Orgasm and the Successful Straight Woman, Part II

Apropos of my earlier post, my friend, Kathy, sent me this article, which I found very disturbing. It’s by journalist Vicky Ward, though it sounded a bit like Candace Bushnell, and was in the Financial Times. She basically says that highly successful men — at least of the business variety — do not want careerist women, or even women with any sense of self. Rather, they need handmaids who, while glamorous and intelligent, exist to cater to their every need, like a mommy or personal servant:

“He wanted someone who was smart enough to read him, in the same way every top-level executive needs a personal assistant smart enough to know, instinctively when to speak, when to stay away and when to put the call through. . . He needed this person to run his life seemlessly so that his time would never be wasted with menial tasks like reading an electric bill, packing a suitcase or instructing the staff. . . He needed someone glossy enough to reflect his glory and power but clever enough to know not to outshine him. She needed to know when to chatter away charmingly and when to shut up … ”

So, a successful businessman needs a wife who’s smart, sophisticated and glamorous but who will completely subjugate her every will and desire to him. Just when I was asking myself whether we were living in 2006 or Jane Austen times, when women were educated simply for the purpose of obtaining a man, and what kind of woman intelligent, educated and cultured enough for these men would actually be interested in landing such a child-husband, Ward announces that these women so subject themselves because they’ve presumably signed pre-nups and know they will be left with only $5 million and an apartment, which is nothing here, “since Manhattan for single women over 40 can be a brutal place.”

This remark makes me think the article is a joke. Kathy says it’s not. But, I mean Ward has to be saying that tongue-in-cheek, right? Does she really think the city is brutal for women over 40 or for those who have only $5 million? Or, am I just so poor that I have no idea what’s at stake for those accustomed to having five houses, their own jet, and a full help staff?!

Ha ha, it’s funny because, in looking for a link to Bushnell, I found this interesting article which half confirms and half provides a counter-point to Ward.


  1. I used to work in consulting, and the partners in our firm were definately living the high-powered executive lifestyle, and most of them were on their 2nd marriage (at least) Of the ones who were happy in their marriages, there was a definate pattern:

    All of their spouses were very driven, smart and successful, but none of them worked in the “business world”. The partner who I worked under, her husband owned a fly fishing shop. Other partners were married to artists, caterers, all kinds of small business owners.

    I think there is the potential for a lot of stress when you put tow executive types together, both traveling all the time, etc. But successful people do want successful partners I think, it’s just easier when you’re not measuring yourselves on the same yardstick.

  2. Hi Natalia — thanks for your insight! It does make a lot of sense — and makes me feel a lot better 🙂

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