When you hold a student loan large enough to cancel out third-world debt and regularly wear second-hand clothes, it’s not unusual to dream up ways to improve your financial lot. Some women fantasize about a rich Prince Charming sweeping them off their feet, but I’ve never been one to imagine romance as a means to financial success. Women who use sex to lure the wealthy have always seemed to me like swindlers who disgrace the female gender and kill the spirit of love.
Then along came a man who said those four little words every woman supposedly wants to hear. “Can I keep you?”
I met the Professor, a political science scholar and ‘60s era activist, years ago at an academic conference. He was a lanky man with bulbous eyes, a silver mane of oddball-academic hair and a slobbery old guy mouth he kept dabbing with a handkerchief. Not exactly Robert Redford in a tux. My hunch said the Professor harbored a crush, but considering that age-wise, there were five presidential administrations and one world war separating us, I assumed he’d be content with friendship.
Over time, we shared sporadic emails about the plight of the world’s oppressed people, and the occasional dinner when he was in town. Then one night, he popped the question. We were eating at a restaurant at the Sheraton where he was staying for the weekend. Two minutes after we’d finished a debate about whether feminism is a legitimate political movement (he didn’t think so) the Prof said, “I invited you out tonight because I have a proposition. I want a relationship with you.
Yes, there’s an age difference, and I know you’re hoping to have a meaningful relationship with a man your age, but I wouldn’t place any restrictions on you. When I’m in town, I’d simply like someone to spend time with, someone to sleep with. I may be old, but I still know how to please a woman.” My first instinct was to hurl and make a run for it, but the Prof was staring back at me with wet, lonely eyes.
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