Reading this story about Herman Cain’s kept woman made me feel bad for her. I can tell you what it feels like as a struggling single mom with two young kids to have your landlord offer to “forget about the rent” if you’d just be “nice” to him. Maybe if he hadn’t been such a disgusting pig, I might have been tempted. But probably not.
That sort of thing was never an option for me. I wouldn’t dream of it. I dated guys with money, too, men who wanted to help; I didn’t let them. I didn’t want anyone to have something to hold over me.
I suppose it helped that I never felt the same pressure to give my kids status symbols that many women do. I kept a roof over their heads, food on the table and plenty of books in the house. I did the best I could, and that had to be enough.
I also dealt with a couple of evictions and bankruptcy. (I wasn’t very good with money when I struck out on my own. I wasn’t even aware that bills arrived on the same day each month, so you could plan.) It wasn’t easy, but I kept my sense of humor and eventually pulled my financial act together.
Luckily for me, I had a couple of good friends who loaned me money at critical junctures, but they were never men. Again: Unthinkable to me.
But reading this, I can understand how trapped she felt, an intelligent and hard-working person who never seemed to be able to keep herself afloat for very long.