If I were to write a personal ad, it would read as follows:
Me – Landed English Lord with country estate. Brown. Green. 6′. 160. Athletic. Fit. Harrow and Trinity educated. Bi-curious hedonist. Will leave no sexual leaf unturned. Adores jet-setting playboy lifestyle. Broke as shit. Seeks wife with embarrassing amount of money and generous nature. In exchange for allowing me to continue exploring my sexuality and funding my extravagance, I will make you a COUNTESS!
You – See above re: wealth. A reasonable level of hygiene and fitness would be a bonus, but not required.
Contact Ollie for details.
In a perfect world, even broke, I’d be a catch. In the real world, I deflowered a princess, had an affair with a married woman – also a princess, caused two scandals, was dumped by my wealthy fiancée, made a fortune for the tabloids in sales, and, in essence, turned my name to mud. No decent woman would have me. In the pool of women that would normally be considered acceptable, I’m slime. They’ll fuck me in secret, but they’d rather wear polyester than marry me. If I had all the time in the world I could probably ride out the storm. But I don’t have time. I have taxes to pay on my estate and an empty bank account. The tax collectors have more control over my destiny than I do.
My lack of desirability does not change the fact I need a wife. One with lots of money. So I’ve had to expand my horizons. Go global.
In the 18th and 19th centuries English lords went to society for wealthy brides. Even the broke ones. They had the season. They went to balls, soirees, entertainments, the opera, and riding in the park in their best. The stuff of romance novels.
The 21st century has complicated things a bit. The roué of the 18th century didn’t have to contend with Google. Or Facebook. I despise Facebook. The instrument of my undoing. So what is a poor boy with only a title, two aging servants that insist on taking care of me, and a crumbling castle to do? We get creative. Just as those English lords that had to leave England and head to America did. We go global.
We hope the daughter of some Texas oil baron, Korean mobster, or Russian oligarch, is either naïve enough to believe we find her timidity charming or conceited enough to marry us for the accompanying title.
The latter is preferred. Everything is clean and there are no illusions. These are the marriages that last an eternity. Two people who have come together for a common purpose; their own selfishness.
The former generally involves a broken heart, children that require therapy, a divorce, and a large enough settlement to tide us over until we find a new wife. This is the bad option. This is what I was born into. This is the road to self-destruction and children that loath us. This is how the sixty year old drunks wearing ascots at yacht parties in Cannes are born.
I’m really going to try hard to choose from the preferable pool of women. I’m broke. I’m not a monster.
So what do I do? I turn to a professional. Someone who makes marriage her business. A matchmaker. There is a woman with offices in Moscow, Paris, London, Tokyo, and New York. She has a small, distinct advertisement for her agency at the back of the better publications. The Economist was where I found her. The tasteful, discretely written advertisement is straightforward. She is a matchmaker. She runs a dating service. For an exorbitant fee, she will find the perfect partner for the person requesting her services.
Those services include extensive and complete background checks. Not even the Mossad runs such thorough background checks as The Matchmaker. There are rumors The Matchmaker was KGB. That during the height of the cold war, she was a swallow – a female agent trained to use sex as a tool. Some say she was sent to seduce Ronald Reagan. Only she knows the truth.
I contact The Matchmaker through her London office. The secretary I speak with puts me through an interrogation that would make any grand inquisitor proud. When I’ve answered questions not even a psychologist would ask, she tells me she’ll get back to me.
Two days later I receive that long anticipated return call. I’m invited in for a meeting. The date and time are already set by The Matchmaker. I arrive at eleven sharp as requested. A male secretary brings me into an office where a classically beautiful woman with a crown of blond braids wrapped around her head waits. She comes round her desk to greet me with a warm handshake and a smile. There really is no telling how old she is. Obviously she’s not in her twenties or thirties, but I cannot tell for certain if she’s forty-four or sixty-two. It is impossible to tell. As far as I know she could be seventy. She’s perfectly preserved in every way. Even beneath her red linen pantsuit, I can tell she has an admirable figure.
How to describe The Matchmaker? Beautiful. Charming. Shrewd. One look from her and I know she’s got me figured out. I like her.
I’m invited to sit. There is a file with my name on it placed prominently on her desk. There is no disguising the fact that someone has taken the time to dig through past issues of tabloids and magazines to clip out and arrange a scrapbook of my indiscretions. She knows exactly who I am. She knows about my former fiancée, the daughter of the self-made Scottish billionaire. She knows about the married Swedish princess. She knows about the unmarried Saudi princess.
Her first question – What is it with me and princesses?
It’s not so much that I like princesses, so much as I appreciate women with a lot of money that take good care of themselves.
Fair enough. Am I certain I contacted the right person? Wouldn’t I be better off getting a publicist and an agent? Perhaps seeing if there might be a space for me in the Big Brother house?
I take the folder and flip through it. I’ve made mistakes. Unfortunately they ended up being very public mistakes. If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with a married women, and I wouldn’t have rebounded into the arms of a girl that had been chasing me like a love sick puppy for years. I certainly wouldn’t have dragged my former fiancée into the mix. I’ve made mistakes. I own them. I need to start moving on.
Fair enough. She’s willing to hear me out. What can she do for me?
I tell her what I’m looking for, and what I have to offer.
The vast majority of her clients truly are looking to find someone to fall in love with. Not poor, titled men, looking for walking cash machines.
I tell her I’m not morally opposed to the idea of falling in love again, but there is a certain amount of expediency to getting to the source of the cash. My former fiancee took me to court for half the cost of our wedding. We settled before she wholly, totally, and utterly ruined me. Hell hath no fury and all of that.
My honesty, she tells me, makes me charming.
She makes no promises, but she’s fairly certain she might be able to help me. Her network is vast and her contacts are numerous. She knows how to market her product. Every once in a while a discreet inquiry will come through for a father looking to quickly and quietly marry off a daughter that has brought shame on a family. She asks me if I’d be willing to convert to Islam.
Allah be praised, is all I can say.
Then the question I hadn’t anticipated.
Would I be interested in doing some work for her? She has a bit of a sideline business going. Something to keep the clients happy while she finds just the right life partner for them. Cash in hand.
I can feel my eyebrows rise. She has nothing if not my undivided attention. Cash is like a magic word. I’m tired of living off the kindness of the few remaining people that are speaking with me. I want a sense of dignity back in my life.
She has several clients that she is absolutely certain would enjoy the pleasure of my company in one or two hour blocks. Male and female. Again she whispers the magic word. Cash.
I get the idea. My only question; How much? She knows I need the money. I know I need the money. Neither of us is playing games.
I’ll make £150 an hour after she takes her cut. Most appointments are scheduled in minimum two hour blocks. I do the math.
She’ll make certain I know what I need to know before she sends me out. After all, it’s her reputation too.
Excellent. That’s decided. She does have something very special on her books that she could use me for. Travel is involved. Would I be interested in a discreet relationship in the interim with a prominent Japanese businessman? Very discreet. Very very discreet. Discretion is the key word. £10,000 cash in hand for being at his disposal for four nights and five days at the gentleman’s residence in Kyoto. Travel and per diem are included.
How much per diem and do I fly business class? I don’t know why I ask. I’m going to say yes.
My question pleases her. We each know a mercenary when we see one.
Private jet. Five hundred a day for per diem. The job is me and one of her girls. The client can get a bit rough. She had previously dropped him, but agreed to give him another chance.
I promise to keep an eye on the girl.
She gives me a wink. It’s not the girl she’s worried about.
Right. I grimace a little. I will in fact be working hard for the money.
More questions come.
Can I mix a decent martini?
English, French, Spanish, Greek, and some German.
Mandarin? Cantonese? Japanese?
A little of each.
Pity. Do I top, bottom, or both?
I have no preference. More or less true. She doesn’t need to know how limited my experience in that arena actually is. I’ve never had a job interview before, but I’m certain these are not standard human resources questions.
She’s pleased. These are the answers she wants. I’m educated, well spoken, good looking. In summary, I can talk pretty and fuck well. In essence I have actually found a use for my college education. It’s all good. Except for the martini. I need to know how to make at least a few types of cocktails. She strongly recommends I watch every James Bond movie. Even Timothy Dalton. Who is, apparently, a phenomenal lover. Make Bond my model.
Does everyone take on a persona?
Yes. It helps to compartmentalize. I don’t want to give myself. After a while I won’t know where to draw the line. That’s when the drugs and the booze can become a problem. I need to trust her. James Bond. She gives me a wink. I’ve got that Jude Law meets Christian Bale thing. The eyes do it for her. I could either go white trash or suave and foxy. Find a persona that I can turn on and off. In ten days I’m going to Japan with Olga. She’s a Russian princess.
No. Not really. When she goes into the bedroom, she’s a Russian princess. Watch Olga and learn from her. She’s a pro.
She makes an appointment for me to go to her doctor. The doctor is standard for her… she almost says girls, but goes with escorts.
As she passes me a slip of paper with the address of where I am to report at ten the following morning, I have a moments pause. What am I thinking? This is not who I am. I’m not particularly discriminating, but I have my standards. Surely I have not been reduced to prostitution.
The Matchmaker reaches across the desk. Her hand lands gently on mine. Think about it. Take the night. I needn’t commitment myself without taking a moment for due consideration. If I change my mind, she is still perfectly happy to find a wife for me. In fact, she welcomes the challenge.
Before she releases the slight pressure of her fingers against my skin, she whispers the magic word; cash. Then she tells me to go to the doctor. I might as well. If nothing else, she truly does need to know that I’m in perfect health before she starts looking for a wife for me. One way or the other, she’d like to meet with me in the afternoon. She’ll have her car come for me at the doctor’s office.