Unless she is a terrorist with a bomb strapped to her body, the answer is usually sex. Sexual behavior. Sex appeal. The use of her sexuality to further her interests from career to attracting rich men. The story of a dangerous woman comes down to sex, in America and many parts of the world.
I had an interesting dinner conversation with a middle-aged French woman and an American businessman in his thirties. He sought my advice on his relationship with “a Russian girl,” his live-in lover; and he brought along his French teacher. The girlfriend has set a wedding date. The man doesn’t want to marry her, but he is allowing himself to be dragged along. “He’s blinded by her beauty,” the French teacher said.
“We don’t have much sex,” he said.
“But she is very sexy,” she said.
How much is “not much”? I asked.
“Once, occasionally twice, a week. “
Don’t marry her, I told him. Sex declines after marriage when the “can’t get enough of you” ardor cools. She doesn’t have that passion now; and she won’t develop it. The Russian girlfriend is a dangerous lady, in this for your money and the path to citizenship.
He thanked me profusely, paid for dinner and left me to chat with his French teacher. We were soon joined by two fortysomething women who wasted little time in telling us they had husbands and lovers. The older and less attractive one has three lovers. (Go figure.) She does have a sexual presence—but is she a dangerous woman?
I don’t think so. Yes, she’s flaunting the marriage rules, but beneath the radar. She’s not standing up publicly for woman’s right to adultery. She’s playing the game, likely giving more to her lovers than she gets from them. The other one will probably leave her husband for her lover. Exchanging one man for another is not dangerous either. They are typical 21st Century women, having sex outside their marriages, but playing it safe.
And the fact that they can cheat safely tells you a lot about how far women have come in the past few decades. They are businesswomen, not financially dependent wives. Discovery of their affairs, if it would lead their husbands to demand divorce, which it probably wouldn’t, doesn’t compromise their ability to have a regular life, including three meals a day.
As I was thinking about dangerous women, I found a book in Barnes & Noble with the perfect title, A Dangerous Woman—The Life, Loves and Scandals of Adah Isaacs Menken, 1835-1868, America’s Original Superstar by Michael Foster and Barbara Foster (Lyons Press). I opened it up and began reading. Adah was America’s first tragic star to die young. She scandalized Victorian society by having five husbands and many lovers, appearing on stage in a nude body stocking, writing naughty poetry and more. The authors say, “She had the modern flair for action, scandal and causes—especially that of the Jewish people—and revolutionized show business.”
And her friends included famous poets, painters, businessmen and former Confederates—all the more remarkable because she was mixed race.
I had to have this book. I’m reading it now and will give you a full report later. So far, it’s a wonderful read. And I am delighted to see that the agent on the book is my old pal, Janet Rosen. Nice job, JR.
A dangerous woman causes a stir—and leaves the scent of pheromones in her wake.
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