Confessions of a Mistress: Cathrine Goldstein Spills About Her Decade As a Kept Woman
Before the kids, the husband and the house in Long Island, Cathrine Goldstein, controversial author of Sleeping with Mortals: The Story of a New York Mistress, was a bad girl.
A young beauty queen from the Middle of Nowhere, USA, she hit the big city at 18 craving a lifestyle she could not afford. Just what would it take to dine at Le Cirque?
You've heard this story so many times you can fill in the blanks by yourself. She meets wealthy older men, they throw jewels at her, she throws orange peels at them, and voila! Happily ever after in a Park Avenue penthouse whose rent is paid in cash.
That's where you're wrong...
It didn't take long for Cathrine, or her alter-ego in her new book, Victoria Messing, to realize the harsh realities of mistress life. Which is a good thing, because the normal shelf-life of these women isn't more than age 24 or so.
"You feel like a goddess, seducing these men. But you quickly realize that you're no more important than a blow-up doll," she writes.
The first thing that Cathrine wants you to know is that she is sincerely sorry for any harm her young dalliances may have caused. The second thing is that she was not targeting married men per se. "To get that lifestyle you need a certain aged man," she confesses.
Finally, Cathrine places herself on a rather modest spot on the femme fatale continuum. On an escalating stiletto-heel graph, Cathrine may not have been the wife, but she was no prostitute either.
Those ladies made way more than she did.
If anything, Cathrine's book exposes the modern, Manhattan man who has everything. And yes, some of them used to expose themselves to her. Read on.
MyDaily: Why did you choose to do this when you moved to NYC? Why not just get a job?
I did have jobs! Many of them. But I was looking for a lifestyle that I could not attain for myself at the age of 18, 19 or 20. I didn't set out to become a mistress (unlike my character Victoria Messing!) I was attracted to older, wealthy, powerful men and the lifestyle of fine dinners and expensive cars that they could offer me. It just happened that some of the men I dated were married. And I did not date married men exclusively. I dated many single men as well.
It's a demure lifestyle. You are not leading this crazy lifestyle. You are committed to one man. He's careful about giving money. It's an ego thing -- to keep an eighteen-year-old happy. It's all a big fiction. Everything we did was living in fiction. A young woman is with him because he's so exciting? It's a huge misconception.
So how do men view the mistresses they're with?
Mistresses are not kept women. There are three categories of women: 1) girlfriends or wives, 2) mistresses, and 3) prostitutes. Men who deal with mistresses have the wives. They're often happy, just looking for an accessory. They've got the Hamptons house but want the next best thing. A young girlfriend. But they do not want a prostitute.
Did you ever think of the wives?
When I was very young the wives really never entered the picture. Most of the time if you are a mistress, the man has had a mistress before you and is an expert at keeping his life with you separate from his life with his wife and family.
The wife never comes up in conversation -- she is not talked about between the husband and mistress. Very often the man loves his wife! He is simply looking for the next possession -- he has the car and the houses -- the mistress is that next possession. Of course, I am sincerely sorry if my actions and the actions of the men I dated ever hurt anyone!
And let me also add -- many married men have wives who are fully aware that they have a mistress!
What does "kept" mean? What is the biggest financial windfall you ever got from one of the men?
Well I certainly wasn't kept! I needed to make my own money. Victoria writes her "rules" for being a mistress, and Number 4 on her list is "Be independently wealthy!" The big gifts are usually jewelry. Bracelets, not rings. The payoff is leading the lifestyle. One bracelet in particular, I was very surprised by its worth when I went to sell it. Victoria -- the character in my book -- the bracelet that she got was gaudy. She says, "But gaudy is not a synonym for cheap." Really it's more the intangibles. And it's exciting.
How would you feel if your daughters followed the same path?
Did I ever mean to hurt anyone? Of course not. If I did I'm extremely sorry. I did not break any laws nor make any vows. I was young and single. If it made her happy that would be something. It's not like being a prostitute. I would wish better for her, but it is not a path that you can't come back from.
How is hum-drum suburban Long Island life? Are you bored to tears?
It's the greatest thing I've ever known! So much more fulfilling. I was always looking for the next thing because I was never happy. When you do marry the right man and have your children, it's the greatest feeling in the world. I do miss an expensive meal out with my husband with babysitting!
What if your husband took a mistress?
It wouldn't be the happiest day of my life, but every good relationship is a leap of faith. I strongly believe that the men who cheat will cheat. It doesn't matter. And if your man is not a cheater, then he won't. They either are or aren't.
There is this idea of a woman who pulls a man away from his wife, and it's just not true. A man decides that he will cheat first and then finds a woman. Cheating would not be a dealbreaker for me. I know what I have, and I know what it's like to be on the other side. I know what's not there. You don't throw something real away.
Was the lifestyle dangerous at all? Were you ever caught or confronted by a wife?
No, I was not. The men are experts at this. They know how to wheel and deal. When you're uptown, they're downtown. When you're downtown, they're uptown...
When did you realize that you had seductive powers?
Victoria felt like Aphrodite. You feel like a goddess seducing these men, but you quickly realize you are no more important than a blowup doll. Women do not need to fear the mistress. They do not wield the power. You really don't have power. You think you do but you realize you can be traded in at a moment's notice. Victoria learns this, too. You are never the first. If a man tells you you're the first mistress, there's always more that have come before.
What's your favorite part of your book?
Well, a favorite line is when Victoria looks at Doctor Fifth Avenue and tells him she's nineteen. Not legally old enough to drink. Then she says, "I was suddenly aware that I was approximately as close to Pampers as he was to Depends."
Do you come from a religious background?
No, religion was not a part of my upbringing. But you take marriage vows before God and church. And those vows I take seriously.
Could you always write?
It kind of found me. I started in acting school and became a playwright and director. Then I had children. And then I realized that my story's time had come. It's time to write it.
What do you want to tell our readers?
First of all, there's this great book trailer on YouTube directed by Dante Russo, starring Cadden Jones as Victoria.
And I'd like to remind them that it is a fun read which is a work of fiction! It's important to know that I did not set out to hurt anyone. These are lessons learned by me and Victoria Messing. I sincerely believe that all women of all stages will enjoy this book. The book is meant to be fun. It's not meant to be a morality play. But it does have some truth behind it. It's a woven fabrication of many truths.
I blow the cover off this secrecy -- you think it's all glamorous, but it's really not.
Stephanie Block is an award-winning writer, editor, blogger, Tweetress and all around social media maven. She can toast and gamble in many languages and makes a career out of traveling and telling. Her global shopping secrets have been featured in Marie Claire magazine, and she's edited and contributed to books on travel and progressive politics. She was also almost eaten by a leopard in Tanzania. When she isn't sipping champagne on far-flung coasts or leaping away from leopards in Tanzania, Stephanie is proud to serve on the Board of Directors for SparkSF.org, JFNA's National Young Leadership Cabinet, and the Advisory Board of Netroots Nation. Her favourite colour (if we are being Euro about it) is pink.
We're looking for more tales from real-life mistresses: Have you ever been a mistress? Or found out your husband had one? If so, we'd love to hear all about it. MyDaily will be publishing true-life stories in (dubious) honor of National Mistress Day, February 13th, and yours could be one of them. Click here to find out more.
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