vista.
But I’m not really writing about the view. I’m writing about him. Jade was exotically beautiful and sexy as hell. But, him. He was big screen gorgeous and oozed old money. I could tell this by his impeccable attire and the Jaguar in the driveway.
He had sea blue eyes that looked rimmed in brown liner. I got lost in them. Utterly lost. He had light brown hair with a clearly expensive cut, the requisite California tan, and a lean, tight body. Hard to admit he was prettier than me.
I knew I was going to see a lot more of that body very soon. Perhaps Jade might get an urgent phone call and have to leave. She was now stiflingly in my way.
Jade led us to the lower house level into one of the bedrooms. Now, I would love to tell you at this point that Jade’s fantasy threesome was the best ever. No. It was a fail for me because I faked it for her. But not for him. Oh no, not for him.
I gave him as much as I could without shoving Jade off the bed with my free leg. And I KNEW he was into me as much as I was into him. Hotness. Sublime hotness. Poor Jade. Her ménage had become a triage.
Afterward, we dressed awkwardly and got ready to leave. I figured him for being in his 40s. I was 21. I have a photo of me standing in front of Jade’s house that day. I come across it now and then and look at myself and think, God, you were such a child! But he asked me for my number right in front of a suddenly frosty Jade, and I thought I might melt into a puddle on her kitchen floor.
Sorry, Jade, I faked it for you–this is my reward.
Not long afterward, he called. I died a little inside and answered with a breathy hello. This man knew exactly what he wanted, although I did not. He asked if I would meet him for lunch. Why yes, yes I would. Vanity thy name is mine, and it took me hours to put together just the right ensemble to wear. I was so out of his world. We met at an old, established Beverly Hills restaurant. Of course they knew him. Of course.
We made small talk over cocktails. For me, he ordered a Dubonnet and soda without asking. He ordered Scotch for himself. Of course he did. My watered down version of a cocktail loosened me up a bit, and I was less anxious and more assured of myself.
He ordered lunch for both us, and I began to recognize a theme that either a) he did not care what I wanted to eat or drink, or b) what the hell did it matter.
After lunch, a proposal came from him that I was quite unprepared for. To state it mildly. Flabbergasted, overwhelmed, incredulous–yes, those words would have worked. Keep in mind I was 21 years old. I am from a small town in Arizona, and although sexually experienced, I did not know or understand every variation or nuance. It was likely 20 years later I heard the term BDSM.
This proposal was not about BDSM.
He asked me if I would be interested in living in an apartment he owned. He would pay all of my living expenses–including food, clothes–anything I wanted. His offer included accompanying him on occasion for business travel. At this point, I was just trying to maintain a listening face. My head was spinning with: For real? Why me? Who DOES this? Why would you want to do this?
The caveat landed. “And you would see me exclusively.”
He told me to consider everything he had said and that we would meet again to talk about it. He did not offer me his phone number, which clinched for me my assumption he was married.
I drove home in a daze—a Dubonnet, proposal, and reality check daze. I did not have anyone I could talk to about this. This thing. This thing that just happened. I only had a few friends in California, and I wasn’t even sure myself about the appropriateness of this offer, much less explain it to someone else. So I drove my little VW Bug home to my second-floor studio off Fountain in West Hollywood. Too close to Van Ness to be considered any neighborhood worthy of note.
Who was I kidding? My life at that time was hitting the clubs on Sunset or parties with friends nearly every night and waking up hungover and going to a job I hated. Trading this for a life of what appeared to be luxury and sleeping with a man I was carnally attracted to?
With all of the experience and short-sightedness, my 21-year-old self could be capable of, I said, “Yes, please.”
The life of a Kept Woman, there is even a name for it, began in a whirlwind of everything brand new. The one bedroom apartment was in Westwood, walking distance to UCLA and downtown. I took a few classes at the university. He rented some furniture to go with what little I had so the apartment began to have a homey feel. It was a cozy little life. After an amount of time, it was as if I had a part-time husband who would come home at a regular time on certain days of the week—only this pretend husband went home. Perhaps lover might be a better description.
Our sexual attraction knew no bounds. It was crazy play. We were both completely uninhibited. I had always been this way; this hypersexuality was my normal. In retrospect, I believe it had to have been his core attraction to me.
He could have had anyone in his bed, but he had chosen me. As Los Angeles was then, and is now, a haven for preternaturally beautiful, mostly blonde women. I was brown-haired, Arizona girl pretty, but nowhere near their game.
We had long conversations lying in bed. About life, the Dodgers, his dreams, my dreams, and we spent a great amount of time just staring at each other, as the newly smitten do. But we were not smitten with each other. We were smitten with the arrangement. It worked for both of us. Sometimes he would come over in the middle of the day, leaving his office for a business meeting, no doubt. These afternoons were the height of decadence and held the thrill of secrecy. In some ways, my sex life with him was so much more fulfilling than past boyfriends. But what did I know? I was 21.
There were some firsts. For me, anyway. He introduced me to the wide variety of sex toys available. I will be forever grateful to him for gifting me a small vibrator. Who knew of such self-pleasure appliances? Certainly not me. Once on a business trip, we brought a small cache with us for hotel room play. When we checked out, I asked him what he wanted me to do with this booty. He abruptly said just to get rid of it. Get rid of it? Like in the trash? Being very resourceful, I decided the best place to ditch the toys was under the mattress. God only knows why. But I still smile thinking of the person who changed the sheets and found our x-rated stash.
There were many secrets.
He had to be anonymous. He owned a large family business in Beverly Hills. His last name was generations old and quite well known. I was fairly discreet in the building, with the exception of two young couples down the hall from me who were determined to make friends with me. I would politely decline their invitations to do most anything, but I did cave in and went to a few dinner parties. My cover was UCLA student although I doubt they ever believed it.
I had a great time shopping at Century City and occasionally in Beverly Hills—Pretty Woman style. But after awhile, these solo shopping excursions became kind of lonely. Currently, I love the solace of a solitary life. At 21, I wanted friends to share my good fortune with.
I will admit to having feelings for him which grew as time went on. This was very much against the unwritten rules, and I never dared to tell him how I felt. It would be futile, anyway, as the delineations of the arrangement were crystal clear.
“And when her old man comes to call
He finds her waiting like a lonesome queen
‘Cause to be by her side it’s such a change from old routine
But the other woman will always cry herself to sleep
The other woman will never have his love to keep.”
~Lana Del Rey, The Other Woman
What’s love got to do with it?
My kept woman status lasted one year until the 22-year-old me decided I valued freedom over the churrigueresco lifestyle. It was time to drive away in my VW Bug and reclaim my West Hollywood bohemian territory.
Amazingly, we remained friends for many years, which did include a tryst or two, just for old time’s sake. I have lived a life with no regrets—especially for the year I was The Kept Woman. Now it’s become just another tale filed away with my LA Stories.
But those eyes. Damn that man was hot.
Photo: ©Dori Owen All Rights Reserved