Market volatility plagues us all – corporations, small businesses, investors, consumers, mistresses, mistress-brokers. The “English shock” – the stock market tumble following Britain’s vote to exit the European Union – reminds us, if reminders are needed, how unstable a foundation our financial resources rest on.
It’s the mistresses and mistress-brokers that interest Spa! (July 12). They too are in something of an “English shock,” the term here being not political but merely a measure of the intensity of the recent fall of their market value.
Why should their market value be falling? Because, says the magazine, sexual encounters are so easy. Online, encounter sites abound, with apps to steer you to ones that meet your specs. Offline, there are “encounter cafes.” As for women shrewdly aware of the economic potential of sex over more mundane occupations, there’s nothing new there, although perhaps the spreading gap between their expanding educational qualifications and the narrow career options open to them in this most conservative of societies has sharpened that awareness beyond anything in past experience.
Who needs middle men to inflate the price? Here’s “Mika” with her insights into how things work. She’s 26 and does part-time office work, no full-time positions having been available. “No matter how hard I work,” she says, “the best I can earn is less than 200,000 yen a month.”
It’s not much. A year ago a friend dropped in for tea and spoke of a turn her own life had taken. Meeting three clients a month, her earnings topped Mika’s. “I thought, ‘Why not me?’” Miku tells Spa!
She put a notice up on the encounter site PCMAX, not mentioning a price, just saying she was available. Would anyone respond?
Indeed someone did – a man introducing himself as a company president and proposing terms of 300,000 yen a month. She agreed, but two hours before their first meeting, he got in touch to say he’d been called away to an urgent business meeting – could he send a subordinate in his place? Why not? Miku replied.
The subordinate proved to be a man in his 40s, “a perfectly ordinary salaryman-type,” nice enough if not dashing. They went to a modest wine bar, broke the ice, found they liked each other, and later, when the man said he only had 50,000 yen on him, Miku shrugged tolerantly. “You’ll pay the rest next time,” she said.
Actually, he didn’t. A company president has money to throw around, a rank-and-filer does not. The man’s circumstances are tight, and he has, apparently, sick parents to care for. But Miku does not complain. She continues to see him regularly, and enjoys his company. The president would have been more lucrative, but maybe less congenial. And what of the president? Miku never heard from him again.
“Mr Sugiyama” is a 43-year-old salaryman – not Miku’s friend, but perhaps a man of the same general description. He has three contract mistresses – a college student, a sales woman and an OL – having met them either at online encounter sites or at encounter cafes. He’s having a fine time, without sacrificing economy, he tells Spa! At first, the contract arrangement with each was 30,000 a month, but as time passed they modified the agreements to the convenience of all parties – instead of a monthly fee, 15,000 yen per encounter, each rendezvous taking place at a set time each month. And instead of a love hotel, they meet at the woman’s apartment, using the money saved for dinner and drinks. Altogether, his relationship with the three of them costs Sugiyama around 60,000 yen a month.
“Once,” he smiles, “I said to one of them, ‘We get on so well, why not tear up the contract and just be sex friends?’ She laughed and was as friendly as ever, but the reply was, ‘No way!’”© Japan Today