"I've had more husbands than I can
Most as cold and hard as late December,
Each the victim of
my one obsession --
To get all they possessed in my
For I was born to poverty and hunger,
But I was
beautiful when I was younger
And long ago decided I would trade
body for a joy that would not fade:
Wealth enough to insulate me from ill,
Earned through an acquired uxorial skill.
I married first a neighbor, at
A man of eighty, ugly, sick, and mean,
Not much better off
than we were, but
Enough to stop the gnawing in my gut.
taught me that to get I had to give,
Tit for tat, his joy, my chance to
His meanness, my opportunity
To do him dirt, as you shall
One day he had a heart attack, and I
Saw my chance
-- I would not let it by.
I went right through his pockets and his
As he was dying, writhing on all fours,
And then I left,
with little enough to show
For three years of my life. I know, I
You're thinking that I had no heart. But he
Got what he
deserved! He treated me
With just as much compassion as a
Treats a clam he's pried out of his shell!
He left me with
enough to look around
For my next sugar daddy. Soon I found
old man who lived for two good years
And showed me life was more than
hate and tears.
He was good to me, and I to him,
And left me with
enough that never again
Would I be forced to marry out of
And so of both ideals and hunger freed,
I married purely
for what I could get,
With neither disillusion nor regret.
What is love, I'd like to know?
Passion, yes! But love? It's just a
We put on for ourselves to prove that we
Are more than sharks
in a shark-infested sea.
I was a hot one, ready for romance,
only on the side, too wise to chance
A marriage that would garner me no
And end only in ugliness and pain.
As I grew older, my
gigolos grew younger,
Well-cooked meat to satisfy my hunger.
became the mark with all the money.
But I knew better than to trust the
Of sex and sweet talk, orgasms and lies.
The fox knows well
what trade the trickster plies!
And so I've married upwards all my
A skilled and thoroughly well-seasoned wife
About to be
divorced. Are any here
Interested? I'm joking! Never fear,
is coming -- this I promise you."
"Let's have it, please, without
much more ado!"
The therapist exclaimed. "This history
Has gone on
far too long. Don't you agree?"
"Not at all," said the entrepreneur. "I
The truth a better tale. To my mind,
The lady is an unalloyed
And it behooves us now to be polite
And listen to each
other without objection."
"There are times when someone needs
The therapist replied. "One needn't suffer
chafings of another,
For in politeness there's an unsaid lie
festers in the kishkes by and by."
"Enough! Enough!" the
bartender said. "Please tell
Your tale!" (This to the wife.) "It would
To get back underway. The time draws near
end, and we have much to hear."
"What Men Want Most in a Wife," a
Enlisted lovely women who would go
All over the world
on camera asking men
What they most wanted in a wife, and then
back the answer that would be their choice,
After which the public had
Voting for the answer they thought right.
ten million dollars, though it might
Seem large, was not all that the
The winner won a date with Simon Crawford,
richest man in the world, on which she could
Try to get him hooked, a
prize that would
Be worth a hundred billion, perhaps more,
the show had a surprise in store,
Which by the by you shall be told.
Let's follow Nancy Lasker, and see how
She fared. Nancy was
a pretty girl,
The type whose short loose skirt was wont to swirl
a breeze, revealing lovely thighs,
The kind that drew like lodestones
Ah, Nancy! Not so smart, nor much aware
Of what a
profit center she had there!
For seven weeks, with others on the
She asked men what nobody seemed to know.
Some said they
wanted beauty, some said love.
Some said maternal instinct most would
Their hearts; others, red-hot sex galore.
Some looked for
religion, some were more
Material and wanted a large dowry,
others simply wanted Nancy. Flowery
Praises heaped on her quite turned
Yet she'd have given all to have instead
Just one opinion
she could then bring back
To offer to the public. Alas, alack!
was less sure than ever in her life
About what most men wanted in a
Heading back to the studio, she passed
A beggar on the
sidewalk, about the last
Person she would think might help her
He was an ugly, filthy, smelly lout
With unkempt hair and
beard, and yet he stared
Right at her, as she wondered how he
To think that he could look at her like that.
And then, quick
as a young and healthy cat,
He was in front of her, blocking her
"You have, I know, no notion what to say,"
He said to her.
"In just an hour or so
You'll have to choose --" "How could you
She asked, astonished. "I know the winning
He said. And lithe and graceful as a dancer
He came up to
her ear. "I'll whisper it,
And guarantee you'll win in just a
But first you must promise to marry me!" "You?"
incredulous. "Marry you?"
He nodded. "For ten million?" he asked. "Why
I have something you want an awful lot!
It's just a business
transaction, nothing more."
Well, she thought. How strange! But
still, she saw
The logic in his reasoning. She had
Little to lose if
he were simply mad
And whispered gibberish into her ear.
said. "Providing what I hear,
I use, and win the contest. It's a
"You'll win," he said, "for sure. And just to seal --"
won't kiss you!" she said. "Let's just shake hands."
And so they did.
So what if he demands
His prize? she thought. I need not give it
I'll simply pay him off if I should win.
And so he put his lips
right to her ear,
And whispered the right choice, as you shall
Off she went into the studio
And was made up and costumed
for the show.
Each contestant then was asked to say
What quality she
chose, without delay.
"Beauty," said one. "Great sex," declared
"Adoration," "love ," "a second mother."
When it was
Nancy's turn, she said the thing
The beggar had told her, which had the
"All people want the same thing -- girl or boy:
who finds joy in others' joy."
Why yes, of course! the audience
How simple! How obvious! And when at last
voted yes, that Nancy was right,
She won the contest. Later on that
She went to see the beggar, who was waiting.
he said. "It's time that we were mating!
I have a judge all ready right
But Nancy, quite upset, began to cry.
"I'm sorry," she
said. "I can't go through with it.
I'll pay you what you ask -- don't
throw a fit!"
"You promised!" he yelled. "You gave your word! Now
Should I give up my rights because you cry?
You got what you
wanted! I'll get mine!
That's only fair, regardless how you
"Ten million!" she offered. "All! Please take it
Less taxes, of course." And then began to bawl:
marry someone I don't love!"
"What crap! As I can very readily
You'd marry Simon Crawford tonight, I'll bet,
Even though you
two have never met!
But now you'll have to unschedule that
Since you'll be married to a jealous mate.
"Let me clue you
in, my clueless honey:
I marry for the sex, you for the money.
got your money, now I want my sex
Morning, noon, and night! Let's clear
"You see that long, low building over there?
and up a cast-iron flight of stairs.
Open the door at the top, and
there's a room
In which you'll have to wait to meet your groom.
go! I'll get the judge, and then we'll do
What I have lusted for since
Nancy Lasker walked across the street
narrow doorway, to the beat
Of a reluctant heart. I could just
She thought, and hide somewhere. He'll never know
Where I went
or what became of me.
I have ten million dollars. But then
Thought about her promise. It wasn't right.
She won because of
him. And then a light
Went on inside her head. Oh, yes, of
She'd marry him and then get a divorce!
Simple! She'd keep
her promise and her life
By being but a momentary wife!
money enough to pull it off.
And if he got some, well, he'd earned it.
We think of ways to have our cake and eat it,
Or, perhaps, to
take the rap and beat it.
Nancy fairly flew right up the
And waited for her groom, all her cares
Suspended in the
glare of her idea.
And then " knock! knock! -- the fateful hour was
She opened the door to a huge, well-lighted room.
was her tuxedo'd groom
Smiling 'mid a crowd of cheering fans,
cameras, flashes, two brass bands
Playing "Here Comes the Bride" as
down the aisle
She walked alone, too amazed to smile,
by her former scruffy beggar,
Now all spruced up and shaved. Even
She recognized the handsome man who offered
Her his arm as
none but Simon Crawford!
Twenty-one million watched as they got
Twenty-one million watched them as he carried
their penthouse suite and closed the door.
Twenty-one million then
Sheer heaven! Fantasy made real! As she
reward for her morality.
So ends my tale, with Nancy in the
Earning a large fortune on her back.
Of course it ended in
divorce, though both
Knew well what their dear partner wanted
Someone who found joy in others' joy,
So mutually each might
the other buoy.
But knowing isn't doing, and neither did,
finally finding joy in getting rid
Of the other, as so often is
ending of beginnings such as this.
Which brings me to my moral: Do
Too dependent on morality.
For love too often winds up just
While money is the one sure good we