Letter From the Modern-Day Courtesans (Because Not All of Us Are That Weak)

This article is in response to an article published on Thought Catalog last week called “Letter From The Modern Day Cortesans”, by Leigh Alexander.

Greetings, ladies and gentlemen. I am here as a representative of the wild girls, the ones you still dream about. We are the women who were irresistible, whose double-time, exotic lives fascinated you to the extent that you let yourself fall in, just for a moment.

We seemed bulletproof, which made the moment when we looked into your eyes and asked for understanding all the more magical. Sprawled out on our beds, naked, wanting and looking up at you, we made you feel like more of a man than you’d ever imagined possible. You fucked us hard, gently, lovingly, brutally; your cock felt new and powerful, like it was showing you what this whole “living” thing is really about.

When we weren’t there, you were thinking about our chipped nail polish, dirty laundry, and unkempt hair. You’d wait in our beds for hours, sometimes, breathing in our smell. You inwardly worshipped us and shivered when we licked up your thighs the way no one else ever had.

You wanted to kiss us, hold us, protect us, fuck us, guard us, show us off, put us on pedestals, bend us to your will, parent us, support us, wake up next to us, go down on us, caress us and love us, the way you were taught that you should. What we had, you called it true love.

That other person you were seeing, about whom we were endlessly understanding and helpful, you promised that it would be over soon. “He just doesn’t understand, he’s so fragile.” Or, “she needs me right now, the timing is off, but one day I’ll leave her, you’ll see.”

We smiled and held you, helped you through your domestic disputes and sent you back to them with a kiss and some encouragement. You felt understood and special; for the first time in your life, you understood why all the movies and songs were about love. You understood the transcendent nature of true love, that beautiful and divine occurrence everyone wishes for. Our love made the stars align and angered the jealous gods. There was plenty of time. You didn’t need to overhaul your life, because you could just bask in the warm glow of our affection until you were ready.

But one day, a day you’ll never forget, you realized that we didn’t need you. We’d forgotten to call for a while, we pointed out a weakness you thought you’d hidden from the world, we fucked someone else, we told you we were moving or getting married, or maybe we just said it: “I don’t need you.” You called us filthy names, you shoved us, you shouted, broke things, broke down and fled. With your knees on the cold tiles of your bathroom floor, you held your head in your hands and cried. You threw a temper tantrum to rival those of your 3 year-old nephew and still didn’t feel any better.

Eventually, you came back. You told us how we’d broken your love for us, how we were faithless, worthless, and damaged. We looked back at you coolly, empathically, even a little sadly. You tried to hurt us, to get a reaction, anything, but we just watched you rage. Eventually, you wore yourself down and stormed out.

You slammed the door on your way out, but you’ve never really left, have you? You look for us on the internet, browse through the naked pictures that we maybe sent you or you maybe secretly downloaded off our computers. You check our email and seethe over the casual way that we describe the breakup to our best friends until we change the password. You hide the tank tops and underwear we left at your place in a box under your bed so it won’t lose our smell. You just know that we’re hurting inside, so much, and that if we’d just apologize you could save us from this hell we’re in, living without your love.

You never saw us wash you off in the shower. You never saw us carelessly wear the boxers you’d left behind, the ones you think about sometimes and hope that we kept (or burned, maybe). We feed the fish that you named, tap on its glass, and make fun of it for watching us get dressed. We eat cereal in bed and watch bad TV. We paint our nails different colors and wear weird lipstick. We fuck on top of the covers and sleep under them. Without you, we still have all of the little oddities that made us so heartbreakingly, endearingly unique and vulnerable to you. We still are exactly as we were, stumbling through life with our eyes wide open.

You fell into our life and thought it was a movie. You thought we were the Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl to your Zach-Braff-Man-Child, but what you failed to realize all along is that we are as bulletproof as we look. We are our own safety net. We never needed you. What could you have given us? It was us who made your cock so great, our own understanding that you got to share while we were connected. We knew how to love without worship or ownership. We appreciated you for who you were without worrying whether this was going to last forever. We respected you enough to treat you as we would want to be treated. But then we saw that when you said you wanted respect and love, what you meant was you needed submission and coddling. Once we realized that, it was over, because we’re lovers and fuckers, not your mother and wifey.

We think about you sometimes, but it’s not like you’ve got your own playlist or anything. We appreciate your role in our life, but it’s not like you defined it. We assume you’ve moved on, too, and when we think of you, we smile and shake our head. You must have mistaken us wild girls for courtesans.

Your Wild Girls TC mark

image – iStockPhoto

More From Thought Catalog

  • Kev32


  • nellallen

    Not as good as the first article. The first article reminded me of similar situations in my own life. This one just seems kind of contrived. As if this is what the author REALLLLY wants to be, but isn't. And so she lives that life vicariously through her fictional self.

    • ricky schitltiiz

      you're right, this is what the author really wants to be, but isn't.

      however, you made a typo in the first line. it should say 'Not as shitty as the first article'

      • Pete

        totally agree. This is one VERY insecure/anxious girl…seems like she wants to be seen as the 'wild,' 'irresistible,' and 'exotic' type so she has excuses to keep running/being unpredictable and never confront her inner self. She wants to say that she is her own “safety net” and that she never “needs” anyone…but really she's just trying to rationalize her fear that she has no idea what she needs or wants in life. Powerful? I think not

    • wizardbysmell

      Actually, I know the author. This was like an autobiographical and masterfully light peek at her. It couldn't have been written differently.

      • Tim

        Yeah… Bullshit you do.

  • chelseafagan

    “We think about you sometimes, but it’s not like you’ve got your own playlist or anything.”


    • ricky schitltiiz

      lol yo i liked your one article but if this is genius than i was a lyrical mastermind voice of a generation in grade 9 when i read perks of being a wallflower and got the idea to make mixtape for girls

      • chelseafagan

        That line is just really clever, I think.

  • Drea

    wow. i looove this.

  • Truth

    I don't feel this is contrived in the least. It feels all too true, actually. Hauntingly so.

    • ricky schitltiiz

      lol are you a fuckin barbie girl livin in a barbie world

  • Phillip Eno

    “blahblahblah I want to be the kind of girl who's great at fucking and bad with feelings, so I wrote this little pep-talk down. If I read it enough, it'll be true.”

  • http://tattoosnob.com Julene

    Girls love it (because they want it to be true) and boys hate it (because they fear it is)–these comments may make for a good case study.

    • ricky schitltiiz

      because the article is some 'female empowerment' shit, it makes sense

      felt like article was whatever… was expecting a nice response to the courtesan article, but instead its like 'haha im a slut too but im better at it because i have 'kanye west-power' over my emotions'

      • chelseafagan

        Kanye West-power lol

    • Greg

      nailed it

  • MsJezebelMarie

    “But then we saw that when you said you wanted respect and love, what you meant was you needed submission and coddling. Once we realized that, it was over, because we’re lovers and fuckers, not your mother and wifey.”

    Perfect. Exactly why my last relationship ended. Possession is not what love is. Ownership based out of insecurity and weakness is not love. Bravo. Much better than the other article.

  • http://twitter.com/buytoiletpaper Meaghan S

    yeah, let's perpetuate disrespect between genders and shitty apathetic relationships. let's be proud of using men, because hell, they used us first. let's be proud that we don't have the integrity to stop ourselves from helping douchebags cheat on their broken 'relationships'. Let's be fucking proud that we're not able to have meaningful connections with other human beings, because we so goddamn busy being proud and 'strong'.

    this makes me so sad, from either angle.

    • Jordan

      I'm trying very hard not to project my own 'theories' onto this because I think there's room for this ('this' being a true sexual yet platonic relationship, let alone the more complex parts of whats going on here) to be truth for some people, but I'm leaning towards Meaghan's thoughts. Maybe I've been listening to too much archived Loveline lately but this just reeks of a lack of ability to just plain old look at what you're doing and seeing whats wrong (same as the 'weak' courtesan, although there was self-reflection at the end of that one).

      Either way, good piece.

      I just realized that commenting on TC is very funny/tricky because you're responding to the content and the writer separately (or not), which you dont really get much elsewhere on the internet.

      • http://twitter.com/buytoiletpaper Meaghan S

        i too think there's room for sexual/platonic relationships. the key difference is a mutual understanding between the two parties. if one party is aware that there is an imbalance, there is perhaps a responsibility to discontinue, but no need to be unduly cruel.

      • chelseafagan

        Archived Loveline ftw…I am commenting way too much on this article.

    • http://phmadore.com P. H. Madore

      Using? Using? What's she using men for? Sex? Ha. Money? Double-ha. I'm no kind of double-standard male feminist wax-tard, but I think your reaction is knee-jerk at best, and I'm less than surprised that a seventeen year old boy agrees with you.

      It sounds more to me like she's not perpetuating anything, but documenting something you aren't okay with. More importantly, I don't think the article would be the same if she weren't writing it from the perspective of a “courtesan,” or more likely just a young girl who a wealthy man feels apt to shower with gifts, love, and attention. If she were writing about her boyfriend or something — someone she had ever claimed to care about — I might see your point.

      Might. But I'd still have enjoyed the honesty, the lack of posturing, and the insight.

      • http://twitter.com/buytoiletpaper Meaghan S

        the 'modern day courtesan' isn't using men for money or sex. she's using him for the sense of power that she 'can't' get anywhere else. she gets off, like the modern douche bag she's stringing along, on her ego being stoked by someone who 'loves' her. the man she pines for doesn't 'love' her. he just can't understand why she rejects him. his pining is misplaced emotion. at the end of the day, she gets to remind him that he's powerless in this situation. she's got the power to turn him down, and that's exactly what she's going to do. god it feels good. oh, and the thrill of knowing that he wants her more than his 'girlfriend'? Bonus.

        this mentality is something that, your right, i'm not okay with in general. this mentality is misogynistic at its roots, and is an example of how women hate on each other. i'm a humanist more than a feminist, but i certainly care about how women treat each other. and she is posturing. she's not only saying that she's stronger than the writer of the original article (http://bit.ly/j0EN25), she's saying she's stronger than any woman who isn't emotionally detached enough to fuck and say 'fuck off'.

        the original article is by far the better of the two, because it is an honest self reflection, with less ego, and it is far more self-aware.

      • http://phmadore.com P. H. Madore

        So there can only be one truth for two different writers, we must conclude. Your logic is flawless, I'm sure, and not subject to debate.

        (I'm really sorry you feel the way you do. Women have as much right to fuck without being “emotionally attached” as do men. I personally prefer to sleep with women who are aware of this reality. Fucking's only fucking. You get over it and then you decide what you really want in a relationship. Monogamy is debatable. I think you're reacting more to the tone of the article than the article itself. It's clear to me that's mostly referring to certain types of assholes who probably deserve what she gives them.)

      • Ricky Schillitz

        “Women have as much right to fuck without being “emotionally attached” as do men.”

        Yea, but do they have the right to fuck someone else's boyfriend?

      • http://phmadore.com P. H. Madore


      • Ricky Schiltizz

        man you're a dick shitface

  • http://twitter.com/godworm Nicholas Cox

    I think I knew you back in college. You were hot!

  • Alli

    BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! INCREDIBLE = ILOVE YOU

  • Oliver Miller


  • Laney

    This is true. Sometimes I feel good knowing someone needs me and that I don't need them at all. After feeling powerless in abusive relationships, I like being cold and powerful.

  • otoko

    As a queerish guy into girls but without much experience, I feel like this is the kind of bitter oversimplification of other people's personalities that makes relationships more difficult and disgusting than they need to be. It seems like you are trying to de-trivialize yourself by trivializing men? If this emotion needed to be expressed, I guess you could have tweeted it

    • http://phmadore.com P. H. Madore

      I kind of think she was referring to a pretty specific kind of man, the married/castrated fellow who will never actually risk anything for a woman like her but will be “heartbroken” when she gets tired of him.

      • tesslacoil

        hit it on the nose.


  • Andrew

    This is insanely accurate to my experience, so much so that it hurt a little to read. I was the guy in this story but I left the girl and moved across the country. Still, I don't think I'll ever meet a girl that made me feel that way. It was the fact that she is a wild girl; unstable and cold, warm and sexual. It sucks that these highly desirable girls have to be so icy on the outside, because part of me still believes she loved me too. Either way, I'm long gone from that place, so it's just me smiling and shaking my head.

  • douchegirl

    I identified with the first one much more because it felt more real. All of us WANT to be this kind of wild girl, but really, we are the weak courtesan.

  • Yahoo

    Get a fuckin job

  • http://phmadore.com P. H. Madore

    Why men who are in relationships, though? Don't you have more fun when there's really nothing on the line? Isn't it better when your “love” is every bit as slutty and real as you?

    Anyway, exhilarating read.

    • tesslacoil

      That's the dream, babe. Wanna go out sometime?

      • http://phmadore.com P. H. Madore


        How do I reach you?

      • http://tesslacoil.tumblr.com Tesslacoil
      • http://phmadore.com P. H. Madore

        I hope a bunch of weirdos didn't write you or anything. I'm paulhenrymadore@gmail.com. 202-316-3633. Don't care/have to answer the phone anyway during the day.

        Dropped you a line before going out the other night. Sorry if it was mixed in with whatever weirdness might have happened. Never know with these internets. Anyway hope to hear from you

  • eceismen

    This, this feels like a fucking MANIFESTO.

  • Princeton

    Tess, you're not good-looking enough to write this.



      haha…know this girl also! She's a wreck who thinks she's beautiful and seductive enough to command respect around campus (Yes, Princeton…kudos to the above for identifying her). In reality, she's just a mediocre looking druggie who comes across as a ticking time bomb to everyone that meets her.

      • @@Princeton

        Respect? She gets no respect. First, she humps everything that moves and has no class. Second, people at her eating club laugh at her all the time. Third, she waxes her upper lip. If she's a modern-day courtesan, then the court she is in is that of desperate men who are similarly drug-addled.

      • Mferguso

        You're right, PRINCETON et al. We should absolutely judge people based on their drug use and sexual promiscuity. How many sex partners you have or how many joints you smoke is directly linked to your ethical & intellectual contributions to the human race and your overall quality as a moral being. Sweepingly generalized statements about the author's looks and social status, like “people at her eating club laugh at her all the time,” are most definitely not only accurate but also represent a detailed and nuanced approach to a sociological analysis of the author.

        Also, UPPER LIP HAIR??? How dare she. Everyone knows that upper lip hair is integral to the exclusive gender identity of human males. Human females should be aware that any growing of such upper lip hair or attempts to conceal the growing of such hair is a deep violation of necessary gender norms and should be ceased immediately for the sake of our beleaguered men.

        In conclusion, I'm not good looking enough to write this. Or read. Or do math. Because I'm a woman.

        #sarcasm #misogyny

      • Mr. M.

        Princeton, I'm sorry to hear about your quadriplegia.  You either don't move or you're wrong.  If you were right and mobile, you wouldn't be so frustrated and angry.

      • Mr. M.

        You've obviously never seen her naked, Princeton. Time bomb?  Hardly. Tick, tick, tick, boom.

  • Friendly Reader

    “Double-time, exotic lives” … I like that line. I recognize the women “speaking” in the essay, and it has always eluded me just what is so special and alluring about them. Somehow those four words, simple and concise, capture it for me.

    And seriously people, the author could be a 70-year old man, it doesn't matter. The piece captures a certain type of woman and relationship that definitely exist in the world, and to my taste does a pretty good job of it. Why hate?

  • Courtney

    This was beautiful and incredible and inspiring. It’s bookmarked forever, it’s been sent to my friends and it’s been saved in my heart. We’re powerful women who recognize our own worth and our own fire. We don’t need a man to capture us, to define us, to control us or to worship us. We’re just fan-fucking-tastic and we’ll be just fine on our own until we find a man worthy to rival us as lovers and fuckers. 

    Thank you so much for being brave enough to own it! (: 

    -An appreciative ally and fellow wild girl

  • http://www.facebook.com/patrickhuffine Patrick Huffine

    Just read the original article and then this. It’s a strange rebuttal. In terms of craftsmanship, this one felt looser, less driven, more sprawling. Harder to hang on to, more difficult to understand. I see it’s the same feel, but I simply can’t get that this is a logical response to the first.

    To separate the authors from the narrators, this narrator comes across as a much more anxious, lost, desperate to find a purpose, person. The first, while making poor relationship choices, had a sense of intelligence about it, a sense of worldliness. This narrator comes off like a 15 year old girl who discovered how to dress “sexy” and has been taken on ride after ride by men, slowly learning to hate them for it. 

    I preferred the original.

    • author

      not to be a cunt, but i think that the first article was about attaching meaning to external things. the way i read the other article was about loving man-children and not letting them go, still allowing them to influence her life after they’d proven themselves to be unworthy of doing so. 

      i tried to show how it can be when you recognize that the person you thought you loved was just pretending to be on your level. for me, and i think a few other people understood what i wanted to do, this article was about calling out the people who don’t deserve your attention, who were never worthy of it and whom you just realized weren’t who you thought they were. 

      i think the title of the other is very telling– being someone’s courtesan is about being at their mercy, on call for their whims. i signed mine “wild girls” because we are not here for the highest bidder, we are not exchanging our affections for anything. we want nothing less than our equal, someone who will be willing to step up and take as much responsibility for their choices as we do. 

  • http://setoshino.wordpress.com Setoshino

    Reblogged this on The World Without Us.

  • http://friendsmashup.com/index.php?do=/profile-108186/info/ friendsmashup.com


    Letter From the Modern-Day Courtesans (Because Not All of Us Are That Weak) | Thought Catalog

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