"You have only seen the lowest classes of these women, the ugly
ones or the dumb ones. But myself, I've known some who have made
small fortunes, have beautiful apartments, jewels, carriages and
who know only people of the highest society. If I were as pretty
as you the matter would be as good as settled." (15.
for source click here)
Many women turned to prostitution out of desperation. These women
needed money so badly that they were willing to become social pariahs
if it meant that they could support themselves. These were generally
women who had fallen on hard times. Then there were courtesans.
These women did not choose this lifestyle out of desperation, or
at least no the same type. These women chose to do this because
it allowed them to live in such a way that was enviable to many.
only stayed with a lover if they could provide them with a certain
standard of living. If they could not then the woman would simply
take a different lover. For what ever reason they were desirable,
be it beauty or whit or even knowledge these women used their assets
to gain a style of living that was extremely comfortable. As well
as jewels, courtesans also received the money with which to provide
housing which could be decorated in any style and degree that they
desired. Everything was provided for them and all that was required
of them was to entertain the men in any area he wished, whether
it be intellectual or sexual.
by Edouard Manet, 1863.(14.for source click
image seems to be portraying courtesans as people of leisure. Notice
that the woman is reclining in luxurious surroundings as a miad
presents her with a boquet. The courtesanseems to be lying in the
lap of luxury and to be enjoying the comfort that her lifestyle
provides her with. For a thourough look at this image click
enjoyed such a comfortable lifestyle that they were often able to
blend into society as wealthy bourgeoisie. They frequented the same
hot-spots and lived in the same manner as did the upper class of
the time. All that separated them was the fact that the upper class
gained its money through inheritance and or working in socially
acceptable jobs, whereas courtesans gained their wealth by selling
women who were married took lovers who would buy them things. These
women were able to have the best of both worlds in the stability
of a husband and the constant influx of riches from their lovers.
In general courtesans were to be envied. Although they did exist
by performing a socially stigmatized form of work they were able
to live in extreme comfort and enjoy the lifestyle that they wanted.
They would have several apartments, jewels, carriages and random
other gifts for as long as they chose to stay with one benefactor.
Them moment they were tired of any man they simply switched to another
and retained their lifestyle in the comfort that they were accustomed